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Guidelines for using the Multiplexing Features of RTP

The information below is for an old version of the document.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 8872.
Authors Magnus Westerlund , Bo Burman , Colin Perkins , Harald T. Alvestrand
Last updated 2013-04-22
Replaces draft-westerlund-avtcore-multiplex-architecture
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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Network Working Group                                      M. Westerlund
Internet-Draft                                                 B. Burman
Intended status: Informational                                  Ericsson
Expires: October 24, 2013                                     C. Perkins
                                                   University of Glasgow
                                                           H. Alvestrand
                                                          April 22, 2013

         Guidelines for using the Multiplexing Features of RTP


   Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) is a flexible protocol possible to
   use in a wide range of applications and network and system
   topologies.  This flexibility and the implications of different
   choices should be understood by any application developer using RTP.
   To facilitate that understanding, this document contains an in-depth
   discussion of the usage of RTP's multiplexing points; the RTP session
   and the Synchronisation Source Identifier (SSRC).  The document tries
   to give guidance and source material for an analysis on the most
   suitable choices for the application being designed.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on October 24, 2013.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.1.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.2.  Subjects Out of Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   3.  RTP Concepts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.1.  Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.2.  SSRC  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.3.  CSRC  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     3.4.  Payload Type  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   4.  Multiple Streams Alternatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   5.  RTP Topologies and Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     5.1.  Point to Point  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     5.2.  Translators & Gateways  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     5.3.  Point to Multipoint Using Multicast . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     5.4.  Point to Multipoint Using an RTP Transport Translator . .  15
     5.5.  Point to Multipoint Using an RTP Mixer  . . . . . . . . .  15
   6.  Multiple Streams Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     6.1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     6.2.  RTP/RTCP Aspects  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
       6.2.1.  The RTP Specification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
       6.2.2.  Multiple SSRCs in a Session . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
       6.2.3.  Handling Varying Sets of Senders  . . . . . . . . . .  19
       6.2.4.  Cross Session RTCP Requests . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
       6.2.5.  Binding Related Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
       6.2.6.  Forward Error Correction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
       6.2.7.  Transport Translator Sessions . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     6.3.  Interworking  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       6.3.1.  Types of Interworking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       6.3.2.  RTP Translator Interworking . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       6.3.3.  Gateway Interworking  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
       6.3.4.  Multiple SSRC Legacy Considerations . . . . . . . . .  24
     6.4.  Network Aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
       6.4.1.  Quality of Service  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
       6.4.2.  NAT and Firewall Traversal  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
       6.4.3.  Multicast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
       6.4.4.  Multiplexing multiple RTP Session on a Single

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               Transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
     6.5.  Security Aspects  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  28
       6.5.1.  Security Context Scope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  28
       6.5.2.  Key Management for Multi-party session  . . . . . . .  29
       6.5.3.  Complexity Implications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  29
   7.  Arch-Types  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  29
     7.1.  Single SSRC per Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  29
     7.2.  Multiple SSRCs of the Same Media Type . . . . . . . . . .  31
     7.3.  Multiple Sessions for one Media type  . . . . . . . . . .  32
     7.4.  Multiple Media Types in one Session . . . . . . . . . . .  34
     7.5.  Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
   8.  Summary considerations and guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
     8.1.  Guidelines  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
   10. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
   11. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
     11.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
     11.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
   Appendix A.  Dismissing Payload Type Multiplexing . . . . . . . .  41
   Appendix B.  Proposals for Future Work  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  43
   Appendix C.  RTP Specification Clarifications . . . . . . . . . .  43
     C.1.  RTCP Reporting from all SSRCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  44
     C.2.  RTCP Self-reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  44
     C.3.  Combined RTCP Packets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  44
   Appendix D.  Signalling considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  45
     D.1.  Signalling Aspects  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  45
       D.1.1.  Session Oriented Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . .  45
       D.1.2.  SDP Prevents Multiple Media Types . . . . . . . . . .  46
       D.1.3.  Signalling Media Stream Usage . . . . . . . . . . . .  46
   Appendix E.  Changes from -01 to -02  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  47
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  48

1.  Introduction

   Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) [RFC3550] is a commonly used
   protocol for real-time media transport.  It is a protocol that
   provides great flexibility and can support a large set of different
   applications.  RTP has several multiplexing points designed for
   different purposes.  These enable support of multiple media streams
   and switching between different encoding or packetization of the
   media.  By using multiple RTP sessions, sets of media streams can be
   structured for efficient processing or identification.  Thus the
   question for any RTP application designer is how to best use the RTP
   session, the SSRC and the payload type to meet the application's

   The purpose of this document is to provide clear information about
   the possibilities of RTP when it comes to multiplexing.  The RTP

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   application designer should understand the implications that come
   from a particular usage of the RTP multiplexing points.  The document
   will recommend against some usages as being unsuitable, in general or
   for particular purposes.

   RTP was from the beginning designed for multiple participants in a
   communication session.  This is not restricted to multicast, as some
   may believe, but also provides functionality over unicast, using
   either multiple transport flows below RTP or a network node that re-
   distributes the RTP packets.  The re-distributing node can for
   example be a transport translator (relay) that forwards the packets
   unchanged, a translator performing media or protocol translation in
   addition to forwarding, or an RTP mixer that creates new conceptual
   sources from the received streams.  In addition, multiple streams may
   occur when a single endpoint have multiple media sources, like
   multiple cameras or microphones that need to be sent simultaneously.

   This document has been written due to increased interest in more
   advanced usage of RTP, resulting in questions regarding the most
   appropriate RTP usage.  The limitations in some implementations, RTP/
   RTCP extensions, and signalling has also been exposed.  It is
   expected that some limitations will be addressed by updates or new
   extensions resolving the shortcomings.  The authors also hope that
   clarification on the usefulness of some functionalities in RTP will
   result in more complete implementations in the future.

   The document starts with some definitions and then goes into the
   existing RTP functionalities around multiplexing.  Both the desired
   behaviour and the implications of a particular behaviour depend on
   which topologies are used, which requires some consideration.  This
   is followed by a discussion of some choices in multiplexing behaviour
   and their impacts.  Some arch-types of RTP usage are discussed.
   Finally, some recommendations and examples are provided.

   This document is currently an individual contribution, but it is the
   intention of the authors that this should become a WG document that
   objectively describes and provides suitable recommendations for which
   there is WG consensus.  Currently this document only represents the
   views of the authors.  The authors gladly accept any feedback on the
   document and will be happy to discuss suitable recommendations.

2.  Definitions

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2.1.  Terminology

   The following terms and abbreviations are used in this document:

   Endpoint:  A single entity sending or receiving RTP packets.  It may
      be decomposed into several functional blocks, but as long as it
      behaves a single RTP stack entity it is classified as a single

   Multiparty:  A communication situation including multiple end-points.
      In this document it will be used to refer to situations where more
      than two end-points communicate.

   Media Source:  The source of a stream of data of one Media Type, It
      can either be a single media capturing device such as a video
      camera, a microphone, or a specific output of a media production
      function, such as an audio mixer, or some video editing function.
      Sending data from a Media Source may cause multiple RTP sources to
      send multiple Media Streams.

   Media Stream:  A sequence of RTP packets using a single SSRC that
      together carries part or all of the content of a specific Media
      Type from a specific sender source within a given RTP session.

   RTP Source:  The originator or source of a particular Media Stream.
      Identified using an SSRC in a particular RTP session.  An RTP
      source is the source of a single media stream, and is associated
      with a single endpoint and a single Media Source.  An RTP Source
      is just called a Source in RFC 3550.

   Media Sink:  A recipient of a Media Stream.  The endpoint sinking
      media are Identified using one or more SSRCs.  There may be more
      than one Media Sink for one RTP source.

   CNAME:  "Canonical name" - identifier associated with one or more RTP
      sources from a single endpoint.  Defined in the RTP specification
      [RFC3550].  A CNAME identifies a synchronisation context.  A CNAME
      is associated with a single endpoint, although some RTP nodes will
      use an end-points CNAME on that end-points behalf.  An endpoint
      may use multiple CNAMEs.  A CNAME is intended to be globally
      unique and stable for the full duration of a communication
      session.  [RFC6222][I-D.ietf-avtcore-6222bis] gives updated
      guidelines for choosing CNAMEs.

   Media Type:  Audio, video, text or data whose form and meaning are
      defined by a specific real-time application.

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   Multiplex:  The operation of taking multiple entities as input,
      aggregating them onto some common resource while keeping the
      individual entities addressable such that they can later be fully
      and unambiguously separated (de-multiplexed) again.

   RTP Session:  As defined by [RFC3550], the endpoints belonging to the
      same RTP Session are those that share a single SSRC space.  That
      is, those endpoints can see an SSRC identifier transmitted by any
      one of the other endpoints.  An endpoint can receive an SSRC
      either as SSRC or as CSRC in RTP and RTCP packets.  Thus, the RTP
      Session scope is decided by the endpoints' network interconnection
      topology, in combination with RTP and RTCP forwarding strategies
      deployed by endpoints and any interconnecting middle nodes.

   RTP Session Group:  One or more RTP sessions that are used together
      to perform some function.  Examples are multiple RTP sessions used
      to carry different layers of a layered encoding.  In an RTP
      Session Group, CNAMEs are assumed to be valid across all RTP
      sessions, and designate synchronisation contexts that can cross
      RTP sessions.

   Source:  Term that should not be used alone.  An RTP Source, as
      identified by its SSRC, is the source of a single Media Stream; a
      Media Source can be the source of mutiple Media Streams.

   SSRC:  An RTP 32-bit unsigned integer used as identifier for a RTP

   CSRC:  Contributing Source, A SSRC identifier used in a context, like
      the RTP headers CSRC list, where it is clear that the Media Source
      is not the source of the media stream, instead only a contributor
      to the Media Stream.

   Signalling:  The process of configuring endpoints to participate in
      one or more RTP sessions.

2.2.  Subjects Out of Scope

   This document is focused on issues that affect RTP.  Thus, issues
   that involve signalling protocols, such as whether SIP, Jingle or
   some other protocol is in use for session configuration, the
   particular syntaxes used to define RTP session properties, or the
   constraints imposed by particular choices in the signalling
   protocols, are mentioned only as examples in order to describe the
   RTP issues more precisely.

   This document assumes the applications will use RTCP.  While there
   are such applications that don't send RTCP, they do not conform to

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   the RTP specification, and thus should be regarded as reusing the RTP
   packet format, not as implementing the RTP protocol.

3.  RTP Concepts

   This section describes the existing RTP tools that are particularly
   important when discussing multiplexing of different media streams.

3.1.  Session

   The RTP Session is the highest semantic level in RTP and contains all
   of the RTP functionality.  RTP itself has no normative statements
   about the relationship between different RTP sessions.

