The difference Between WebRTC and SIP

As hype surrounding Web RTC continues to grow, many have begun to notice similarities between web-based real time communications (WebRTC) and session initiation protocol (SIP). Both offer collaboration and communication simply and over the internet. So, just what is the difference?

SIP works best when used simply: telephone calls, instant messaging and some video and audio are the main territories of SIP.

But with WebRTC, not only do those same technologies come into play—file transfers, audio and video—but they come in on web browsers, meaning that the intermediary step of softphones is no longer required.

Sounds great, of course, but WebRTC still needs a little help in terms of establishing connectivity in order to be fully realized as a communication medium, and that means WebRTC needs a protocol, and SIP has just the protocol in mind.

Basically, it’s like the square and rectangle concept: all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.

SIP can exist without WebRTC, but WebRTC needs the help of a protocol to fully operate. It doesn’t specifically need SIP for the protocol—truly it can operate on at least some level without a protocol—but bringing SIP into the equation makes WebRTC better.

Think of it like a peanut butter cup; peanut butter can stand on its own, as can the chocolate coating it. But when the two are brought together, it makes a new and different whole that’s better—to many users—for the combination.

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