Carbonio VideoServer

The Carbonio VideoServer is a WebRTC stream aggregator that improves Carbonio Chats‘s performance by merging and decoding/re-encoding all streams in a Meeting.

While the default WebRTC creates one incoming and one outgoing stream per meeting participant, with the Carbonio VideoServer, each client will only have one aggregated inbound stream and one aggregated outbound stream. This applies for both video and audio.

Example

In our simple scenario, 5 people are participating in a meeting.

  • Without Carbonio VideoServer: each client generates 4x outgoing video/audio streams and receives 4 incoming video/audio streams

  • With Carbonio VideoServer: each client generates 1 outgoing video/audio stream and receives 1 incoming video/audio stream

In summary:

Carbonio VideoServer

Incoming Connections

Outgoing Connections

No

4 (1 from each other client)

4 (1 to each other client)

Yes

1

1

By default, the Carbonio VideoServer uses conservative Codecs (VP8 and Opus) to ensure the broadest compatibility, but more codecs can be enabled. It also splits the Webcam and Screen Sharing streams and reserves the same bandwidth for both.

A properly set up Carbonio VideoServer will supersede the need of a TURN server, provided that all clients can reach the Carbonio VideoServer’s public IP and that UDP traffic is not filtered.

Requirements

The Carbonio VideoServer must be installed on a dedicated server and has the following requirements:

System

  • Minimum 4 CPU cores, suggested at least 8 to handle more than 100 users at the same time

  • 1024mb of ram + 1mb of ram for each connected user

Hint

The Carbonio VideoServer mainly scales on the CPU, so more CPU cores and power means more connected users.

Network

  • A public IP address. This is either the IP address of Carbonio VideoServer, if it is directly accessible from remote clients on the Internet, or—​if there is a NAT-ting device in front of it (e.g., a firewall or router)–the IP address with which the Carbonio VideoServer is reachable.

  • A publicly resolvable FQDN

  • With the default settings, 200kb/s (0.2 mb/s) bandwidth for each connected user

  • WebSockets

Ports

  • The mailbox server will establish a WebSocket on port 8188 (TCP) to communicate with the Carbonio VideoServer

  • Clients will use a random UDP port between 20000 and 40000

Warning

The Carbonio VideoServer installer requires the fully qualified hostname to be correctly configured in /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname. Failing to comply will likely cause the sample commands provided at the end of the installation to be incorrect.

Carbonio VideoServer Installation

The installation process of Carbonio VideoServer has been moved as part of the main installation, please refer to the corresponding Step.

Architecture and Service Control

A Carbonio Chats meeting is hosted on one mailbox, which also keeps the state of the meeting. It is a responsibility of that mailbox to communicate with a videoserver instance to start a meeting and controlling it.

Therefore, each mailbox has its own connection pool, which can be controlled via the zextras_team_full_cli. The commands to control the service are straightforward:

  • Start the connection pool:

    # carbonio chats doStartService team-videoserver-pool.
    
  • Shutdown the connection pool:

    # carbonio chats doStopService team-videoserver-pool
    
  • Check a connection pool status. This command reports information about the node on which it is executed.

    # carbonio chats clusterstatus
    
         isFullySynced                                       true
         servers
         meeting_servers
             <ip_videoserver>:8188
                 id                                           123
                 hostname                                     <ip_videoserver>:8188
                 status                                       online
                 last_failure
                 local_meetings_hosted                        2
    

    The output of this command contains this information:

    • Should the remote Carbonio VideoServer be offline or unreachable, the status will be offline instead of online.

    • last failure shows an error message (e.g., Unauthorized request (wrong or missing secret/token) or a generic Runtime Exception) if the last connection attempt to the videoserver was unsuccessful. The message is cleared when the connection is successful.

    • local_meetings_hosted reports the number of meetings hosted on the current mailbox.

Carbonio VideoServer Scaling

Multiple Carbonio VideoServer can be run on the same infrastructure.

To add a new Carbonio VideoServer to the configuration, run the Carbonio VideoServer installer on a new server and follow the instructions - the installer will provide the required commands (carbonio chats video-server add with the appropriate parameters) needed to add the server to the infrastructure once packages are installed.

To remove a Carbonio VideoServer from the configuration, use the carbonio chats video-server remove command from any mailbox server - this will remove the appropriate entries from the Zextras Config (manual package removal on the video server is required).

Warning

When using multiple video servers, meetings are instanced on any of the available instances.

CLI Commands

The CLI command to manage Carbonio VideoServer installations is :command`carbonio team` with the sub-command video-server and the parameters add and remove.