   Identifier:  RTP in itself does not contain any Session identifier,
      but relies either on the underlying transport or on the used
      signalling protocol, depending on in which context the identifier
      is used (e.g.  transport or signalling).  Due to this, a single
      RTP Session may have multiple associated identifiers belonging to
      different contexts.

      Position:  Depending on underlying transport and signalling
            protocol.  For example, when running RTP on top of UDP, an
            RTP endpoint can identify and delimit an RTP Session from
            other RTP Sessions through the UDP source and destination
            transport address, consisting of network address and port
            number(s).  Commonly, RTP and RTCP use separate ports and
            the destination transport address is in fact an address
            pair, but in the case of RTP/RTCP multiplex [RFC5761] there
            is only a single port.  Another example is SDP signalling
            [RFC4566], where the grouping framework [RFC5888] uses an
            identifier per "m="-line.  If there is a one-to-one mapping
            between "m="-line and RTP Session, that grouping framework
            identifier can identify a single RTP Session.

      Usage:  Identify separate RTP Sessions.

      Uniqueness:  Globally unique, but identity can only be detected by
            the general communication context for the specific endpoint.

      Inter-relation:  Depending on the underlying transport and
            signalling protocol.

   Special Restrictions:  None.

   A RTP source in an RTP session that changes its source transport
   address during a session must also choose a new SSRC identifier to
   avoid being interpreted as a looped source.

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   The set of participants considered part of the same RTP Session is
   defined by the RTP specification [RFC3550] as those that share a
   single SSRC space.  That is, those participants that can see an SSRC
   identifier transmitted by any one of the other participants.  A
   participant can receive an SSRC either as SSRC or CSRC in RTP and
   RTCP packets.  Thus, the RTP Session scope is decided by the
   participants' network interconnection topology, in combination with
   RTP and RTCP forwarding strategies deployed by endpoints and any
   interconnecting middle nodes.

3.2.  SSRC

   An SSRC identifies a RTP source or a Media Sink.  For end-points that
   both source and sink media streams its SSRCs are used in both roles.
   At any given time, a RTP source has one and only one SSRC - although
   that may change over the lifetime of the RTP source or sink.  An RTP
   Session serves one or more RTP sources.

   Identifier:  Synchronisation Source (SSRC), 32-bit unsigned number.

      Position:  In every RTP and RTCP packet header.  May be present in
            RTCP payload.  May be present in SDP signalling.

      Usage:  Identify individual RTP sources and Media Sinks within an
            RTP Session.  Refer to individual RTP sources and Media
            Sinks in RTCP messages and SDP signalling.

      Uniqueness:  Randomly chosen, intended to be globally unique
            within an RTP Session and not dependent on network address.
            SSRC value collisions may occur and must be handled as
            specified in RTP [RFC3550].

      Inter-relation:  SSRC belonging to the same synchronisation
            context (originating from the same endpoint), within or
            between RTP Sessions, are indicated through use of identical
            SDES CNAME items in RTCP compound packets with those SSRC as
            originating source.  SDP signalling can provide explicit
            SSRC grouping [RFC5576].  When CNAME is inappropriate or
            insufficient, there exist a few other methods to relate
            different SSRC.  One such case is session-based RTP
            retransmission [RFC4588].  In some cases, the same SSRC
            Identifier value is used to relate streams in two different
            RTP Sessions, such as in Multi-Session Transmission of
            scalable video [RFC6190].

   Special Restrictions:  All RTP implementations must be prepared to
      use procedures for SSRC collision handling, which results in an
      SSRC number change.  A RTP source that changes its RTP Session

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      identifier (e.g.  source transport address) during a session must
      also choose a new SSRC identifier to avoid being interpreted as
      looped source.

      Note that RTP sequence number and RTP timestamp are scoped by SSRC
      and thus independent between different SSRCs.

   An SSRC identifier is used by different type of sources as well as

   Real Media Source:  Connected to a "physical" media source, for
      example a camera or microphone.

   Conceptual Media Source:  A source with some attributed property
      generated by some network node, for example a filtering function
      in an RTP mixer that provides the most active speaker based on
      some criteria, or a mix representing a set of other sources.

   Media Sink:  A source that does not generate any RTP media stream in
      itself (e.g.  an endpoint or middlebox only receiving in an RTP
      session), but anyway need a sender SSRC for use as source in RTCP

   Note that a endpoint that generates more than one media type, e.g.  a
   conference participant sending both audio and video, need not (and
   commonly should not) use the same SSRC value across RTP sessions.
   RTCP Compound packets containing the CNAME SDES item is the
   designated method to bind an SSRC to a CNAME, effectively cross-
   correlating SSRCs within and between RTP Sessions as coming from the
   same endpoint.  The main property attributed to SSRCs associated with
   the same CNAME is that they are from a particular synchronisation
   context and may be synchronised at playback.

   An RTP receiver receiving a previously unseen SSRC value must
   interpret it as a new source.  It may in fact be a previously
   existing source that had to change SSRC number due to an SSRC
   conflict.  However, the originator of the previous SSRC should have
   ended the conflicting source by sending an RTCP BYE for it prior to
   starting to send with the new SSRC, so the new SSRC is anyway
   effectively a new source.

3.3.  CSRC

   The Contributing Source (CSRC) is not a separate identifier, but an
   usage of the SSRC identifier.  It is optionally included in the RTP
   header as list of up to 15 contributing RTP sources.  CSRC shares the
   SSRC number space and specifies which set of SSRCs that has
   contributed to the RTP payload.  However, even though each RTP packet

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   and SSRC can be tagged with the contained CSRCs, the media
   representation of an individual CSRC is in general not possible to
   extract from the RTP payload since it is typically the result of a
   media mixing (merge) operation (by an RTP mixer) on the individual
   media streams corresponding to the CSRC identifiers.  The exception
   is the case when only a single CSRC is indicated as this represent
   forwarding of a media stream, possibly modified.  The RTP header
   extension for Mixer-to-Client Audio Level Indication [RFC6465]
   expands on the receivers information about a packet with a CSRC list.
   Due to these restrictions, CSRC will not be considered a fully
   qualified multiplex point and will be disregarded in the rest of this

3.4.  Payload Type

   Each Media Stream utilises one or more encoding formats, identified
   by the Payload Type.

   The Payload Type is not a multiplexing point.  Appendix A gives some
   of the many reasons why attempting to use it as a multiplexing point
   will have bad results.

   Identifier:  Payload Type number.

      Position:  In every RTP header and in signalling.

      Usage:  Identify a specific Media Stream encoding format.  The
            format definition may be taken from [RFC3551] for statically
            allocated Payload Types, but should be explicitly defined in
            signalling, such as SDP, both for static and dynamic Payload
            Types.  The term "format" here includes whatever can be
            described by out-of-band signalling means.  In SDP, the term
            "format" includes media type, RTP timestamp sampling rate,
            codec, codec configuration, payload format configurations,
            and various robustness mechanisms such as redundant
            encodings [RFC2198].

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      Uniqueness:  Scoped by sending endpoint within an RTP Session.  To
            avoid any potential for ambiguity, it is desirable that
            payload types are unique across all sending endpoints within
            an RTP session, but this is often not true in practice.  All
            SSRC in an RTP session sent from an single endpoint share
            the same Payload Types definitions.  The RTP Payload Type is
            designed such that only a single Payload Type is valid at
            any time instant in the SSRC's RTP timestamp time line,
            effectively time-multiplexing different Payload Types if any
            change occurs.  Used Payload Type may change on a per-packet
            basis for an SSRC, for example a speech codec making use of
            generic Comfort Noise [RFC3389].

      Inter-relation:  There are some uses where Payload Type numbers
            need to be unique across RTP Sessions.  This is for example
            the case in Media Decoding Dependency [RFC5583] where
            Payload Types are used to describe media dependency across
            RTP Sessions.  Another example is session-based RTP
            retransmission [RFC4588].

   Special Restrictions:  Using different RTP timestamp clock rates for
      the RTP Payload Types in use in the same RTP Session have issues
      such as potential for loss of synchronisation.  Payload Type clock
      rate switching requires some special consideration that is
      described in the multiple clock rates specification

   If there is a true need to send multiple Payload Types for the same
   SSRC that are valid for the same RTP Timestamps, then redundant
   encodings [RFC2198] can be used.  Several additional constraints than
   the ones mentioned above need to be met to enable this use, one of
   which is that the combined payload sizes of the different Payload
   Types must not exceed the transport MTU.

   Other aspects of RTP payload format use are described in RTP Payload
   HowTo [I-D.ietf-payload-rtp-howto].

4.  Multiple Streams Alternatives

   The reasons why an endpoint may choose to send multiple media streams
   are widespread.  In the below discussion, please keep in mind that
   the reasons for having multiple media streams vary and include but
   are not limited to the following:

   o  Multiple Media Sources

   o  Multiple Media Streams may be needed to represent one Media Source
      (for instance when using layered encodings)

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   o  A Retransmission stream may repeat the content of another Media

   o  An FEC stream may provide material that can be used to repair
      another Media Stream

   o  Alternative Encodings, for instance different codecs for the same
      audio stream

   o  Alternative formats, for instance multiple resolutions of the same
      video stream

   Thus the choice made due to one reason may not be the choice suitable
   for another reason.  In the above list, the different items have
   different levels of maturity in the discussion on how to solve them.
   The clearest understanding is associated with multiple media sources
   of the same media type.  However, all warrant discussion and
   clarification on how to deal with them.

   This section reviews the alternatives to enable multi-stream
   handling.  Let's start with describing mechanisms that could enable
   multiple media streams, independent of the purpose for having
   multiple streams.

   Additional SSRC:  Each additional Media Stream gets its own SSRC
      within a RTP Session.

   Multiple RTP Sessions:  Using additional RTP Sessions to handle
      additional Media Streams.

   As the below discussion will show, in reality we cannot choose a
   single one of the two solutions.  To utilise RTP well and as
   efficiently as possible, both are needed.  The real issue is finding
   the right guidance on when to create RTP sessions and when additional
   SSRCs in an RTP session is the right choice.

5.  RTP Topologies and Issues

   The impact of how RTP Multiplex is performed will in general vary
   with how the RTP Session participants are interconnected, described
   by RTP Topology [RFC5117] and its intended successor

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5.1.  Point to Point

   Even the most basic use case, denoted Topo-Point-to-Point in
   [I-D.westerlund-avtcore-rtp-topologies-update], raises a number of
   considerations that are discussed in detail below (Section 6).  They
   range over such aspects as:

   o  Does my communication peer support RTP as defined with multiple

   o  Do I need network differentiation in form of QoS?

   o  Can the application more easily process and handle the media
      streams if they are in different RTP sessions?

   o  Do I need to use additional media streams for RTP retransmission
      or FEC.

   o  etc.

