RTP: A Transport Protocol for Real-Time Applications

This RFC 3550 was published in 2003.


This memorandum describes RTP, the real-time transport protocol.
RTP provides end-to-end network transport functions suitable for applications transmitting real-time data, such as audio, video or simulation data, over multicast or unicast network services.
RTP does not address resource reservation and does not guarantee quality-of-service for real-time services.
The data transport is augmented by a control protocol (RTCP) to allow monitoring of the data delivery in a manner scalable to large multicast networks, and to provide minimal control and identification functionality.
RTP and RTCP are designed to be independent of the underlying transport and network layers.
The protocol supports the use of RTP-level translators and mixers.

RFC 3550 introduction

This memorandum specifies the real-time transport protocol (RTP), which provides end-to-end delivery services for data with real-time characteristics, such as interactive audio and video.
Those services include payload type identification, sequence numbering, timestamping and delivery monitoring.
Applications typically run RTP on top of UDP to make use of its multiplexing and checksum services; both protocols contribute parts of the transport protocol functionality.
However, RTP may be used with other suitable underlying network or transport protocols (see Section 11).
RTP supports data transfer to multiple destinations using multicast distribution if provided by the underlying network.

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