Quick reference:

# carbonio chats video-server add *videoserver.example.com* [param VALUE[,VALUE]]

# carbonio chats video-server remove *videoserver.example.com* [param VALUE[,VALUE]]

Bandwidth and Codecs

Video Bandwidth

The administrator can set the webcam stream quality and the screenshare stream quality specifing the relative bitrate in Kbps. The values must be at least 100 Kbps and can be increased as desired.

Higher values mean more quality but more used bandwidth.

  • carbonio config global set attribute teamChatWebcamBitrateCap value 200: is the command for the webcam stream quality/bandwidth

  • carbonio config global set attribute teamChatScreenBitrateCap value 200: is the command for the screenshare stream qualitybandwidth

Tip

By default both the webcam bandwidth and the screen sharing bandwidth are set to 200 Kbps.

Video Codecs

By default, the VP8 video codec is used. This is to ensure the best compatibility, as this codec is available in all supported browsers, but other codecs can be enabled:

  • AV1: carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecAV1 value true

  • H264: carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecH264 value true

  • H265: carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecH265 value true

  • VP8: carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecVP8 value true

  • VP9: carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecVP9 value true

Only one codec can be enabled at the time, so before enabling a new codec remember to disable the previous one using the same command as the one in the list above but substituting value true with value false.

E.g. to enable the H264 codec run:

carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecVP8 value false

carbonio config global set attribute teamChatVideoCodecH264 value true

Audio Codec

The audio codec used by the Carbonio VideoServer is Opus. No other codecs are supported, as Opus is currently the only reliable one available across all supported browsers.

Advanced settings

The following settings influence the audio experience.

Audio Quality

The administrator can set the Opus audio quality by setting the sampling rate (in Hz) in the teamChatAudioSamplingRate global attribute.

The available values are:

  • 8000 → represents the narrowband bandwidth

  • 12000 → represents the mediumband bandwidth

  • 16000 → represents the wideband bandwidth (default)

  • 24000 → represents the superwideband bandwidth

  • 48000 → represents the fullband bandwidth

Audio Sensitivity

The administrator can optimize the audio sensitivity with these two commands:

carbonio config global set attribute teamChatAudioLevelSensitivity value 25

carbonio config global set attribute teamChatAudioSamplingSensitivityInterval value 2

The audio level sensitivity defines how much the audio should be normalized between all the audio sources. The value has a range between 0 and 100 where 0 represents the audio muted and 100 the maximum audio level (too loud).

By default the value is set to 25.

The audio sampling sensitivity interval defines the interval in seconds used to compute the audio sensitivity level. By default the value is set to 2 seconds, this means that the video server normalizes the audio level considering the audio sources of the last 2 seconds.

The value should be at least 0.

Recording a Video Meeting

The owner or moderator of a room can record any meeting and make it available for people to watch it later. A meeting can be recorded only once, meaning that an ongoing recording will be unique for that meeting. In case a recording is interrupted, it can be restarted at a later point. Every user will be notified of the ongoing recording, while any moderator in the room can stop it, even if it was started by another moderator, and save it to a file or to the moderator’s Carbonio Files.

This functionality is provided by a specific package, called carbonio-videoserver-recorder, that must be installed together with carbonio-videoserver. On a Multi-Server, this means that the package must be installed on each node on which carbonio-videoserver is installed.

Note

All the instructions below must be executed on every node on which carbonio-videoserver is installed, unless differently specified.

# apt install carbonio-videoserver-recorder
# yum install carbonio-videoserver-recorder

The package installs a service that needs to be associated with the Carbonio VideoServer instance, a task that needs to be executed from the CLI, using a command that differ depending if you already installed and configured the Carbonio VideoServer or not.

Carbonio VideoServer already installed

If you already installed Carbonio VideoServer, execute this command:

# carbonio chats video-server update-servlet example.com 8188 8090

Here, replace example.com with the domain name or IP on which the Carbonio VideoServer is installed, 8188 the Carbonio VideoServer port, and 8090 (which is the default value) with the port that will be used only for recording. The value of the servlet port must match the one defined in file /etc/carbonio/videoserver-recorder/recordingEnv.

Carbonio VideoServer not yet installed

If you did not yet install Carbonio VideoServer, you can execute the following command, which configures at the same time both the Carbonio VideoServer and the recording servlet.

# carbonio chats video-server add example.com port 8188 servlet_port 8090 secret A_SECRET_PASSWORD

Replace example.com with the actual domain name or IP, 8188 and 8090 with the ports associated with the Carbonio VideoServer and the recorder, respectively, and A_SECRET_PASSWORD with a robust password.

To complete the setup, execute the command

# carbonio config set global teamVideoServerRecordingEnabled true