   The application designer will have to make choices here.  The point
   to point topology can contain one to many RTP sessions with one to
   many media sources per session, resulting in one or more RTP source
   (SSRC) per media source.

5.2.  Translators & Gateways

   A point to point communication can end up in a situation when the
   peer it is communicating with is not compatible with the other peer
   for various reasons:

   o  No common media codec for a media type thus requiring transcoding

   o  Different support for multiple RTP sources and RTP sessions

   o  Usage of different media transport protocols, i.e RTP or other.

   o  Usage of different transport protocols, e.g.  UDP, DCCP, TCP

   o  Different security solutions, e.g.  IPsec, TLS, DTLS, SRTP with
      different keying mechanisms.

   This is in many situations resolved by the inclusion of a translator
   in-between the two peers, as described by Topo-PtP-Translator in
   [I-D.westerlund-avtcore-rtp-topologies-update].  The translator's
   main purpose is to make the peer look to the other peer like
   something it is compatible with.  There may also be other reasons
   than compatibility to insert a translator in the form of a middlebox

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   or gateway, for example a need to monitor the media streams.  If the
   stream transport characteristics are changed by the translator,
   appropriate media handling can require thorough understanding of the
   application logic, specifically any congestion control or media

5.3.  Point to Multipoint Using Multicast

   This section discusses the Point to Multi-point using Multicast to
   interconnect the session participants.  This includes both Topo-ASM
   and Topo-SSM in [I-D.westerlund-avtcore-rtp-topologies-update].

   Special considerations must be made as multicast is a one to many
   distribution system.  For example, the only practical method for
   adapting the bit-rate sent towards a given receiver for large groups
   is to use a set of multicast groups, where each multicast group
   represents a particular bit-rate.  Otherwise the whole group gets
   media adapted to the participant with the worst conditions.  The
   media encoding is either scalable, where multiple layers can be
   combined, or simulcast where a single version is selected.  By either
   selecting or combing multicast groups, the receiver can control the
   bit-rate sent on the path to itself.  It is also common that streams
   that improve transport robustness are sent in their own multicast
   group to allow for interworking with legacy or to support different
   levels of protection.

   The result of this is some common behaviours for RTP multicast:

   1.  Multicast applications use a group of RTP sessions, not one.
       Each endpoint will need to be a member of a number of RTP
       sessions in order to perform well.

   2.  Within each RTP session, the number of Media Sinks is likely to
       be much larger than the number of RTP sources.

   3.  Multicast applications need signalling functions to identify the
       relationships between RTP sessions.

   4.  Multicast applications need signalling functions to identify the
       relationships between SSRCs in different RTP sessions.

   All multicast configurations share a signalling requirement; all of
   the participants will need to have the same RTP and payload type
   configuration.  Otherwise, A could for example be using payload type
   97 as the video codec H.264 while B thinks it is MPEG-2.  It should
   be noted that SDP offer/answer [RFC3264] has issues with ensuring
   this property.  The signalling aspects of multicast are not explored
   further in this memo.

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   Security solutions for this type of group communications are also
   challenging.  First of all the key-management and the security
   protocol must support group communication.  Source authentication
   becomes more difficult and requires special solutions.  For more
   discussion on this please review Options for Securing RTP Sessions

5.4.  Point to Multipoint Using an RTP Transport Translator

   This mode is described as Topo-Translator in

   Transport Translators (Relays) result in an RTP session situation
   that is very similar to how an ASM group RTP session would behave.

   One of the most important aspects with the simple relay is that it is
   only rewriting transport headers, no RTP modifications nor media
   transcoding occur.  The most obvious downside of this basic relaying
   is that the translator has no control over how many streams need to
   be delivered to a receiver.  Nor can it simply select to deliver only
   certain streams, as this creates session inconsistencies: If the
   translator temporarily stops a stream, this prevents some receivers
   from reporting on it.  From the sender's perspective it will look
   like a transport failure.  Applications having needs to stop or
   switch streams in the central node should consider using an RTP mixer
   to avoid this issue.

   The Transport Translator has the same signalling requirement as
   multicast: All participants must have the same payload type
   configuration.  Most of the ASM security issues also arise here.
   Some alternative when it comes to solution do exist as there after
   all exist a central node to communicate with.  One that also can
   enforce some security policies depending on the level of trust placed
   in the node.

5.5.  Point to Multipoint Using an RTP Mixer

   A mixer, described by Topo-Mixer in
   [I-D.westerlund-avtcore-rtp-topologies-update], is a centralised node
   that selects or mixes content in a conference to optimise the RTP
   session so that each endpoint only needs connect to one entity, the
   mixer.  The media sent from the mixer to the end-point can be
   optimised in different ways.  These optimisations include methods
   like only choosing media from the currently most active speaker or
   mixing together audio so that only one audio stream is required.

   Mixers have some downsides, the first is that the mixer must be a
   trusted node as they either perform media operations or at least

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   repacketize the media.  When using SRTP, both media operations and
   repacketization requires that the mixer verifies integrity, decrypts
   the content, performs the operation and forms new RTP packets,
   encrypts and integrity-protects them.  This applies to all types of
   mixers.  The second downside is that all these operations and
   optimisations of the session requires processing.  How much depends
   on the implementation, as will become evident below.

   A mixer, unlike a pure transport translator, is always application
   specific: the application logic for stream mixing or stream selection
   has to be embedded within the mixer, and controlled using application
   specific signalling.  The implementation of a mixer can take several
   different forms and we will discuss the main themes available that
   doesn't break RTP.

   Please note that a Mixer could also contain translator
   functionalities, like a media transcoder to adjust the media bit-rate
   or codec used for a particular RTP media stream.

6.  Multiple Streams Discussion

6.1.  Introduction

   Using multiple media streams is a well supported feature of RTP.
   However, it can be unclear for most implementers or people writing
   RTP/RTCP applications or extensions attempting to apply multiple
   streams when it is most appropriate to add an additional SSRC in an
   existing RTP session and when it is better to use multiple RTP
   sessions.  This section tries to discuss the various considerations
   needed.  The next section then concludes with some guidelines.

6.2.  RTP/RTCP Aspects

   This section discusses RTP and RTCP aspects worth considering when
   selecting between using an additional SSRC and Multiple RTP sessions.

6.2.1.  The RTP Specification

   RFC 3550 contains some recommendations and a bullet list with 5
   arguments for different aspects of RTP multiplexing.  Let's review
   Section 5.2 of [RFC3550], reproduced below:

   "For efficient protocol processing, the number of multiplexing points
   should be minimised, as described in the integrated layer processing
   design principle [ALF].  In RTP, multiplexing is provided by the
   destination transport address (network address and port number) which
   is different for each RTP session.  For example, in a teleconference
   composed of audio and video media encoded separately, each medium

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   SHOULD be carried in a separate RTP session with its own destination
   transport address.

   Separate audio and video streams SHOULD NOT be carried in a single
   RTP session and demultiplexed based on the payload type or SSRC
   fields.  Interleaving packets with different RTP media types but
   using the same SSRC would introduce several problems:

   1.  If, say, two audio streams shared the same RTP session and the
       same SSRC value, and one were to change encodings and thus
       acquire a different RTP payload type, there would be no general
       way of identifying which stream had changed encodings.

   2.  An SSRC is defined to identify a single timing and sequence
       number space.  Interleaving multiple payload types would require
       different timing spaces if the media clock rates differ and would
       require different sequence number spaces to tell which payload
       type suffered packet loss.

   3.  The RTCP sender and receiver reports (see Section 6.4) can only
       describe one timing and sequence number space per SSRC and do not
       carry a payload type field.

   4.  An RTP mixer would not be able to combine interleaved streams of
       incompatible media into one stream.

   5.  Carrying multiple media in one RTP session precludes: the use of
       different network paths or network resource allocations if
       appropriate; reception of a subset of the media if desired, for
       example just audio if video would exceed the available bandwidth;
       and receiver implementations that use separate processes for the
       different media, whereas using separate RTP sessions permits
       either single- or multiple-process implementations.

   Using a different SSRC for each medium but sending them in the same
   RTP session would avoid the first three problems but not the last

   On the other hand, multiplexing multiple related sources of the same
   medium in one RTP session using different SSRC values is the norm for
   multicast sessions.  The problems listed above don't apply: an RTP
   mixer can combine multiple audio sources, for example, and the same
   treatment is applicable for all of them.  It may also be appropriate
   to multiplex streams of the same medium using different SSRC values
   in other scenarios where the last two problems do not apply."

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   Let's consider one argument at a time.  The first is an argument for
   using different SSRC for each individual media stream, which is very

   The second argument is advocating against using payload type
   multiplexing, which still stands as can been seen by the extensive
   list of issues found in Appendix A.

   The third argument is yet another argument against payload type

   The fourth is an argument against multiplexing media streams that
   require different handling into the same session.  As we saw in the
   discussion of RTP mixers, the RTP mixer has to embed application
   logic in order to handle streams anyway; the separation of streams
   according to stream type is just another piece of application logic,
   which may or may not be appropriate for a particular application.  A
   type of application that can mix different media sources "blindly" is
   the audio only "telephone" bridge; most other type of application
   needs application-specific logic to perform the mix correctly.

   The fifth argument discusses network aspects that we will discuss
   more below in Section 6.4.  It also goes into aspects of
   implementation, like decomposed endpoints where different processes
   or inter-connected devices handle different aspects of the whole
   multi-media session.

   A summary of RFC 3550's view on multiplexing is to use unique SSRCs
   for anything that is its own media/packet stream, and to use
   different RTP sessions for media streams that don't share media type.
   The first this document support as very valid.  The later is one
   thing which is further discussed in this document as something the
   application developer needs to make a conscious choice for.  Different Media Types Recommendations

   The above quote from RTP [RFC3550] includes a strong recommendation:

      "For example, in a teleconference composed of audio and video
      media encoded separately, each medium SHOULD be carried in a
      separate RTP session with its own destination transport address."

   It was identified in "Why RTP Sessions Should Be Content Neutral"
   [I-D.alvestrand-rtp-sess-neutral] that the above statement is poorly
   supported by any of the motivations provided in the RTP
   specification.  This has resulted in the creation of a specification
   Multiple Media Types in an RTP Session specification
   [I-D.ietf-avtcore-multi-media-rtp-session] which intend to update

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   this recommendation.  That document has a detailed analysis of the
   potential issues in having multiple media types in the same RTP
   session.  This document tries to provide an more over arching
   consideration regarding the usage of RTP session and considers
   multiple media types in one RTP session as possible choice for the
   RTP application designer.

