Adobe's New Version of Flash Adds Peer Assisted Networking

Updated: January 07, 2011

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 now allows clients to share media and communicate within a network without maintaining a connection to every other client within that group. Unlike traditional streaming or first-generation RTMFP, the new RTMFP grouping in Flash 10.1 reduces the load on the service publisher by supporting application-level multicast, rather than sourcing media from the publishing peer or a centralized server cluster. Previous models required the addition of extra Flash Media Servers in order to scale, but Flash 10.1 offers application-level multicast to increase scalability. It also includes support for Direct Routing, which allows developers to create communication applications and send data messages to specific peers. Flash 10.1 also lets the client application define groups by functionality and access, and includes features like low latency, which is vital for VoIP, end-to-end peering capability, security and scalability. RTMFP is UDP based, always encrypted, and can traverse NATs and firewalls.

Flash 10.1 requires “Stratus,” a hosted peer introduction service, to perform peer-assisted networking. According to Adobe,

“When using Stratus, all data is encrypted and sent directly from client to client without touching a server. In comparison, [with] applications using Flash Media Server (and RTMP), data always flows through the server consuming both upload and download bandwidth from the server and clients. Stratus is a preview service that has limitations including no custom server programming and no remote shared object support”

Flash 10.1 represents a considerable step forward in the evolution of Adobe's media and communication delivery. According to Adobe, “Interactive applications like webcam chat, voice over IP, text chat can be built into solutions like live help, dating sites, company communication, marketing or advertising can all be created using RTMFP.”

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