It was an incredible year. Many people felt it would never finish! Before closing this year, let’s go through Ant Media’s highlights of 2020 and its road map for 2021.
A number of Ant Media Server instances went up to +2800 in 2020 and currently, it is being used in 121 countries! This is amazing!
Before starting this blog post, to all our users, thank you for your trust and investment in Ant Media Server.
Ant Media’s Highlights of 2020
It’s been a busy year! Live streaming gained a lot of importance because of the pandemic. In case you missed it, here are a few of our biggest product updates:
Improve Compatibility: VP8 and H.264 Support in WebRTC
As known VP8 and H.264 are mandatory codecs in WebRTC according to RFC 7742. On the other hand, not all browsers support VP8 and H.264 codecs at the same time which may be caused by some licensing issues. Anyway, let’s back to our work, Ant Media Server supports H.264 for 1.x versions and Ant Media Server started supporting VP8 for 2.x versions including transcoding, and clustering. So that all of the devices can play WebRTC streams within their browsers.
S3 Forwarding and S3 Multipart Upload
Because AWS S3 is highly used for storing records, we need to improve compatibility with AWS S3.
S3 multipart upload is supported for saving MP4 files to S3. Multipart upload is recommended by AWS for saving files which has a size of over 100MB.
The second compatibility is that we define built-in HTTP forwarding with the specific rules. So that if your recording is in AWS S3 or anywhere, you can directly forward incoming requests to the destination you specify.
Gap is Filled: Data Channel in WebRTC
One of the other features that are being asked by our users is data channel support. Some of our users are asking for built-in chat support between stream publishers and stream players. We knew that the WebRTC data channel can be used for that and lastly we’ve enabled the data channel in WebRTC streaming. With the data channel support, you can use it for transferring any kind of data including binary or text between publishers and players.
Surpass the limits: 4K 60FPS WebRTC Streaming
Most people are wondering if 4K 60FPS streaming is possible in WebRTC. Luckily, we have a kind of partner that pushes us to surpass our limits but not only providing higher quality but also using different codecs that are not supported in the WebRTC stack.
Fortunately, we’re happy to say that by improving the stack and the way of sending the
stream, Ant Media Server can send 4K 60FPS video in WebRTC without any pixelating.
HEVC(H.265) Support in WebRTC Stack
I think the main question is why it’s important to add HEVC aka. H265 support in WebRTC stack. The answer is clear: Providing better quality with the same bitrate.
Let me tell you what we’ve done on the Ant Media Server side. We originally use the WebRTC stack implemented by Google and we’ve made it scalable to work on the server-side. The recent changes are adding packetization and depacketization of HEVC frames in RTP protocol according to RFC 7789 and adapting these changes to the WebRTC stack. We’ve also adapted these changes to the Android WebRTC SDK because most android devices have H.265 decoder to play the H.265 encoded WebRTC Stream.
Improved Performance and Stability
We constantly improve performance and stability. Now, there are fewer threads on both Java and Native side. It means there is less context switching in the same name number of publishers and viewers according to the previous version. We’ve also optimized the WebRTC Stack to make it consume fewer resources.
Second improvement is about stability. We’ve improved our devops pipeline for cluster tests. So we’re having more integration test cases for both standalone and cluster modes. Moreover, we’ve also increased our quality gate for test coverage from %70 to %80.
Setting up an Ant Media Server Scaling Solution with CloudFormation
It is possible to install Ant Media Server cluster in a short time by uploading the template file via CloudFormation which is prepared for AWS.
Low Latency (CMAF) vs. Ultra Low Latency (WebRTC)
Ant Media Server supports both LL(CMAF) and ULL(WebRTC). Here is the some basic information about these technologies. CMAF provides low latency(3-5 secs) in live streaming, on the other hand WebRTC provides Ultra Low Latency(0.5 secs) in live streaming.
We’ve been getting requests for supporting Kubernetes(K8s) from our users for a while. So that now Kubernetes is supported in Ant Media Server. We’ve added extra parameters to start the server in the container.
Moreover, we’ve prepared the documentation for the Kubernetes. All Kubernetes files(service, deployment) and dockerFile are available in the documentation. The critical thing for running Ant Media Server is that deployment uses hostNetwork which means that you can use one Ant Media Server pod in a node.
Long live the new King: Java 11
We don’t mean the “The king is dead” because Java 8 is still the most used Java version. On the other hand, for compatibility with tools and improvements in Java 11, we’ve migrated to Java 11 in Ant Media Server. In addition, we’ve monitored some performance improvements on Java 11. All install scripts and docker files are updated to use Java 11.
Mass Broadcasting Made Easy with Ant Media WebRTC Solution – 70K Unlocked!
Mass broadcasting in ultra-low latency never is that much easy! You could scale Ant Media Server to 70K viewers in less than a half-hour using the CloudFormation.
Ant Media’s Road Map for 2021
We are very excited to announce our road map for 2021:
- Ant Media Server currently supports SFU. In 2021, we plan to support MCU, too.
- We always do performance optimizations, and we will continue this in 2021.
- SRT and NDI are in our roadmap for 2021, too.
- The plugin architecture is another interesting feature that we want to add where developers can easily extend Ant Media Server capabilities with plugins that they develop.
Hope these features will help you in your streaming solutions. If you have any other feature suggestions, let us know it. You could send an email about it to contact (at) antmedia.io
We wish you a healthy and better year in 2021! Goodbye 2020, never come back again!