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name Punditsdkoslkdosdkoskdo

WebSockets, UDP, and benchmarks

HTML5 websockets currently use a form of TCP communication. However, for real-time games, TCP just won't cut it (and is great reason to use some other platform, like native). As I probably need UDP to continue a project, I'd like to know if the specs for HTML6 or whatever will support UDP?

Also, are there any reliable benchmarks for WebSockets that would compare the WS protocol to a low-level, direct socket protocol?

On a LAN, you can get Round-trip times for messages over WebSocket of 200 microsec (from browser JS to WebSocket server and back), which is similar to raw ICMP pings. On MAN, it's around 10ms, WAN (over residential ADSL to server in same country) around 30ms, and so on up to around 120-200ms via 3.5G. The point is: WebSocket does add virtually no latency to the one you will get anyway, based on the network.

The wire level overhead of WebSocket (compared to raw TCP) is between 2 octets (unmasked payload of length < 126 octets) and 14 octets (masked payload of length > 64k) per message (the former numbers assume the message is not fragmented into multiple WebSocket frames). Very low.

For a more detailed analysis of WebSocket wire-level overhead, please see this blog post - this includes analysis covering layers beyond WebSocket also.

More so: with a WebSocket implementation capable of streaming processing, you can (after the initial WebSocket handshake), start a single WebSocket message and frame in each direction and then send up to 2^63 octets with no overhead at all. Essentially this renders WebSocket a fancy prelude for raw TCP. Caveat: intermediaries may fragment the traffic at their own decision. However, if you run WSS (that is secure WS = TLS), no intermediaries can interfere, and there you are: raw TCP, with a HTTP compatible prelude (WS handshake).

WebRTC uses RTP (= UDP based) for media transport but needs a signaling channel in addition (which can be WebSocket i.e.). RTP is optimized for loss-tolerant real-time media transport. "Real-time games" often means transferring not media, but things like player positions. WebSocket will work for that.

Note: WebRTC transport can be over RTP or secured when over SRTP. See "RTP profiles" here.

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