6.2.2.  Multiple SSRCs in a Session

   Using multiple SSRCs in an RTP session at one endpoint has some
   unclarities in the RTP specification.  These could potentially lead
   to some interoperability issues as well as some potential significant
   inefficencies.  These are further discussed in "RTP Considerations
   for Endpoints Sending Multiple Media Streams"
   [I-D.lennox-avtcore-rtp-multi-stream].  A application designer may
   need to consider these issues and the impact availability or lack of
   the optimization in the endpoints has on their application.

   If an application will become affected by the issues described, using
   Multiple RTP sessions can mitigate these issues.

6.2.3.  Handling Varying Sets of Senders

   In some applications, the set of simultaneously active sources varies
   within a larger set of session members.  A receiver can then possibly
   try to use a set of decoding chains that is smaller than the number
   of senders, switching the decoding chains between different senders.
   As each media decoding chain may contain state, either the receiver
   must either be able to save the state of swapped-out senders, or the
   sender must be able to send data that permits the receiver to
   reinitialise when it resumes activity.

   This behaviour will cause similar issues independent of Additional
   SSRC or Multiple RTP session.

6.2.4.  Cross Session RTCP Requests

   There currently exists no functionality to make truly synchronised
   and atomic RTCP messages with some type of request semantics across
   multiple RTP Sessions.  Instead, separate RTCP messages will have to
   be sent in each session.  This gives streams in the same RTP session
   a slight advantage as RTCP messages for different streams in the same
   session can be sent in a compound RTCP packet.  Thus providing an
   atomic operation if different modifications of different streams are
   requested at the same time.

   When using multiple RTP sessions, the RTCP timing rules in the
   sessions and the transport aspects, such as packet loss and jitter,

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   prevents a receiver from relying on atomic operations, forcing it to
   use more robust and forgiving mechanisms.

6.2.5.  Binding Related Sources

   A common problem in a number of various RTP extensions has been how
   to bind related RTP sources and their media streams together.  This
   issue is common to both using additional SSRCs and Multiple RTP

   The solutions can be divided into some groups, RTP/RTCP based,
   Signalling based (SDP), grouping related RTP sessions, and grouping
   SSRCs within an RTP session.  Most solutions are explicit, but some
   implicit methods have also been applied to the problem.

   The SDP-based signalling solutions are:

   SDP Media Description Grouping:  The SDP Grouping Framework [RFC5888]
      uses various semantics to group any number of media descriptions.
      These has previously been considered primarily as grouping RTP
      sessions, but this may change.

   SDP SSRC grouping:  Source-Specific Media Attributes in SDP [RFC5576]
      includes a solution for grouping SSRCs the same way as the
      Grouping framework groupes Media Descriptions.

   This supports a lot of use cases.  Both solutions have shortcomings
   in cases where the session's dynamic properties are such that it is
   difficult or resource consuming to keep the list of related SSRCs up
   to date.  As they are two related but still separated solutions it is
   not well specified to group SSRCs across multiple RTP sessions and
   SDP media descriptions.

   Within RTP/RTCP based solutions when binding to a endpoint or
   synchronization context, i.e.  the CNAME has not be sufficient and
   one has multiple RTP sessions has been to using the same SSRC value
   across all the RTP sessions.  RTP Retransmission [RFC4588] is
   multiple RTP session mode, Generic FEC [RFC5109], as well as the RTP
   payload format for Scalable Video Coding [RFC6190] in Multi Session
   Transmission (MST) mode uses this method.  This method clearly works
   but might have some downside in RTP sessions with many participating
   SSRCs.  The birthday paradox ensures that if you populate a single
   session with 9292 SSRCs at random, the chances are approximately 1%
   that at least one collision will occur.  When a collision occur this
   will force one to change SSRC in all RTP sessions and thus
   resynchronizing all of them instead of only the single media stream
   having the collision.

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   It can be noted that Section 8.3 of the RTP Specification [RFC3550]
   recommends using a single SSRC space across all RTP sessions for
   layered coding.

   Another solution that has been applied to binding SSRCs have been an
   implicit method used by RTP Retransmission [RFC4588] when doing
   retransmissions in the same RTP session as the source RTP media
   stream.  This issues an RTP retransmission request, and then await a
   new SSRC carrying the RTP retransmission payload and where that SSRC
   is from the same CNAME.  This limits a requestor to having only one
   outstanding request on any new source SSRCs per endpoint.

   There exist no RTP/RTCP based mechanism capable of supporting
   explicit association accross multiple RTP sessions as well within an
   RTP session.  A proposed solution for handling this issue is
   [I-D.westerlund-avtext-rtcp-sdes-srcname].  This can potentially be
   part of an SDP based solution also by reusing the same identifiers
   and name space.

6.2.6.  Forward Error Correction

   There exist a number of Forward Error Correction (FEC) based schemes
   for how to reduce the packet loss of the original streams.  Most of
   the FEC schemes will protect a single source flow.  The protection is
   achieved by transmitting a certain amount of redundant information
   that is encoded such that it can repair one or more packet loss over
   the set of packets they protect.  This sequence of redundant
   information also needs to be transmitted as its own media stream, or
   in some cases instead of the original media stream.  Thus many of
   these schemes create a need for binding the related flows as
   discussed above.  They also create additional flows that need to be
   transported.  Looking at the history of these schemes, there is both
   schemes using multiple SSRCs and multiple RTP sessions, and some
   schemes that support both modes of operation.

   Using multiple RTP sessions supports the case where some set of
   receivers may not be able to utilise the FEC information.  By placing
   it in a separate RTP session, it can easily be ignored.

   In usages involving multicast, having the FEC information on its own
   multicast group, and therefore in its own RTP session, allows for
   flexibility, for example when using Rapid Acquisition of Multicast
   Groups (RAMS) [RFC6285].  During the RAMS burst where data is
   received over unicast and where it is possible to combine with
   unicast based retransmission [RFC4588], there is no need to burst the
   FEC data related to the burst of the source media streams needed to
   catch up with the multicast group.  This saves bandwidth to the
   receiver during the burst, enabling quicker catch up.  When the

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   receiver has caught up and joins the multicast group(s) for the
   source, it can at the same time join the multicast group with the FEC
   information.  Having the source stream and the FEC in separate groups
   allows for easy separation in the Burst/Retransmission Source (BRS)
   without having to individually classify packets.

6.2.7.  Transport Translator Sessions

   A basic Transport Translator relays any incoming RTP and RTCP packets
   to the other participants.  The main difference between Additional
   SSRCs and Multiple RTP Sessions resulting from this use case is that
   with Additional SSRCs it is not possible for a particular session
   participant to decide to receive a subset of media streams.  When
   using separate RTP sessions for the different sets of media streams,
   a single participant can choose to leave one of the sessions but not
   the other.

6.3.  Interworking

   There are several different kinds of interworking, and this section
   discusses two related ones.  The interworking between different
   applications and the implications of potentially different choices of
   usage of RTP's multiplexing points.  The second topic relates to what
   limitations may have to be considered working with some legacy

6.3.1.  Types of Interworking

   It is not uncommon that applications or services of similar usage,
   especially the ones intended for interactive communication, ends up
   in a situation where one want to interconnect two or more of these

   In these cases one ends up in a situation where one might use a
   gateway to interconnect applications.  This gateway then needs to
   change the multiplexing structure or adhere to limitations in each

   There are two fundamental approaches to gatewaying: RTP bridging,
   where the gateway acts as an RTP Translator, and the two applications
   are members of the same RTP session, and RTP termination, where there
   are independent RTP sessions running from each interconnected
   application to the gateway.

6.3.2.  RTP Translator Interworking

   From an RTP perspective the RTP Translator approach could work if all
   the applications are using the same codecs with the same payload

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   types, have made the same multiplexing choices, have the same
   capabilities in number of simultaneous media streams combined with
   the same set of RTP/RTCP extensions being supported.  Unfortunately
   this may not always be true.

   When one is gatewaying via an RTP Translator, a natural requirement
   is that the two applications being interconnected must use the same
   approach to multiplexing.  Furthermore, if one of the applications is
   capable of working in several modes (such as being able to use
   Additional SSRCs or Multiple RTP sessions at will), and the other one
   is not, successful interconnection depends on locking the more
   flexible application into the operating mode where interconnection
   can be successful, even if no participants using the less flexible
   application are present when the RTP sessions are being created.

6.3.3.  Gateway Interworking

   When one terminates RTP sessions at the gateway, there are certain
   tasks that the gateway must carry out:

   o  Generating appropriate RTCP reports for all media streams
      (possibly based on incoming RTCP reports), originating from SSRCs
      controlled by the gateway.

   o  Handling SSRC collision resolution in each application's RTP

   o  Signalling, choosing and policing appropriate bit-rates for each

   If either of the applications has any security applied, e.g.  in the
   form of SRTP, the gateway must be able to decrypt incoming packets
   and re-encrypt them in the other application's security context.
   This is necessary even if all that's required is a simple remapping
   of SSRC numbers.  If this is done, the gateway also needs to be a
   member of the security contexts of both sides, of course.

   Other tasks a gateway may need to apply include transcoding (for
   incompatible codec types), rescaling (for incompatible video size
   requirements), suppression of content that is known not to be handled
   in the destination application, or the addition or removal of
   redundancy coding or scalability layers to fit the need of the
   destination domain.

   From the above, we can see that the gateway needs to have an intimate
   knowledge of the application requirements; a gateway is by its nature
   application specific, not a commodity product.

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   This fact reveals the potential for these gateways to block evolution
   of the applications by blocking unknown RTP and RTCP extensions that
   the regular application has been extended with.

   If one uses security functions, like SRTP, they can as seen above
   incur both additional risk due to the gateway needing to be in
   security association between the endpoints, unless the gateway is on
   the transport level, and additional complexities in form of the
   decrypt-encrypt cycles needed for each forwarded packet.  SRTP, due
   to its keying structure, also requires that each RTP session must
   have different master keys, as use of the same key in two RTP
   sessions can result in two-time pads that completely breaks the
   confidentiality of the packets.

6.3.4.  Multiple SSRC Legacy Considerations

   Historically, the most common RTP use cases have been point to point
   Voice over IP (VoIP) or streaming applications, commonly with no more
   than one media source per endpoint and media type (typically audio
   and video).  Even in conferencing applications, especially voice
   only, the conference focus or bridge has provided a single stream
   with a mix of the other participants to each participant.  It is also
   common to have individual RTP sessions between each endpoint and the
   RTP mixer, meaning that the mixer functions as an RTP-terminating

   When establishing RTP sessions that may contain endpoints that aren't
   updated to handle multiple streams following these recommendations, a
   particular application can have issues with multiple SSRCs within a
   single session.  These issues include:

   1.  Need to handle more than one stream simultaneously rather than
       replacing an already existing stream with a new one.

