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 Extremely Low Latency: What It Means for Video Streaming
October 24, 2021

Extremely Low Latency: What It Means for Video Streaming

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Latency is a broadly used time period today. You’ll see latency and low latency pop up in relation to computer systems, together with all the pieces from knowledge middle networking to retail graphics playing cards. The short and soiled definition of latency is the delay between telling knowledge to switch and the switch truly occurring. In some situations, you will have seen or heard latency’s much less technical synonym, lag. 

Latency is simply as prevalent within the video streaming world because it is normally computing. Frankly, it’s in all places. Low latency mode is a setting you may activate as a person Twitch streamer, which is both a very good or dangerous thought based mostly on the capabilities of your and your viewers’ networks. Low latency and extremely low latency are additionally used to explain essentially the most cutting-edge streaming software program choices. We’re centered on that final one on this article — extremely low latency video streaming.


  • Shortcomings of Every Strategy
    • Tuning
    • Protocols
  • The Resolution: Actual-Time Streaming at Scale

    How Low Is Extremely Low Latency?

    Extremely low latency is a fairly nebulous phrase. A whole lot of firms talk about extremely low latency however use totally different definitions. Many state that in case you’re speaking low latency, count on delays to be 5 seconds or much less. Similarly, extremely low latency is incessantly outlined as lower than one second. 

    That’s not to say the definition is ready in stone and even holds true with a majority of gamers within the stay streaming sport. Some say low latency streaming can have delays so long as seven seconds and extremely low latency is something beneath three seconds. Then again, you’ll additionally see voices on the market saying that in case you’re measuring latency in seconds, it could actually hardly be thought of low latency. Milliseconds and nanoseconds are the brand new approach of measuring. These requirements have modified over time as expertise permits us to realize quicker speeds. For our functions, discuss with the graphic under for Wowza’s definitions.



    At Wowza, as a substitute of extremely low latency, now we have began to make use of the time period “close to real-time” and contemplate that to be something beneath one second.


    Easy methods to Obtain Extremely Low Latency Video Streaming



    One frequent methodology for lowering latency is altering the default section dimension of HTTP-based streaming protocols. Each HTTP Dwell Streaming (HLS) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) will be tuned to scale back latency. We’ve got a complete weblog with detailed directions on learn how to tune HLS in each Wowza Streaming Cloud and Wowza Streaming Engine. 

    This methodology requires shortening the segments. Apple recommends a minimal setting of six seconds every, but it surely’s doable to go decrease. The section size immediately impacts latency. You may find yourself with latencies anyplace from 45 seconds to 2-4 seconds relying on section size. Two seconds isn’t precisely an thrilling quantity for these on the lookout for an extremely low latency streaming answer, but it surely’s about pretty much as good as you will get with customary HLS or DASH.



    As you noticed in that graphic above, protocols include totally different inherent latencies. WebRTC might be trying fairly engaging proper now for many who are after lightning quick speeds. 

    It’s true, WebRTC is great at connecting small teams of individuals at close to real-time speeds. You’ve in all probability used an software or two that makes use of WebRTC. WhatsApp, Discord, Snapchat, Google Hangouts, Fb Messenger, and plenty of extra in style convention and messaging apps join folks utilizing WebRTC. Customers expertise sub-second latency, which is sensible contemplating WebRTC stands for net real-time communication.

    RTMP, SRT, Low-Latency HLS, and low-latency CMAF for DASH are additionally accessible for low-latency streaming, however none examine to WebRTC when it comes to supply pace.


    Shortcomings of Every Strategy



    Apart from the apparent challenge that two seconds hardly permits for interactivity, tuning HLS and DASH can include additional issues. In case you shorten your segments beneath the beneficial 6 seconds every (and also you’d must shorten them to round .5-1 second to realize the bottom latency doable) you run the chance of interrupted viewing. You’ll additionally find yourself with lower-quality playback, which is unacceptable for many use instances. Streaming Studying Heart’s Jan Ozer goes into extra element on that right here. 

    Alternatively, in case you follow the beneficial six seconds, you’ll find yourself with a latency of round 18-20 seconds. In line with the assorted definitions we went over already, nobody needs to be calling that low latency, not to mention extremely low latency.



    There’s a purpose all these apps listed above are for one-to-one or few-to-few interactions. WebRTC doesn’t scale effectively. For interactivity, you may actually solely go as much as about 10 members. In case your use case includes one-to-many, the place interactivity isn’t mandatory for everybody concerned, you may probably embody someplace between 200-300 members.

    Moreover, WebRTC can fall brief on the standard facet. It’s browser-based, which implies high quality is determined by the capabilities of every consumer’s browser. You’d additionally have to develop options for every browser, and sustain with them as they replace.

    RTMP is a legacy protocol that’s not supported on the playback facet, so that you’d must convert RTMP to a different protocol, with the potential for added latency. SRT has the identical challenge as RTMP however for the alternative purpose. It’s a more recent expertise that isn’t broadly supported, particularly for playback. Once more, you’d have a extra difficult workflow, which might result in increased latencies.

    Lastly, new requirements like Low-Latency HLS and low-latency CMAF for DASH have lately been developed for low-latency streaming. They present promise, however each are new applied sciences however lack huge assist.


    The Resolution: Actual-Time Streaming at Scale

    Late in 2021, we launched a brand new characteristic for Wowza Streaming Cloud designed particularly to eradicate these shortcomings. The characteristic boasts extremely low latency speeds of beneath 500ms and may scale as much as one million members as well. It does make the most of WebRTC to maximise speeds, however leaves behind all the problems that usually include WebRTC. It’s scalable, versatile, and lightning-fast. Actual-Time Streaming at Scale is the best choice to be used instances that want extremely low latency. Contact us to study extra about learn how to get began.



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    Need to study extra about Actual-Time Streaming at Scale? Contact us at the moment.

    About Brittney Dougherty

    Primarily based in Denver, CO, Brittney Dougherty is a digital marketer at Wowza in command of search engine marketing and web site updates. She has eight years of expertise in B2B writing and analysis. She is understood to incessantly nerd out about advertising, gaming,… View extra

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