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RTP vs RTSP | difference between RTP and RTSP protocol

This page compares RTP vs RTSP and mentions difference between RTP and RTSP protocol types. RTP stands for Real Time Transport Protocol and RTSP stands for Real Time Streaming Protocol. RTCP stands for Real Time Transmission Control Protocol. All three protocols are used for multimedia traffic over the internet.

RTP | Real Time Transport Protocol

• It is used for transport of real time data, audio and video.
• Applications : Media on demand, internet telephony
• RTP takes care of multimedia data exchange where as RTCP takes care of control part. RTCP is used to obtain feedback control information periodically.
• RTP runs over UDP/IP.
• RTP and its associated RTCP use consecutive transport layer ports over UDP.

The video/audio to be transmitted are digitized using specific coded. The digitized data are assembled in blocks. These blocks are encapsulated in RTP packets with RTP header and are carried by UDP and IP packets after suitable header insertion at respective layers. RTP does not reserve bandwidth amd does not guarantee QoS. RTCP handles QoS and synchronization of different media streams. Refer RFC standard for RTP header format.

Protocol Stack for RTP and RTSP

RTCP | Real Time Transmission Control Protocol

• It is control protocol which works in conjunction with RTP protocol.
• In each RTP session, all the participants transmit RTCP packets to all the members in same RTP session using multicast mode.
• RFC 3550 defines RTCP packet types which are used to carry control information. These types include Receiver report (RR), Sender report (SR), SDES (Source Description Items), BYE (to indicate end of participation) and APP (Application Specific functions).
• RTCP packets are transmitted periodically among participants. RTCP packets contain sender report and receiver report which announces statistics such as packets sent, packets lost and inter-arrival jitter.

RTSP | Real Time Streaming Protocol

• It is a client server multimedia presentation protocol.
• It is defined in RFC 2326. It has functionalities similar to DVD player.
• It is application level protocol which enables control over data delivery with real time properties over IP.
• It is designed to work in conjunction with RTP and RSVP to provide complete streaming service over internet.
• It was developed jointly by RealNetworks, Netscape Communications and Columbia University.

RTSP and RTP Architecture

Tabular difference between RTP and RTSP

Following table summarizes major difference between RTP and RTSP protocols.

Parameters RTP RTSP
Full Name Real Time Transport Protocol Real Time Streaming Protocol
Standard reference RFC 1889, RFC 3550, ITU H.225.0 RFC 2326
Function It is used for delivery of real time data, streaming audio and video. It is a control protocol which initiates and directs delivery of streaming multimedia from media servers. It does not deliver data.
Support from other protocols RTCP is used by RTP as control protocol to help in synchronization, QoS management and other services. It uses RTP for data transportation i.e. RTSP is used to control media transmission over RTP.
Transport protocol Both RTP and RTCP uses UDP. RTSP uses RTP (over UDP) for stream and TCP for control.
Port numbers RTP/RTCP applications use UDP port numbers in the unprivileged range from 1024 to 65535. All RTP sent to an even numbered UDP port, 2p where as all RTCP sent to UDP port 2p+1. It uses 554 as default port.


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