webrtcsink and webrtcsrc

All-batteries included GStreamer WebRTC producer and consumer, that try their best to do The Right Thing™.

It also provides a flexible and all-purposes WebRTC signalling server (gst-webrtc-signalling-server) and a Javascript API (gstwebrtc-api) to produce and consume compatible WebRTC streams from a web browser.

Use case

The webrtcbin element in GStreamer is extremely flexible and powerful, but using it can be a difficult exercise. When all you want to do is serve a fixed set of streams to any number of consumers, webrtcsink (which wraps webrtcbin internally) can be a useful alternative.


webrtcsink implements the following features:

  • Built-in signaller: when using the default signalling server, this element will perform signalling without requiring application interaction. This makes it usable directly from gst-launch.

  • Application-provided signalling: webrtcsink can be instantiated by an application with a custom signaller. That signaller must be a GObject, and must implement the Signallable interface as defined here. The default signaller can be used as an example.

    An example project is also available to use as a boilerplate for implementing and using a custom signaller.

  • Sandboxed consumers: when a consumer is added, its encoder / payloader / webrtcbin elements run in a separately managed pipeline. This provides a certain level of sandboxing, as opposed to having those elements running inside the element itself.

    It is important to note that at this moment, encoding is not shared between consumers. While this is not on the roadmap at the moment, nothing in the design prevents implementing this optimization.

  • Congestion control: the element leverages transport-wide congestion control feedback messages in order to adapt the bitrate of individual consumers' video encoders to the available bandwidth.

  • Configuration: the level of user control over the element is slowly expanding, consult gst-inspect-1.0 for more information on the available properties and signals.

  • Packet loss mitigation: webrtcsink now supports sending protection packets for Forward Error Correction, modulating the amount as a function of the available bandwidth, and can honor retransmission requests. Both features can be disabled via properties.

It is important to note that full control over the individual elements used by webrtcsink is not on the roadmap, as it will act as a black box in that respect, for example webrtcsink wants to reserve control over the bitrate for congestion control.

A signal is now available however for the application to provide the initial configuration for the encoders webrtcsink instantiates.

If more granular control is required, applications should use webrtcbin directly, webrtcsink will focus on trying to just do the right thing, although it might expose more interfaces to guide and tune the heuristics it employs.


Make sure to install the development packages for some codec libraries beforehand, such as libx264, libvpx and libopusenc, exact names depend on your distribution.

cargo build


Open three terminals. In the first one, run the signalling server:

WEBRTCSINK_SIGNALLING_SERVER_LOG=debug cargo run --bin gst-webrtc-signalling-server

In the second one, run a web browser client (can produce and consume streams):

cd gstwebrtc-api
npm install
npm start

In the third one, run a webrtcsink producer from a GStreamer pipeline:

gst-launch-1.0 webrtcsink name=ws meta="meta,name=gst-stream" videotestsrc ! ws. audiotestsrc ! ws.

The webrtcsink produced stream will appear in the former web page (automatically opened at https://localhost:9090) under the name "gst-stream", if you click on it you should see a test video stream and hear a test tone.

You can also produce WebRTC streams from the web browser and consume them with a GStreamer pipeline. Click on the "Start Capture" button and copy the "Client ID" value.

Then open a new terminal and run:

gst-launch-1.0 playbin uri=gstwebrtc://[Client ID]

Replacing the "peer-id" value with the previously copied "Client ID" value. You should see the playbin element opening a window and showing you the content produced by the web page.


The webrtcsink element itself can be configured through its properties, see gst-inspect-1.0 webrtcsink for more information about that, in addition the default signaller also exposes properties for configuring it, in particular setting the signalling server address, those properties can be accessed through the gst::ChildProxy interface, for example with gst-launch:

gst-launch-1.0 webrtcsink signaller::uri="ws://" ..

Enable 'navigation' a.k.a user interactivity with the content

webrtcsink implements the GstNavigation interface which allows interacting with the content, for example move with your mouse, entering keys with the keyboard, etc... On top of that a WebRTCDataChannel based protocol has been implemented and can be activated with the enable-data-channel-navigation=true property. The gstwebrtc-api implements the protocol and you can easily test this feature using the wpesrc for example.

As an example, the following pipeline allows you to navigate the GStreamer documentation inside the video running within your web browser (at if you followed previous steps in that readme):

gst-launch-1.0 wpesrc location=https://gstreamer.freedesktop.org/documentation/ ! queue ! webrtcsink enable-data-channel-navigation=true meta="meta,name=web-stream"

Testing congestion control

For the purpose of testing congestion in a reproducible manner, a [simple tool] has been used, it has been used on Linux exclusively but it is also documented as usable on MacOS too. Client web browser has to be launched on a separate machine on the LAN to test for congestion, although specific configurations may allow to run it on the same machine.

Testing procedure was:

  • identify the server machine network interface (e.g. with ifconfig on Linux)

  • identify the client machine IP address (e.g. with ifconfig on Linux)

  • start the various services as explained in the Usage section (use GST_DEBUG=webrtcsink:7 to get detailed logs about congestion control)

  • start playback in the client browser

  • Run a comcast command on the server machine, for instance:

    $HOME/go/bin/comcast --device=$SERVER_INTERFACE --target-bw 3000 --target-addr=$CLIENT_IP --target-port=1:65535 --target-proto=udp
  • Observe the bitrate sharply decreasing, playback should slow down briefly then catch back up

  • Remove the bandwidth limitation, and observe the bitrate eventually increasing back to a maximum:

    $HOME/go/bin/comcast --device=$SERVER_INTERFACE --stop



Implemented interfaces

Factory details

Authors: – Mathieu Duponchelle


Rank – none

Plugin – rswebrtc

Package – gst-plugin-webrtc

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