RTP - Audio and Video for the Internet

Cover photograph (English)

Addison-Wesley, 2003
ISBN-10: 0672322498
ISBN-13: 978 0672322495
First Edition (English)

This book describes the protocols, standards, and architecture of systems that deliver real-time voice, music, and video over IP networks, such as the Internet. Relevant applications include voice-over-IP, telephony, teleconferencing, streaming video, and web-casting. The focus of the book is media transport: how to reliably deliver audio and video across an IP network, how to ensure high quality in the face of network problems, and how to ensure that the system is secure. The book adopts a standards-based approach, based around the Real-time Transport Protocol, RTP, and its associated profiles and payload formats. It describes the RTP framework, how to build a system that uses that framework, and extensions to RTP for security and reliability.


The book is logically divided into four sections: The first section introduces the problem space, provides background, and outlines the properties of the Internet that affect audio/video transport. These are the chapters in the first section:

Cover photograph (Japanese)

The second part, consisting of the next five chapters, discusses the basics of the Real-time Transport Protocol. This is information you need to design and build a tool for voice-over-IP, streaming music or video, and so forth. Following are the related chapters:

The third part of the book discusses robustness: how to make your application reliable in the face of network problems, and how to compensate for loss and congestion in the network. You can build a system without using these techniques, but it will sound a lot better, and the pictures will be smoother and less susceptible to corruption, if you apply them. These chapters make up the third part of the book:

The final section describes a number of techniques, that have more specialized use. Many implementations do not use these features, but they can give a significant performance increase in some cases. These are the chapters:


This book describes audio/video transport over IP networks in considerable detail. It assumes some basic familiarity with IP network programming, and the operation of network protocols, and builds on this knowledge to describe the features unique to audio/video transport. An extensive list of references is included, pointing readers to additional information on specific topics and to background reading material.

Several audiences will find this book useful:

This book can be used as a reference, in conjunction with the technical standards, as a study guide, or as part of an advanced course on network protocol design or communication technology.


If you believe you have found a mistake in the book, please contact me.

Chapter 2

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11


There are no significant technical changes in the RFC versions of these references, compared to the draft versions used in the preparation of the book.

Thanks are due to Akimichi Ogawa, Badri Natarajan, Edd Inglis, Jason Van Eaton, David Tod, Jungkhun Byun, Yeong-Chuan Lim and Jeffrey Jo for reporting a number of errata.

Opinions expressed are my own, and do not represent those of my employers or the organisations that fund my research.