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libdatachannel - C/C++ WebRTC network library

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libdatachannel is a standalone implementation of WebRTC Data Channels, WebRTC Media Transport, and WebSockets in C++17 with C bindings for POSIX platforms (including GNU/Linux, Android, FreeBSD, Apple macOS and iOS) and Microsoft Windows.

The library aims at being both straightforward and lightweight with minimal external dependencies, to enable direct connectivity between native applications and web browsers without the pain of importing Google's bloated reference library. The interface consists of somewhat simplified versions of the JavaScript WebRTC and WebSocket APIs present in browsers, in order to ease the design of cross-environment applications.

It can be compiled with multiple backends:

  • The security layer can be provided through OpenSSL or GnuTLS.
  • The connectivity for WebRTC can be provided through my ad-hoc ICE library libjuice as submodule or through libnice.

The WebRTC stack is fully compatible with browsers like Firefox and Chromium, see Compatibility below. Additionally, code using Data Channels and WebSockets from the library may be compiled as is to WebAssembly for browsers with datachannel-wasm.

libdatachannel is licensed under LGPLv2, see LICENSE.

libdatachannel is available on AUR and vcpkg.


Only GnuTLS or OpenSSL are necessary. Optionally, libnice can be selected as an alternative ICE backend instead of libjuice.



See for building instructions.


See examples for complete usage examples with signaling server (under GPLv2).

Additionnaly, you might want to have a look at the C API documentation.

Signal a PeerConnection

#include "rtc/rtc.hpp"
rtc::Configuration config;

rtc::PeerConnection pc(config);

pc.onLocalDescription([](rtc::Description sdp) {
    // Send the SDP to the remote peer

pc.onLocalCandidate([](rtc::Candidate candidate) {
    // Send the candidate to the remote peer
    MY_SEND_CANDIDATE_TO_REMOTE(candidate.candidate(), candidate.mid());

MY_ON_RECV_DESCRIPTION_FROM_REMOTE([&pc](std::string sdp) {

MY_ON_RECV_CANDIDATE_FROM_REMOTE([&pc](std::string candidate, std::string mid) {
    pc.addRemoteCandidate(rtc::Candidate(candidate, mid));

Observe the PeerConnection state

pc.onStateChange([](rtc::PeerConnection::State state) {
    std::cout << "State: " << state << std::endl;

pc.onGatheringStateChange([](rtc::PeerConnection::GatheringState state) {
    std::cout << "Gathering state: " << state << std::endl;

Create a DataChannel

auto dc = pc.createDataChannel("test");

dc->onOpen([]() {
    std::cout << "Open" << std::endl;

dc->onMessage([](std::variant<rtc::binary, rtc::string> message) {
    if (std::holds_alternative<rtc::string>(message)) {
        std::cout << "Received: " << get<rtc::string>(message) << std::endl;

Receive a DataChannel

std::shared_ptr<rtc::DataChannel> dc;
pc.onDataChannel([&dc](std::shared_ptr<rtc::DataChannel> incoming) {
    dc = incoming;
    dc->send("Hello world!");

Open a WebSocket

rtc::WebSocket ws;

ws.onOpen([]() {
    std::cout << "WebSocket open" << std::endl;

ws.onMessage([](std::variant<rtc::binary, rtc::string> message) {
    if (std::holds_alternative<rtc::string>(message)) {
        std::cout << "WebSocket received: " << std::get<rtc::string>(message) << endl;


The library implements the following communication protocols:

WebRTC Data Channels and Media Transport

The library implements WebRTC Peer Connections with both Data Channels and Media Transport. Media transport is optional and can be disabled at compile time.

Protocol stack:


Note only SDP BUNDLE mode is supported for media multiplexing (RFC8843). The behavior is equivalent to the JSEP bundle-only policy: the library always negociates one unique network component, where SRTP media streams are multiplexed with SRTCP control packets (RFC5761) and SCTP/DTLS data traffic (RFC8261).


WebSocket is the protocol of choice for WebRTC signaling. The support is optional and can be disabled at compile time.

Protocol stack:

  • WebSocket protocol (RFC6455), client and server side
  • HTTP over TLS (RFC2818)


  • IPv6 and IPv4/IPv6 dual-stack support
  • Keepalive with ping/pong

External resources


Thanks to Streamr for sponsoring this work!