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A standalone WebRTC and ORTC data channel implementation.
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A standalone WebRTC and ORTC data channel implementation.


The following list represents all features that are planned for RAWRTCDC. Features with a check mark are already implemented.


  1. Who should use this?

    If you have built a WebRTC stack and...

    • you want data channel support but you don't have it so far, or
    • you don't want to maintain your own data channel implementation, or
    • your data channel implementation is lacking some features,

    then you should consider integrating this library. 🎉

  2. But I also need ICE/DTLS!

    Check out RAWRTC.

  3. How does it work?

    Basically, you pass in SCTP packets and you get out SCTP packets. Put that on top of your DTLS transport and you're ready to go.

    See the Getting Started section on how to set it up.

  4. Can I use it in an event loop?


  5. Can I use it in a threaded environment?

    Yes. Just make sure you're always calling it from the same thread the event loop is running on, or either lock/unlock the event loop thread or use the message queues provided by re to exchange data with the event loop thread. However, it is important that you only run one re event loop in one thread.

  6. Does it create threads?

    No. However, there is an issue with the usrsctp dependency which will hopefully be resolved soon.

  7. Is this a custom SCTP implementation?

    No, it uses usrsctp underneath but handles all the nitty-gritty details for you.


The following tools are required:

  • git
  • ninja >= 1.5
  • meson >= 0.46.0
  • Optional: pkg-config (pkgconf for newer FreeBSD versions)


cd <path-to-rawrtcdc>
mkdir build
meson build
cd build

Getting Started

Now that you've built the library, let's get started integrating this library into your stack.


Before doing anything, initialise the library:

#include <rawrtcc.h>
#include <rawrtcdc.h>


enum rawrtc_code error = rawrtcdc_init(init_re, timer_handler);
if (error) {
    your_log_function("Initialisation failed: %s", rawrtc_code_to_str(error));

In the following code examples, the error handling will be omitted. But you of course still need to handle it in your code.

Unless you're initialising re yourselves, the init_re parameter to rawrtcdc_init should be true. The second is a pointer to a timer handler.

The timer handler function works in the following way (see comments inline):

enum rawrtc_code timer_handler(bool const on, uint_fast16_t const interval) {
    if (on) {
        // Start a timer that calls `rawrtcdc_timer_tick` every `interval`
        // milliseconds.
    } else {
        // Stop the timer.

    // Indicate success. In case something fails for you, you can also
    // backpropagate an appropriate error code here.

Create an SCTP transport

Before you can create data channels, you will need to create an SCTP transport:

// Create SCTP transport context
struct rawrtc_sctp_transport_context context = {
    .role_getter = dtls_role_getter,
    .state_getter = dtls_transport_state_getter,
    .outbound_handler = sctp_transport_outbound_handler,
    .detach_handler = sctp_transport_detach_handler,
    .destroyed_handler = sctp_transport_destroy,
    .trace_packets = false,
    .arg = your_reference,

// Create SCTP transport
struct rawrtc_sctp_transport transport;
error = rawrtc_sctp_transport_create_from_external(
    &transport, &context, local_sctp_port,
    data_channel_handler, state_change_handler, arg);
if (error) {
    your_log_function("Creating SCTP transport failed: %s",
    goto out;

// Attach your DTLS transport here

After the transport has been created successfully, transport will point to some dynamically allocated memory which is reference counted (and the reference counter value will be 1 after the function returned). If you want to increase the reference, call mem_ref(transport). If you need to decrease the reference, call mem_deref(transport). Once the counter value reaches 0, it will run a destructor function and free the memory. However, you should normally stop the transport with rawrtc_sctp_transport_stop in a more graceful manner before doing so. We're pointing this out here since basically everything in this library that allocates dynamic memory works that way.

Furthermore, from this moment on your DTLS transport should feed SCTP packets into the SCTP transport by calling rawrtc_sctp_transport_feed_inbound(transport, buffer, ecn_bits). Check the header file for details on the parameters.

You're probably already wondering what the SCTP transport context is all about. Basically, it contains pointers to some handler functions you will need to define. The only exception is the arg field which let's you pass an arbitrary pointer to the various handler functions. So, let's go through them:

enum rawrtc_code dtls_role_getter(
    enum rawrtc_external_dtls_role* const rolep, void* const arg) {
    // Set the local role of your DTLS transport
    *rolep = your_dtls_transport.local_role;

enum rawrtc_code dtls_transport_state_getter(
    enum rawrtc_external_dtls_transport_state* const statep, void* const arg) {
    // Set the state of your DTLS transport
    *statep = your_dtls_transport.state;

These DTLS handler functions were fairly straightforward. Now to the SCTP handler that hands back outbound SCTP packets. These packets will need to be fed into the DTLS transport as application data and sent to the other peer:

enum rawrtc_code sctp_transport_outbound_handler(
    struct mbuf* const buffer, uint8_t const tos, uint8_t const set_df,
    void* const arg) {
    // Feed the data to the DTLS transport
    your_dtls_transport_send(buffer, tos, set_df);

The struct buffer and its functions are documented here. As a rule of thumb, you should call mbuf_buf(buffer) to get a pointer to the current position and mbuf_get_left(buffer) to get the amount of bytes left in the buffer. Be aware buffer in this case is not dynamically allocated and shall not be referenced. This has been done for optimisation purposes. Check the header file for further details on the various parameters passed to this handler function.

The following handler is merely a way to let you know that you should not feed any data to the SCTP transport anymore:

void sctp_transport_detach_handler(void* const arg) {
    // Detach from DTLS transport
    your_dtls_transport.stop_feeding_data = true;

The last handler function we need to talk about is a way to tell you that the SCTP transport's reference count has been decreased to 0 and its about to be free'd. Be aware that you may not call any SCTP transport or data channel functions once this handler is being called.

void sctp_transport_destroy(void* const arg) {
    // Your cleanup code here

The trace_packets attribute allows you to enable writing SCTP packets to a trace file. The name of that file is randomly generated and will be placed in the current working directory.

That's all for the SCTP transport.

Create a Data Channel

The data channel API is very similar to the one used in WebRTC and ORTC, so we will not go into detail for them. Here's a quick example on how to create a data channel with the following properties:

  • label: meow
  • protocol:
  • reliable
  • unordered
  • pre-negotiated
  • stream id is fixed to 42
// Create data channel parameters
struct rawrtc_data_channel_parameters parameters;
error = rawrtc_data_channel_parameters_create(
    "", true, 42);

// Create the data channel, using the transport and the parameters
struct rawrtc_data_channel channel;
error = rawrtc_data_channel_create(
    &channel, transport, parameters,
    open_handler, buffered_amount_low_handler, error_handler,
    close_handler, message_handler, pointer_passed_to_handlers);


Instead of adding handler functions on creation, you can also pass NULL and register handler functions later.

For further explanation on the various parameters, check the header files.

Once the SCTP transport goes into the connected state, the created channels will open. If you see this happening, this is a good indication that you've set everything up correctly. 👏


Once your code exits, you should call rawrtcdc_close(close_re). If the close_re parameter is true, re will be closed as well.

Any Questions?

Draw The Rest Of The Owl Meme

Do you feel like this now? If yes, please join our gitter chat, so we can help you and work out what's missing in this little tutorial.


When creating a pull request, it is recommended to run to apply a consistent code style.

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