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WebSocket vs WebRTC in the stream overlays of the Streamr Network

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Title: WebSocket vs WebRTC in the stream overlays of the Streamr Network
Author(s): Juslenius, Santeri
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Degree program: Master's Programme in Computer Science
Specialisation: Networking and Services
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2021
The Streamr Network is a decentralized publish-subscribe system. This thesis experimentally compares WebSocket and WebRTC as transport protocols in the system’s d-regular random graph type unstructured stream overlays. The thesis explores common designs for publish-subscribe and decentralized P2P systems. Underlying network protocols including NAT traversal are explored to understand how the WebSocket and WebRTC protocols function. The requirements set for the Streamr Network and how its design and implementations fulfill them are discussed. The design and implementations are validated with the use simulations, emulations and AWS deployed real-world experiments. The performance metrics measured from the real-world experiments are compared to related work. As the implementations using the two protocols are separate incompatible versions, the differences between them was taken into account during analysis of the experiments. Although the WebSocket versions overlay construction is known to be inefficient and vulnerable to churn, it is found to be unintentionally topology aware. This caused the WebSocket stream overlays to perform better in terms of latency. The WebRTC stream overlays were found to be more predictable and more optimized for small payloads as estimates for message propagation delays had a MEPA of 1.24% compared to WebSocket’s 3.98%. Moreover, the WebRTC version enables P2P connections between hosts behind NATs. As the WebRTC version’s overlay construction is more accurate, reliable, scalable, and churn tolerant, it can be used to create intentionally topology aware stream overlays to fully take over the results of the WebSocket implementation.
Keyword(s): Overlay Networks publish-subscribe WebRTC WebSocket

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