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Group chat available in Linphone Beta versions!

After several months of intensive engineering work, the whole Linphone’s team is very pleased to announce that Beta versions for Linphone iOS and Android are now available to test this exciting function !

Enjoy Linphone's brand-new group chat function!

Recent years have been marked by the explosion of popular, easy-to-use messaging apps, correlated with the gradual decline of standard text messaging. Today, the group chat functionality is widely available on most popular Instant Messaging apps - and more generally in many VoIP apps - especially in the closed source world.

As a free SIP communication application, Linphone aims at providing a free alternative for multi-participants text communications.

Join the Beta

Everyone from developers to product managers is welcome to install our beta releases for our IOS and Android applications and test the group chat features:

  • create text sessions with multiple participants
  • send and receive messages from multiple devices
  • name other admins among participants, from the « group info » view (the creator is admin by default)
  • add or remove participants (only admins can invite or remove other participants)
  • see message delivery status for the group messages that you sent
  • share images among group members
  • see notifications of group events (users joining or leaving, new admins…)

Technical background

In the SIP world, group chat is handled as a particular case of realtime group communications. The Rich Communication Services (RCS) specification promoted by GSMA endorses many conferencing RFCs to specify how group functions shall be implemented.

From the beginning, Linphone follows IETF's standards, for both media and signaling. On the signaling part, Linphone does implement many SIP-based RFCs for call establishment, presence and Instant Messaging. 
For the group chat implementation, we decided to keep working with SIP and followed related IETF and GSMA/RCS recommandations, while always keeping in mind to avoid complex developments not bringing essential functionalities.

The resulting implementation can be defined as an "Adhoc pager mode conferencing" with the idea of Long Term Conference, leveraging on SIMPLE IM for message transport instead of MSRP.

To know more about how Linphone makes use of SIP RFCs to achieve text-based group communications, you can see the live presentation that Simon Morlat, the original author of Linphone, held at the FOSDEM this year.

Known limitations

As the name implies, these Beta versions are not as stable and comprehensive as the official release will be. Do not hesitate to provide us with debug information and thus help us fix issues we did not discover yet through our regular test processes.
In addition, please note that group chat features have only been deployed for linphone.org SIP service for the moment.

We are currently aware of the following limitations:

  • no tablets support yet
  • group messages delivery status set to « displayed », even if only one recipient has seen the message
  • Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE RFC5245) not available
  • not available on X86 Android devices
  • video quality issues when calling former Linphone's versions.

If you want to participate in our beta test for Linphone-iOS or Linphone-android, please follow our procedure.

 
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