   2.  Be capable of decoding multiple streams simultaneously.

   3.  Be capable of rendering multiple streams simultaneously.

   This indicates that gateways attempting to interconnect to this class
   of devices must make sure that only one media stream of each type
   gets delivered to the endpoint if it's expecting only one, and that
   the multiplexing format is what the device expects.  It is highly
   unlikely that RTP translator-based interworking can be made to
   function successfully in such a context.

6.4.  Network Aspects

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   The multiplexing choice has impact on network level mechanisms that
   need to be considered by the implementor.

6.4.1.  Quality of Service

   When it comes to Quality of Service mechanisms, they are either flow
   based or marking based.  RSVP [RFC2205] is an example of a flow based
   mechanism, while Diff-Serv [RFC2474] is an example of a Marking based
   one.  For a marking based scheme, the method of multiplexing will not
   affect the possibility to use QoS.

   However, for a flow based scheme there is a clear difference between
   the methods.  Additional SSRC will result in all media streams being
   part of the same 5-tuple (protocol, source address, destination
   address, source port, destination port) which is the most common
   selector for flow based QoS.  Thus, separation of the level of QoS
   between media streams is not possible.  That is however possible when
   using multiple RTP sessions, where each media stream for which a
   separate QoS handling is desired can be in a different RTP session
   that can be sent over different 5-tuples.

6.4.2.  NAT and Firewall Traversal

   In today's network there exist a large number of middleboxes.  The
   ones that normally have most impact on RTP are Network Address
   Translators (NAT) and Firewalls (FW).

   Below we analyze and comment on the impact of requiring more
   underlying transport flows in the presence of NATs and Firewalls:

   End-Point Port Consumption:  A given IP address only has 65536
      available local ports per transport protocol for all consumers of
      ports that exist on the machine.  This is normally never an issue
      for an end-user machine.  It can become an issue for servers that
      handle large number of simultaneous streams.  However, if the
      application uses ICE to authenticate STUN requests, a server can
      serve multiple endpoints from the same local port, and use the
      whole 5-tuple (source and destination address, source and
      destination port, protocol) as identifier of flows after having
      securely bound them to the remote endpoint address using the STUN
      request.  In theory the minimum number of media server ports
      needed are the maximum number of simultaneous RTP Sessions a
      single endpoint may use.  In practice, implementation will
      probably benefit from using more server ports to simplify
      implementation or avoid performance bottlenecks.

   NAT State:  If an endpoint sits behind a NAT, each flow it generates
      to an external address will result in a state that has to be kept

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      in the NAT.  That state is a limited resource.  In home or Small
      Office/Home Office (SOHO) NATs, memory or processing are usually
      the most limited resources.  For large scale NATs serving many
      internal endpoints, available external ports are likely the scarce
      resource.  Port limitations is primarily a problem for larger
      centralised NATs where endpoint independent mapping requires each
      flow to use one port for the external IP address.  This affects
      the maximum number of internal users per external IP address.
      However, it is worth pointing out that a real-time video
      conference session with audio and video is likely using less than
      10 UDP flows, compared to certain web applications that can use
      100+ TCP flows to various servers from a single browser instance.

   NAT Traversal Excess Time:  Making the NAT/FW traversal takes a
      certain amount of time for each flow.  It also takes time in a
      phase of communication between accepting to communicate and the
      media path being established which is fairly critical.  The best
      case scenario for how much extra time it takes after finding the
      first valid candidate pair following the specified ICE procedures
      are: 1.5*RTT + Ta*(Additional_Flows-1), where Ta is the pacing
      timer, which ICE specifies to be no smaller than 20 ms.  That
      assumes a message in one direction, and then an immediate
      triggered check back.  The reason it isn't more, is that ICE first
      finds one candidate pair that works prior to attempting to
      establish multiple flows.  Thus, there is no extra time until one
      has found a working candidate pair.  Based on that working pair
      the needed extra time is to in parallel establish the, in most
      cases 2-3, additional flows.  However, packet loss causes extra
      delays, at least 100 ms, which is the minimal retransmission timer
      for ICE.

   NAT Traversal Failure Rate:  Due to the need to establish more than a
      single flow through the NAT, there is some risk that establishing
      the first flow succeeds but that one or more of the additional
      flows fail.  The risk that this happens is hard to quantify, but
      it should be fairly low as one flow from the same interfaces has
      just been successfully established.  Thus only rare events such as
      NAT resource overload, or selecting particular port numbers that
      are filtered etc, should be reasons for failure.

   Deep Packet Inspection and Multiple Streams:  Firewalls differ in how
      deeply they inspect packets.  There exist some potential that
      deeply inspecting firewalls will have similar legacy issues with
      multiple SSRCs as some stack implementations.

   Additional SSRC keeps the additional media streams within one RTP
   Session and transport flow and does not introduce any additional NAT
   traversal complexities per media stream.  This can be compared with

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   normally one or two additional transport flows per RTP session when
   using multiple RTP sessions.  Additional lower layer transport flows
   will be required, unless an explicit de-multiplexing layer is added
   between RTP and the transport protocol.  A proposal for how to
   multiplex multiple RTP sessions over the same single lower layer
   transport exist in [I-D.westerlund-avtcore-transport-multiplexing].

6.4.3.  Multicast

   Multicast groups provides a powerful semantics for a number of real-
   time applications, especially the ones that desire broadcast-like
   behaviours with one endpoint transmitting to a large number of
   receivers, like in IPTV.  But that same semantics do result in a
   certain number of limitations.

   One limitation is that for any group, sender side adaptation to the
   actual receiver properties causes degradation for all participants to
   what is supported by the receiver with the worst conditions among the
   group participants.  In most cases this is not acceptable.  Instead
   various receiver based solutions are employed to ensure that the
   receivers achieve best possible performance.  By using scalable
   encoding and placing each scalability layer in a different multicast
   group, the receiver can control the amount of traffic it receives.
   To have each scalability layer on a different multicast group, one
   RTP session per multicast group is used.

   RTP can't function correctly if media streams sent over different
   multicast groups where considered part of the same RTP session.
   First of all the different layers needs different SSRCs or the
   sequence number space seen for a receiver of any sub set of the
   layers would have sender side holes.  Thus triggering packet loss
   reactions.  Also any RTCP reporting of such a session would be non
   consistent and making it difficult for the sender to determine the
   sessions actual state.

   Thus it appears easiest and most straightforward to use multiple RTP
   sessions.  In addition, the transport flow considerations in
   multicast are a bit different from unicast.  First of all there is no
   shortage of port space, as each multicast group has its own port

6.4.4.  Multiplexing multiple RTP Session on a Single Transport

   For applications that doesn't need flow based QoS and like to save
   ports and NAT/FW traversal costs and where usage of multiple media
   types in one RTP session is not suitable, there is a proposal for how
   to achieve multiplexing of multiple RTP sessions over the same lower
   layer transport [I-D.westerlund-avtcore-transport-multiplexing].

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   Using such a solution would allow Multiple RTP session without most
   of the perceived downsides of Multiple RTP sessions creating a need
   for additional transport flows.

6.5.  Security Aspects

   When dealing with point-to-point, 2-member RTP sessions only, there
   are few security issues that are relevant to the choice of having one
   RTP session or multiple RTP sessions.  However, there are a few
   aspects of multiparty sessions that might warrant consideration.  For
   general information of possible methods of securing RTP, please
   review RTP Security Options [I-D.ietf-avtcore-rtp-security-options].

6.5.1.  Security Context Scope

   When using SRTP [RFC3711] the security context scope is important and
   can be a necessary differentiation in some applications.  As SRTP's
   crypto suites (so far) is built around symmetric keys, the receiver
   will need to have the same key as the sender.  This results in that
   no one in a multi-party session can be certain that a received packet
   really was sent by the claimed sender or by another party having
   access to the key.  In most cases this is a sufficient security
   property, but there are a few cases where this does create

   The first case is when someone leaves a multi-party session and one
   wants to ensure that the party that left can no longer access the
   media streams.  This requires that everyone re-keys without
   disclosing the keys to the excluded party.

   A second case is when using security as an enforcing mechanism for
   differentiation.  Take for example a scalable layer or a high quality
   simulcast version which only premium users are allowed to access.
   The mechanism preventing a receiver from getting the high quality
   stream can be based on the stream being encrypted with a key that
   user can't access without paying premium, having the key-management
   limit access to the key.

   SRTP [RFC3711] has not special functions for dealing with different
   sets of master keys for different SSRCs.  The key-management
   functions has different capabilities to establish different set of
   keys, normally on a per end-point basis.  DTLS-SRTP [RFC5764] and
   Security Descriptions [RFC4568] for example establish different keys
   for outgoing and incoming traffic from an end-point.  This key usage
   must be written into the cryptographic context, possibly associated
   with different SSRCs.

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6.5.2.  Key Management for Multi-party session

   Performing key-management for multi-party session can be a challenge.
   This section considers some of the issues.

   Multi-party sessions, such as transport translator based sessions and
   multicast sessions, cannot use Security Description [RFC4568] nor
   DTLS-SRTP [RFC5764] without an extension as each endpoint provides
   its set of keys.  In centralised conference, the signalling
   counterpart is a conference server and the media plane unicast
   counterpart (to which DTLS messages would be sent) is the transport
   translator.  Thus an extension like Encrypted Key Transport
   [I-D.ietf-avt-srtp-ekt] is needed or a MIKEY [RFC3830] based solution
   that allows for keying all session participants with the same master

6.5.3.  Complexity Implications

   The usage of security functions can surface complexity implications
   of the choice of multiplexing and topology.  This becomes especially
   evident in RTP topologies having any type of middlebox that processes
   or modifies RTP/RTCP packets.  Where there is very small overhead for
   an RTP translator or mixer to rewrite an SSRC value in the RTP packet
   of an unencrypted session, the cost of doing it when using
   cryptographic security functions is higher.  For example if using
   SRTP [RFC3711], the actual security context and exact crypto key are
   determined by the SSRC field value.  If one changes it, the
   encryption and authentication tag must be performed using another
   key.  Thus changing the SSRC value implies a decryption using the old
   SSRC and its security context followed by an encryption using the new

7.  Arch-Types

   This section discusses some arch-types of how RTP multiplexing can be
   used in applications to achieve certain goals and a summary of their
   implications.  For each arch-type there is discussion of benefits and

7.1.  Single SSRC per Session

   In this arch-type each endpoint in a point-to-point session has only
   a single SSRC, thus the RTP session contains only two SSRCs, one
   local and one remote.  This session can be used both unidirectional,
   i.e.  only a single media stream or bi-directional, i.e.  both
   endpoints have one media stream each.  If the application needs
   additional media flows between the endpoints, they will have to
   establish additional RTP sessions.

