Network Emulation Framework


This documentation explain the implementation details of Network Emulation Framework. Framework's public APIs are located in:


Network Emulation Framework provides an ability to emulate network behavior between different clients, including a WebRTC PeerConnection client. To configure network behavior, the user can choose different options:

  • Use predefined implementation that can be configured with parameters such as packet loss, bandwidth, delay, etc.
  • Custom implementation

Conceptually the framework provides the ability to define multiple endpoints and routes used to connect them. All network related entities are created and managed by single factory class webrtc::NetworkEmulationManager which is implemented by webrtc::test::NetworkEmulationManagerImpl and can work in two modes:

  • Real time
  • Simulated time

The manager has a dedicated task queue which pipes all packets through all network routes from senders to receivers. This task queue behaviour is determined by webrtc::TimeController, which is based on either in real time or simulated time mode.

The network operates on IP level and supports only UDP for now.


The framework contains the following public abstractions:

  • webrtc::NetworkBehaviorInterface - defines how emulated network should behave. It operates on packets metadata level and is responsible for telling which packet at which time have to be delivered to the next receiver.

  • webrtc::EmulatedIpPacket - represents a single packet that can be sent or received via emulated network. It has source and destination address and payload to transfer.

  • webrtc::EmulatedNetworkReceiverInterface - generic packet receiver interface.

  • webrtc::EmulatedEndpoint - primary user facing abstraction of the framework. It represents a network interface on client's machine. It has its own unique IP address and can be used to send and receive packets.

    EmulatedEndpoint implements EmulatedNetworkReceiverInterface to receive packets from the network and provides an API to send packets to the network and API to bind other EmulatedNetworkReceiverInterface which will be able to receive packets from the endpoint. EmulatedEndpoint interface has the only implementation: webrtc::test::EmulatedEndpointImpl.

  • webrtc::EmulatedNetworkNode - represents single network in the real world, like a 3G network between peers, or Wi-Fi for one peer and LTE for another. Each EmulatedNetworkNode is a single direction connetion and to form bidirectional connection between endpoints two nodes should be used. Multiple nodes can be joined into chain emulating a network path from one peer to another.

    In public API this class is forward declared and fully accessible only by the framework implementation.

    Internally consist of two parts: LinkEmulation, which is responsible for behavior of current EmulatedNetworkNode and NetworkRouterNode which is responsible for routing packets to the next node or to the endpoint.

  • webrtc::EmulatedRoute - represents single route from one network interface on one device to another network interface on another device.

    In public API this class is forward declared and fully accessible only by the framework implementation.

    It contains start and end endpoint and ordered list of EmulatedNetworkNode which forms the single directional route between those endpoints.

The framework has also the following private abstractions:

  • webrtc::test::NetworkRouterNode - an EmulatedNetworkReceiverInterface that can route incoming packets to the next receiver based on internal IP routing table.

  • webrtc::test::LinkEmulation - an EmulatedNetworkReceiverInterface that can emulate network leg behavior via webrtc::NetworkBehaviorInterface interface.

For integrating with webrtc::PeerConnection there are helper abstractions:

  • webrtc::EmulatedNetworkManagerInterface which is implemented by webrtc::test::EmulatedNetworkManager and provides rtc::Thread and rtc::NetworkManager for WebRTC to use as network thread for PeerConnection and for cricket::BasicPortAllocator.

    Implementation represent framework endpoints as rtc::Network to WebRTC.


Let‘s take a look on how framework’s abstractions are connected to each other.

When the user wants to setup emulated network, first of all, they should create an instance of NetworkEmulationManager using webrtc::CreateNetworkEmulationManager(...) API. Then user should use a manager to create at least one EmulatedEndpoint for each client. After endpoints, the user should create required EmulatedNetworkNodes and with help of manager chain them into EmulatedRoutes conecting desired endpoints.

Here is a visual overview of the emulated network architecture:


When network is hooked into PeerConnection it is done through network thread and NetworkManager. In the network thread the custom rtc::SocketServer is provided: webrtc::test::FakeNetworkSocketServer. This custom socket server will construct custom sockets (webrtc::test::FakeNetworkSocket), which internally bind themselves to the required endpoint. All packets processing inside socket have to be done on the PeerConnection‘s network thread. When packet is going from PeerConnection to the network it’s already comming from the network thread and when it's comming from the emulated network switch from the Network Emulation Framework internal task queue and PeerConnection‘s network thread is done inside socket’s OnPacketReceived(...) method.

Network Injection