Adobe Stratus, Client to Client Flash Communication (P2P) with RTMFP

Adobe stratus sounds pretty interesting for flash client to client communication much like peer to peer networks for small numbers of people.

Want to build a video chat application, multi-player games or voice-over-ip applications for the Flash Player or AIR without worrying about setting up a server infrastructure? Stratus (which we showcased at MAX) is your new best friend.

Stratus is a beta hosted rendezvous service that helps establish communication between Flash Player or AIR clients. Once two clients are connected to Stratus, they can send data directly client to client. The APIs in Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR 1.5 allow for point-to-point communication between a small number of subscribers. Publishers have to send data to all subscribing clients, so the number of subscribers is limited to the available bandwidth on the publisher end.

This must be one of the first Real-Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP) protocol usage programs from Adobe?  Basically this protocol is adding better UDP or broadcast support which allows for larger sets of users and is common in large scale real-time games.  Here it seems to be more of a peer to peer usage rather than authoratative approach (maybe flash media server will have large user set support with this) which limits to about 15 users or the lowest latency in the group with anything close to real-time syncing. Stratus seems like more of a matchmaking middle man to help with nat punchthrough and then it relies on peer to peer.  But more fun in store checking it out.

P2P like this can’t really be used for games due to cheating unless one client is the independent server but this works great for small file sharing apps, whiteboards, chats, watching videos at the same time, etc.

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  • Joey van Dijk

    Maybe it is just now easy to use with P2P kind of applications focused on media, but like one of the inventors said at MAX Europe 2008 it is just the beginning of what is possible. Adobe has enough ideas, but time will tell which has the biggest advantage for media publishers or users like us.

    I think that putting RTFMP away like sharing/chat applications is too simple at this moment. Simply because I think RTFMP can already be used for big technical problems, like loading assets of a multiplayer game (let the magic / game info on the servers, but share images/maps/videos to authorised users) to minimize the load on your webservers!
    The beautiful thing about it is that you can program to let connections be refused (on client/publisher-side) and that the whole protocol is totally secured (128bits) real-time! Of course this will have some overhead, but because of the use of UDP over TCP this is still not a big problem.

    So indeed time will tell but just let’s see if we will some innovative uses of RTFMP in the near future!

    Yup…a Flash enthousiast, that’s me!


  • Zeev Halevi

    I wonder how it will deal with firewalls.
    RTMP is great to build very impressive prototypes but when you want to deploy a service for “the masses”, a small but significant percentage of your audience will fail to use it because of firewalls blocking it, even when using RTMPT on port 80.
    So until Adobe provide means to pass firewalls that match that of Skype, this service will not gain popularity.

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  • drawk


    I totally agree RTMFP is probably the coolest thing in flash networking since the MX releases brought all the tools used in the first run of Flash Media Server when it was Flash Communication Server which subsequently brought the video ownage of flash formats.

    This instance “stratus” is a bit simplistic and limited to P2P but the potential uses in an authoratative server mode are very intruiging. Many things are moving more UDP based for larger user support and RTMFP is great to have that capability. When it is used on the server there will be the possibility for much larger multiuser applications and games. I was only summing this effort up as limited in it’s p2p nature but that is not a limitation of the protocol.

    Good stuff coming from Adobe in this and their research that is a pretty quick pipeline when you look at things like Seam Carving in Photoshop already.

  • shaniSyed

    I think this was the best Article

  • Seantron

    I made a little presentation to get people familiar with FMS started with Stratus. You are totally right about the limitations of Stratus. I’ve actually found that after 5 peers connected. . . it gets really messy (because of the need to set up so many NetStreams to each peer).