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   The Pros:

   1.  This arch-type has great legacy interoperability potential as it
       will not tax any RTP stack implementations.

   2.  The signalling has good possibilities to negotiate and describe
       the exact formats and bit-rates for each media stream, especially
       using today's tools in SDP.

   3.  It does not matter if usage or purpose of the media stream is
       signalled on media stream level or session level as there is no

   4.  It is possible to control security association per RTP session
       with current key-management.

   The Cons:

   a.  The number of required RTP sessions grows directly in proportion
       with the number of media streams, which has the implications:

       *  Linear growth of the amount of NAT/FW state with number of
          media streams.

       *  Increased delay and resource consumption from NAT/FW

       *  Likely larger signalling message and signalling processing
          requirement due to the amount of session related information.

       *  Higher potential for a single media stream to fail during
          transport between the endpoints.

   b.  When the number of RTP sessions grows, the amount of explicit
       state for relating media stream also grows, linearly or possibly
       exponentially, depending on how the application needs to relate
       media streams.

   c.  The port consumption may become a problem for centralised
       services, where the central node's port consumption grows rapidly
       with the number of sessions.

   d.  For applications where the media streams are highly dynamic in
       their usage, i.e.  entering and leaving, the amount of signalling
       can grow high.  Issues arising from the timely establishment of
       additional RTP sessions can also arise.

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   e.  Cross session RTCP requests needs is likely to exist and may
       cause issues.

   f.  If the same SSRC value is reused in multiple RTP sessions rather
       than being randomly chosen, interworking with applications that
       uses another multiplexing structure than this application will
       have issues and require SSRC translation.

   g.  Cannot be used with Any Source Multicast (ASM) as one cannot
       guarantee that only two endpoints participate as packet senders.
       Using SSM, it is possible to restrict to these requirements if no
       RTCP feedback is injected back into the SSM group.

   h.  For most security mechanisms, each RTP session or transport flow
       requires individual key-management and security association
       establishment thus increasing the overhead.

   RTP applications that need to inter-work with legacy RTP
   applications, like VoIP and video conferencing, can potentially
   benefit from this structure.  However, a large number of media
   descriptions in SDP can also run into issues with existing
   implementations.  For any application needing a larger number of
   media flows, the overhead can become very significant.  This
   structure is also not suitable for multi-party sessions, as any given
   media stream from each participant, although having same usage in the
   application, must have its own RTP session.  In addition, the dynamic
   behaviour that can arise in multi-party applications can tax the
   signalling system and make timely media establishment more difficult.

7.2.  Multiple SSRCs of the Same Media Type

   In this arch-type, each RTP session serves only a single media type.
   The RTP session can contain multiple media streams, either from a
   single endpoint or due to multiple endpoints.  This commonly creates
   a low number of RTP sessions, typically only two one for audio and
   one for video with a corresponding need for two listening ports when
   using RTP and RTCP multiplexing.

   The Pros:

   1.  Low number of RTP sessions needed compared to single SSRC case.
       This implies:

       *  Reduced NAT/FW state

       *  Lower NAT/FW Traversal Cost in both processing and delay.

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   2.  Allows for early de-multiplexing in the processing chain in RTP
       applications where all media streams of the same type have the
       same usage in the application.

   3.  Works well with media type de-composite endpoints.

   4.  Enables Flow-based QoS with different prioritisation between
       media types.

   5.  For applications with dynamic usage of media streams, i.e.  they
       come and go frequently, having much of the state associated with
       the RTP session rather than an individual SSRC can avoid the need
       for in-session signalling of meta-information about each SSRC.

   6.  Low overhead for security association establishment.

   The Cons:

   a.  May have some need for cross session RTCP requests for things
       that affect both media types in an asynchronous way.

   b.  Some potential for concern with legacy implementations that does
       not support the RTP specification fully when it comes to handling
       multiple SSRC per endpoint.

   c.  Will not be able to control security association for sets of
       media streams within the same media type with today's key-
       management mechanisms, only between SDP media descriptions.

   For RTP applications where all media streams of the same media type
   share same usage, this structure provides efficiency gains in amount
   of network state used and provides more faith sharing with other
   media flows of the same type.  At the same time, it is still
   maintaining almost all functionalities when it comes to negotiation
   in the signalling of the properties for the individual media type and
   also enabling flow based QoS prioritisation between media types.  It
   handles multi-party session well, independently of multicast or
   centralised transport distribution, as additional sources can
   dynamically enter and leave the session.

7.3.  Multiple Sessions for one Media type

   In this arch-type one goes one step further than in the above
   (Section 7.2) by using multiple RTP sessions also for a single media
   type.  The main reason for going in this direction is that the RTP
   application needs separation of the media streams due to their usage.
   Some typical reasons for going to this arch-type are scalability over
   multicast, simulcast, need for extended QoS prioritisation of media

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   streams due to their usage in the application, or the need for fine
   granular signalling using today's tools.

   The Pros:

   1.  More suitable for Multicast usage where receivers can
       individually select which RTP sessions they want to participate
       in, assuming each RTP session has its own multicast group.

   2.  Detailed indication of the application's usage of the media
       stream, where multiple different usages exist.

   3.  Less need for SSRC specific explicit signalling for each media
       stream and thus reduced need for explicit and timely signalling.

   4.  Enables detailed QoS prioritisation for flow based mechanisms.

   5.  Works well with de-composite endpoints.

   6.  Handles dynamic usage of media streams well.

   7.  For transport translator based multi-party sessions, this
       structure allows for improved control of which type of media
       streams an endpoint receives.

   8.  The scope for who is included in a security association can be
       structured around the different RTP sessions, thus enabling such
       functionality with existing key-management.

   The Cons:

   a.  Increases the amount of RTP sessions compared to Multiple SSRCs
       of the Same Media Type.

   b.  Increased amount of session configuration state.

   c.  May need synchronised cross-session RTCP requests and require
       some consideration due to this.

   d.  For media streams that are part of scalability, simulcast or
       transport robustness it will be needed to bind sources, which
       must support multiple RTP sessions.

   e.  Some potential for concern with legacy implementations that does
       not support the RTP specification fully when it comes to handling
       multiple SSRC per endpoint.

   f.  Higher overhead for security association establishment.

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   g.  If the applications need finer control than on media type level
       over which session participants that are included in different
       sets of security associations, most of today's key-management
       will have difficulties establishing such a session.

   For more complex RTP applications that have several different usages
   for media streams of the same media type and / or uses scalability or
   simulcast, this solution can enable those functions at the cost of
   increased overhead associated with the additional sessions.  This
   type of structure is suitable for more advanced applications as well
   as multicast based applications requiring differentiation to
   different participants.

7.4.  Multiple Media Types in one Session

   This arch-type is to use a single RTP session for multiple different
   media types, like audio and video, and possibly also transport
   robustness mechanisms like FEC or Retransmission.  Each media stream
   will use its own SSRC and a given SSRC value from a particular
   endpoint will never use the SSRC for more than a single media type.

   The Pros:

   1.  Single RTP session which implies:

       *  Minimal NAT/FW state.

       *  Minimal NAT/FW Traversal Cost.

       *  Fate-sharing for all media flows.

   2.  Enables separation of the different media types based on the
       payload types so media type specific endpoint or central
       processing can still be supported despite single session.

   3.  Can handle dynamic allocations of media streams well on an RTP
       level.  Depends on the application's needs for explicit
       indication of the stream usage and how timely that can be

   4.  Minimal overhead for security association establishment.

   The Cons:

   a.  Less suitable for interworking with other applications that uses
       individual RTP sessions per media type or multiple sessions for a
       single media type, due to need of SSRC translation.

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   b.  Negotiation of bandwidth for the different media types is
       currently not possible in SDP.  This requires SDP extensions to
       enable payload or source specific bandwidth.  Likely to be a
       problem due to media type asymmetry in required bandwidth.

   c.  Not suitable for de-composite end-points as it requires higher
       bandwidth and processing.

   d.  Flow based QoS cannot provide separate treatment to some media
       streams compared to other in the single RTP session.

   e.  If there is significant asymmetry between the media streams RTCP
       reporting needs, there are some challenges in configuration and
       usage to avoid wasting RTCP reporting on the media stream that
       does not need that frequent reporting.

   f.  Not suitable for applications where some receivers like to
       receive only a subset of the media streams, especially if
       multicast or transport translator is being used.

   g.  Additional concern with legacy implementations that does not
       support the RTP specification fully when it comes to handling
       multiple SSRC per endpoint, as also multiple simultaneous media
       types needs to be handled.

   h.  If the applications need finer control over which session
       participants that are included in different sets of security
       associations, most key-management will have difficulties
       establishing such a session.

7.5.  Summary

   There are some clear relations between these arch-types.  Both the
   "single SSRC per RTP session" and the "multiple media types in one
   session" are cases which require full explicit signalling of the
   media stream relations.  However, they operate on two different
   levels where the first primarily enables session level binding, and
   the second needs to do it all on SSRC level.  From another
   perspective, the two solutions are the two extreme points when it
   comes to number of RTP sessions required.

   The two other arch-types "Multiple SSRCs of the Same Media Type" and
   "Multiple Sessions for one Media Type" are examples of two other
   cases that first of all allows for some implicit mapping of the role
   or usage of the media streams based on which RTP session they appear
   in.  It thus potentially allows for less signalling and in particular
   reduced need for real-time signalling in dynamic sessions.  They also
   represent points in between the first two when it comes to amount of

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   RTP sessions established, i.e.  representing an attempt to reduce the
   amount of sessions as much as possible without compromising the
   functionality the session provides both on network level and on
   signalling level.

8.  Summary considerations and guidelines

8.1.  Guidelines

   This section contains a number of recommendations for implementors or
   specification writers when it comes to handling multi-stream.

   Do not Require the same SSRC across Sessions:  As discussed in
      Section 6.2.5 there exist drawbacks in using the same SSRC in
      multiple RTP sessions as a mechanism to bind related media streams
      together.  It is instead recommended that a mechanism to
      explicitly signal the relation is used, either in RTP/RTCP or in
      the used signalling mechanism that establishes the RTP session(s).

   Use additional SSRCs additional Media Sources:  In the cases an RTP
      endpoint needs to transmit additional media streams of the same
      media type in the application, with the same processing
      requirements at the network and RTP layers, it is recommended to
      send them as additional SSRCs in the same RTP session.  For
      example a telepresence room where there are three cameras, and
      each camera captures 2 persons sitting at the table, sending each
      camera as its own SSRC within a single RTP session is recommended.

   Use additional RTP sessions for streams with different requirements:
      When media streams have different processing requirements from the
      network or the RTP layer at the endpoints, it is recommended that
      the different types of streams are put in different RTP sessions.
      This includes the case where different participants want different
      subsets of the set of RTP streams.

   When using multiple RTP Sessions use grouping:  When using Multiple
      RTP session solutions, it is recommended to be explicitly group
      the involved RTP sessions when needed using the signalling
      mechanism, for example The Session Description Protocol (SDP)
      Grouping Framework.  [RFC5888], using some appropriate grouping

   RTP/RTCP Extensions May Support Additional SSRCs as well as Multiple RTP sessions:
      When defining an RTP or RTCP extension, the creator needs to
      consider if this extension is applicable to usage with additional
      SSRCs and Multiple RTP sessions.  Any extension intended to be
      generic is recommended to support both.  Applications that are not
      as generally applicable will have to consider if interoperability

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      is better served by defining a single solution or providing both

   Transport Support Extensions:  When defining new RTP/RTCP extensions
      intended for transport support, like the retransmission or FEC
      mechanisms, they are recommended to include support for both
      additional SSRCs and multiple RTP sessions so that application
      developers can choose freely from the set of mechanisms without
      concerning themselves with which of the multiplexing choices a
      particular solution supports.

9.  IANA Considerations

   This document makes no request of IANA.

   Note to RFC Editor: this section may be removed on publication as an

10.  Security Considerations

   There is discussion of the security implications of choosing SSRC vs
   Multiple RTP session in Section 6.5.

11.  References

11.1.  Normative References

   [RFC3550]  Schulzrinne, H., Casner, S., Frederick, R., and V.
              Jacobson, "RTP: A Transport Protocol for Real-Time
              Applications", STD 64, RFC 3550, July 2003.

11.2.  Informative References

   [ALF]      Clark, D. and D. Tennenhouse, "Architectural
              Considerations for a New Generation of Protocols", SIGCOMM
              Symposium on Communications Architectures and Protocols
              (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), pp. 200--208, IEEE Computer
              Communications Review, Vol. 20(4), September 1990.

              Alvestrand, H., "Why RTP Sessions Should Be Content
              Neutral", draft-alvestrand-rtp-sess-neutral-01 (work in
              progress), June 2012.

              Wing, D., McGrew, D., and K. Fischer, "Encrypted Key
              Transport for Secure RTP", draft-ietf-avt-srtp-ekt-03
              (work in progress), October 2011.

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              Begen, A., Perkins, C., Wing, D., and E. Rescorla,
              "Guidelines for Choosing RTP Control Protocol (RTCP)
              Canonical Names (CNAMEs)", draft-ietf-avtcore-6222bis-02
              (work in progress), April 2013.

              Westerlund, M., Perkins, C., and J. Lennox, "Multiple
              Media Types in an RTP Session", draft-ietf-avtcore-multi-
              media-rtp-session-02 (work in progress), February 2013.

              Westerlund, M. and C. Perkins, "Options for Securing RTP
              Sessions", draft-ietf-avtcore-rtp-security-options-02
              (work in progress), February 2013.

              Petit-Huguenin, M. and G. Zorn, "Support for Multiple
              Clock Rates in an RTP Session", draft-ietf-avtext-
              multiple-clock-rates-09 (work in progress), April 2013.

              Holmberg, C., Alvestrand, H., and C. Jennings,
              "Multiplexing Negotiation Using Session Description
              Protocol (SDP) Port Numbers", draft-ietf-mmusic-sdp-
              bundle-negotiation-03 (work in progress), February 2013.

              Westerlund, M., "How to Write an RTP Payload Format",
              draft-ietf-payload-rtp-howto-03 (work in progress), April

              Lennox, J., Westerlund, M., Wu, W., and C. Perkins, "RTP
              Considerations for Endpoints Sending Multiple Media
              Streams", draft-lennox-avtcore-rtp-multi-stream-02 (work
              in progress), February 2013.

              Lennox, J. and H. Schulzrinne, "Mechanisms for Media
              Source Selection in the Session Description Protocol
              (SDP)", draft-lennox-mmusic-sdp-source-selection-05 (work
              in progress), October 2012.


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              Westerlund, M., Burman, B., and F. Jansson, "Multiple
              Synchronization sources (SSRC) in RTP Session Signaling",
              draft-westerlund-avtcore-max-ssrc-02 (work in progress),
              July 2012.

              Westerlund, M. and S. Wenger, "RTP Topologies", draft-
              westerlund-avtcore-rtp-topologies-update-02 (work in
              progress), February 2013.

              Westerlund, M. and C. Perkins, "Multiple RTP Sessions on a
              Single Lower-Layer Transport", draft-westerlund-avtcore-
              transport-multiplexing-05 (work in progress), February

              Westerlund, M., Burman, B., and P. Sandgren, "RTCP SDES
              Item SRCNAME to Label Individual Sources", draft-
              westerlund-avtext-rtcp-sdes-srcname-02 (work in progress),
              October 2012.

   [RFC2198]  Perkins, C., Kouvelas, I., Hodson, O., Hardman, V.,
              Handley, M., Bolot, J., Vega-Garcia, A., and S. Fosse-
              Parisis, "RTP Payload for Redundant Audio Data", RFC 2198,
              September 1997.

   [RFC2205]  Braden, B., Zhang, L., Berson, S., Herzog, S., and S.
              Jamin, "Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) -- Version 1
              Functional Specification", RFC 2205, September 1997.

   [RFC2326]  Schulzrinne, H., Rao, A., and R. Lanphier, "Real Time
              Streaming Protocol (RTSP)", RFC 2326, April 1998.

   [RFC2474]  Nichols, K., Blake, S., Baker, F., and D.L. Black,
              "Definition of the Differentiated Services Field (DS
              Field) in the IPv4 and IPv6 Headers", RFC 2474, December

   [RFC2974]  Handley, M., Perkins, C., and E. Whelan, "Session
              Announcement Protocol", RFC 2974, October 2000.

   [RFC3261]  Rosenberg, J., Schulzrinne, H., Camarillo, G., Johnston,
              A., Peterson, J., Sparks, R., Handley, M., and E.
              Schooler, "SIP: Session Initiation Protocol", RFC 3261,
              June 2002.

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   [RFC3264]  Rosenberg, J. and H. Schulzrinne, "An Offer/Answer Model
              with Session Description Protocol (SDP)", RFC 3264, June

   [RFC3389]  Zopf, R., "Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) Payload for
              Comfort Noise (CN)", RFC 3389, September 2002.

   [RFC3551]  Schulzrinne, H. and S. Casner, "RTP Profile for Audio and
              Video Conferences with Minimal Control", STD 65, RFC 3551,
              July 2003.

   [RFC3711]  Baugher, M., McGrew, D., Naslund, M., Carrara, E., and K.
              Norrman, "The Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP)",
              RFC 3711, March 2004.

   [RFC3830]  Arkko, J., Carrara, E., Lindholm, F., Naslund, M., and K.
              Norrman, "MIKEY: Multimedia Internet KEYing", RFC 3830,
              August 2004.

   [RFC4103]  Hellstrom, G. and P. Jones, "RTP Payload for Text
              Conversation", RFC 4103, June 2005.

   [RFC4566]  Handley, M., Jacobson, V., and C. Perkins, "SDP: Session
              Description Protocol", RFC 4566, July 2006.

   [RFC4568]  Andreasen, F., Baugher, M., and D. Wing, "Session
              Description Protocol (SDP) Security Descriptions for Media
              Streams", RFC 4568, July 2006.

   [RFC4588]  Rey, J., Leon, D., Miyazaki, A., Varsa, V., and R.
              Hakenberg, "RTP Retransmission Payload Format", RFC 4588,
              July 2006.

   [RFC5104]  Wenger, S., Chandra, U., Westerlund, M., and B. Burman,
              "Codec Control Messages in the RTP Audio-Visual Profile
              with Feedback (AVPF)", RFC 5104, February 2008.

   [RFC5109]  Li, A., "RTP Payload Format for Generic Forward Error
              Correction", RFC 5109, December 2007.

   [RFC5117]  Westerlund, M. and S. Wenger, "RTP Topologies", RFC 5117,
              January 2008.

   [RFC5576]  Lennox, J., Ott, J., and T. Schierl, "Source-Specific
              Media Attributes in the Session Description Protocol
              (SDP)", RFC 5576, June 2009.

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   [RFC5583]  Schierl, T. and S. Wenger, "Signaling Media Decoding
              Dependency in the Session Description Protocol (SDP)", RFC
              5583, July 2009.

   [RFC5761]  Perkins, C. and M. Westerlund, "Multiplexing RTP Data and
              Control Packets on a Single Port", RFC 5761, April 2010.

   [RFC5764]  McGrew, D. and E. Rescorla, "Datagram Transport Layer
              Security (DTLS) Extension to Establish Keys for the Secure
              Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP)", RFC 5764, May 2010.

   [RFC5888]  Camarillo, G. and H. Schulzrinne, "The Session Description
              Protocol (SDP) Grouping Framework", RFC 5888, June 2010.

   [RFC6190]  Wenger, S., Wang, Y.-K., Schierl, T., and A.
              Eleftheriadis, "RTP Payload Format for Scalable Video
              Coding", RFC 6190, May 2011.

   [RFC6222]  Begen, A., Perkins, C., and D. Wing, "Guidelines for
              Choosing RTP Control Protocol (RTCP) Canonical Names
              (CNAMEs)", RFC 6222, April 2011.

   [RFC6285]  Ver Steeg, B., Begen, A., Van Caenegem, T., and Z. Vax,
              "Unicast-Based Rapid Acquisition of Multicast RTP
              Sessions", RFC 6285, June 2011.

   [RFC6465]  Ivov, E., Marocco, E., and J. Lennox, "A Real-time
              Transport Protocol (RTP) Header Extension for Mixer-to-
              Client Audio Level Indication", RFC 6465, December 2011.

Appendix A.  Dismissing Payload Type Multiplexing

   This section documents a number of reasons why using the payload type
   as a multiplexing point for most things related to multiple streams
   is unsuitable.  If one attempts to use Payload type multiplexing
   beyond it's defined usage, that has well known negative effects on
   RTP.  To use Payload type as the single discriminator for multiple
   streams implies that all the different media streams are being sent
   with the same SSRC, thus using the same timestamp and sequence number
   space.  This has many effects:

   1.   Putting restraint on RTP timestamp rate for the multiplexed
        media.  For example, media streams that use different RTP
        timestamp rates cannot be combined, as the timestamp values need
        to be consistent across all multiplexed media frames.  Thus
        streams are forced to use the same rate.  When this is not
        possible, Payload Type multiplexing cannot be used.

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   2.   Many RTP payload formats may fragment a media object over
        multiple packets, like parts of a video frame.  These payload
        formats need to determine the order of the fragments to
        correctly decode them.  Thus it is important to ensure that all
        fragments related to a frame or a similar media object are
        transmitted in sequence and without interruptions within the
        object.  This can relatively simple be solved on the sender side
        by ensuring that the fragments of each media stream are sent in

   3.   Some media formats require uninterrupted sequence number space
        between media parts.  These are media formats where any missing
        RTP sequence number will result in decoding failure or invoking
        of a repair mechanism within a single media context.  The text/
        T140 payload format [RFC4103] is an example of such a format.
        These formats will need a sequence numbering abstraction
        function between RTP and the individual media stream before
        being used with Payload Type multiplexing.

   4.   Sending multiple streams in the same sequence number space makes
        it impossible to determine which Payload Type and thus which
        stream a packet loss relates to.

   5.   If RTP Retransmission [RFC4588] is used and there is a loss, it
        is possible to ask for the missing packet(s) by SSRC and
        sequence number, not by Payload Type.  If only some of the
        Payload Type multiplexed streams are of interest, there is no
        way of telling which missing packet(s) belong to the interesting
        stream(s) and all lost packets must be requested, wasting

   6.   The current RTCP feedback mechanisms are built around providing
        feedback on media streams based on stream ID (SSRC), packet
        (sequence numbers) and time interval (RTP Timestamps).  There is
        almost never a field to indicate which Payload Type is reported,
        so sending feedback for a specific media stream is difficult
        without extending existing RTCP reporting.

   7.   The current RTCP media control messages [RFC5104] specification
        is oriented around controlling particular media flows, i.e.
        requests are done addressing a particular SSRC.  Such mechanisms
        would need to be redefined to support Payload Type multiplexing.

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   8.   The number of payload types are inherently limited.
        Accordingly, using Payload Type multiplexing limits the number
        of streams that can be multiplexed and does not scale.  This
        limitation is exacerbated if one uses solutions like RTP and
        RTCP multiplexing [RFC5761] where a number of payload types are
        blocked due to the overlap between RTP and RTCP.

   9.   At times, there is a need to group multiplexed streams and this
        is currently possible for RTP Sessions and for SSRC, but there
        is no defined way to group Payload Types.

   10.  It is currently not possible to signal bandwidth requirements
        per media stream when using Payload Type Multiplexing.

   11.  Most existing SDP media level attributes cannot be applied on a
        per Payload Type level and would require re-definition in that

   12.  A legacy endpoint that doesn't understand the indication that
        different RTP payload types are different media streams may be
        slightly confused by the large amount of possibly overlapping or
        identically defined RTP Payload Types.

Appendix B.  Proposals for Future Work

   The above discussion and guidelines indicates that a small set of
   extension mechanisms could greatly improve the situation when it
   comes to using multiple streams independently of Multiple RTP session
   or Additional SSRC.  These extensions are:

   Media Source Identification:  A Media source identification that can
      be used to bind together media streams that are related to the
      same media source.  A proposal
      [I-D.westerlund-avtext-rtcp-sdes-srcname] exist for a new SDES
      item SRCNAME that also can be used with the a=ssrc SDP attribute
      to provide signalling layer binding information.

   SSRC limitations within RTP sessions:  By providing a signalling
      solution that allows the signalling peers to explicitly express
      both support and limitations on how many simultaneous media
      streams an endpoint can handle within a given RTP Session.  That
      ensures that usage of Additional SSRC occurs when supported and
      without overloading an endpoint.  This extension is proposed in

Appendix C.  RTP Specification Clarifications

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   This section describes a number of clarifications to the RTP
   specifications that are likely necessary for aligned behaviour when
   RTP sessions contain more SSRCs than one local and one remote.

   All of the below proposals are under consideration in

C.1.  RTCP Reporting from all SSRCs

   When one has multiple SSRC in an RTP node, all these SSRC must send
   some RTP or RTCP packet as long as the SSRC exist.  It is not
   sufficient that only one SSRC in the node sends report blocks on the
   incoming RTP streams; any SSRC that intends to remain in the session
   must send some packets to avoid timing out according to the rules in
   RFC 3550 section 6.3.5.

   It has been hypothesised that a third party monitor may be confused
   by not necessarily being able to determine that all these SSRC are in
   fact co-located and originate from the same stack instance; if this
   hypothesis is true, this may argue for having all the sources send
   full reception reports, even though they are reporting the same
   packet delivery.

   The contrary argument is that such double reporting may confuse the
   third party monitor even more by making it seem that utilisation of
   the last-hop link to the recipient is (number of SSRCs) times higher
   than what it actually is.

C.2.  RTCP Self-reporting

   For any RTP node that sends more than one SSRC, there is the question
   if SSRC1 needs to report its reception of SSRC2 and vice versa.  The
   reason that they in fact need to report on all other local streams as
   being received is report consistency.  The hypothetical third party
   monitor that considers the full matrix of media streams and all known
   SSRC reports on these media streams would detect a gap in the reports
   which could be a transport issue unless identified as in fact being
   sources from the same node.

C.3.  Combined RTCP Packets

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   When a node contains multiple SSRCs, it is questionable if an RTCP
   compound packet can only contain RTCP packets from a single SSRC or
   if multiple SSRCs can include their packets in a joint compound
   packet.  The high level question is a matter for any receiver
   processing on what to expect.  In addition to that question there is
   the issue of how to use the RTCP timer rules in these cases, as the
   existing rules are focused on determining when a single SSRC can

Appendix D.  Signalling considerations

   Signalling is not an architectural consideration for RTP itself, so
   this discussion has been moved to an appendix.  However, it is hugely
   important for anyone building complete applications, so it is
   deserving of discussion.

   The issues raised here need to be addressed in the WGs that deal with
   signalling; they cannot be addressed by tweaking, extending or
   profiling RTP.

D.1.  Signalling Aspects

   There exist various signalling solutions for establishing RTP
   sessions.  Many are SDP [RFC4566] based, however SDP functionality is
   also dependent on the signalling protocols carrying the SDP.  Where
   RTSP [RFC2326] and SAP [RFC2974] both use SDP in a declarative
   fashion, while SIP [RFC3261] uses SDP with the additional definition
   of Offer/Answer [RFC3264].  The impact on signalling and especially
   SDP needs to be considered as it can greatly affect how to deploy a
   certain multiplexing point choice.

D.1.1.  Session Oriented Properties

   One aspect of the existing signalling is that it is focused around
   sessions, or at least in the case of SDP the media description.
   There are a number of things that are signalled on a session level/
   media description but those are not necessarily strictly bound to an
   RTP session and could be of interest to signal specifically for a
   particular media stream (SSRC) within the session.  The following
   properties have been identified as being potentially useful to signal
   not only on RTP session level:

   o  Bitrate/Bandwidth exist today only at aggregate or a common any
      media stream limit, unless either codec-specific bandwidth
      limiting or RTCP signalling using TMMBR is used.

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   o  Which SSRC that will use which RTP Payload Types (this will be
      visible from the first media packet, but is sometimes useful to
      know before packet arrival).

   Some of these issues are clearly SDP's problem rather than RTP
   limitations.  However, if the aim is to deploy an solution using
   additional SSRCs that contains several sets of media streams with
   different properties (encoding/packetization parameter, bit-rate,
   etc), putting each set in a different RTP session would directly
   enable negotiation of the parameters for each set.  If insisting on
   Additional SSRC only, a number of signalling extensions are needed to
   clarify that there are multiple sets of media streams with different
   properties and that they shall in fact be kept different, since a
   single set will not satisfy the application's requirements.

   For some parameters, such as resolution and framerate, a SSRC-linked
   mechanism has been proposed:

D.1.2.  SDP Prevents Multiple Media Types

   SDP chose to use the m= line both to delineate an RTP session and to
   specify the top level of the MIME media type; audio, video, text,
   image, application.  This media type is used as the top-level media
   type for identifying the actual payload format bound to a particular
   payload type using the rtpmap attribute.  This binding has to be
   loosened in order to use SDP to describe RTP sessions containing
   multiple MIME top level types.

   There is an accepted WG item in the MMUSIC WG to define how multiple
   media lines describe a single underlying transport
   [I-D.ietf-mmusic-sdp-bundle-negotiation] and thus it becomes possible
   in SDP to define one RTP session with media types having different
   MIME top level types.

D.1.3.  Signalling Media Stream Usage

   Media streams being transported in RTP has some particular usage in
   an RTP application.  This usage of the media stream is in many
   applications so far implicitly signalled.  For example, an
   application may choose to take all incoming audio RTP streams, mix
   them and play them out.  However, in more advanced applications that
   use multiple media streams there will be more than a single usage or
   purpose among the set of media streams being sent or received.  RTP
   applications will need to signal this usage somehow.  The signalling
   used will have to identify the media streams affected by their RTP-
   level identifiers, which means that they have to be identified either
   by their session or by their SSRC + session.

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   In some applications, the receiver cannot utilise the media stream at
   all before it has received the signalling message describing the
   media stream and its usage.  In other applications, there exists a
   default handling that is appropriate.

   If all media streams in an RTP session are to be treated in the same
   way, identifying the session is enough.  If SSRCs in a session are to
   be treated differently, signalling must identify both the session and
   the SSRC.

   If this signalling affects how any RTP central node, like an RTP
   mixer or translator that selects, mixes or processes streams, treats
   the streams, the node will also need to receive the same signalling
   to know how to treat media streams with different usage in the right

Appendix E.  Changes from -01 to -02

   o  Added Harald Alvestrand as co-author.

   o  Removed unused term "Media aggregate".

   o  Added term "RTP session group", noted that CNAMEs are assumed to
      bind across the sessions of an RTP session group, and used it when
      appropriate (TODO)

   o  Moved discussion of signalling aspects to appendix

   o  Removed all suggestion that PT can be a multiplexing point

   o  Normalised spelling of "endpoint" to follow RFC 3550 and not use a

   o  Added CNAME to definition list.

   o  Added term "Media Sink" for the thing that is identified by a
      listen-only SSRC.

   o  Added term "RTP source" for the thing that transmits one media
      stream, separating it from "Media Source".  [[OUTSTANDING: Whether
      to use "RTP Source" or "Media Sender" here]]

   o  Rewrote section on distributed endpoint, noting that this, like
      any endpoint that wants a subset of a set of RTP streams, needs
      multiple RTP sessions.

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   o  Removed all substantive references to the undefined term "purpose"
      from the main body of the document when it referred to the purpose
      of an RTP stream.

   o  Moved the summary section of section 6 to the guidelines section
      that it most closely supports.

Authors' Addresses

   Magnus Westerlund
   Farogatan 6
   SE-164 80 Kista

   Phone: +46 10 714 82 87

   Bo Burman
   Farogatan 6
   SE-164 80 Kista

   Phone: +46 10 714 13 11

   Colin Perkins
   University of Glasgow
   School of Computing Science
   Glasgow  G12 8QQ
   United Kingdom


   Harald Tveit Alvestrand
   Kungsbron 2
   Stockholm  11122


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