RTP is the Internet-standard protocol for the transport of real-time data, including audio and video. It can be used for media-on-demand as well as interactive services such as Internet telephony. RTP consists of a data and a control part. The latter is called RTCP.
The data part of RTP is a thin protocol providing support for applications with real-time properties such as continuous media (e.g., audio and video), including timing reconstruction, loss detection, security and content identification.
RTCP provides support for real-time conferencing of groups of any size within an internet. This support includes source identification and support for gateways like audio and video bridges as well as multicast-to-unicast translators. It offers quality-of-service feedback from receivers to the multicast group as well as support for the synchronization of different media streams.
While UDP/IP is its initial target networking environment, efforts have been made to make RTP transport-independent so that it could be used, say, over CLNP, IPX or other protocols. RTP is currently also in experimental use directly over AAL5/ATM. RTP does not address the issue of resource reservation or quality of service control; instead, it relies on resource reservation protocols such as RSVP.
Other applications, such as real-time control and distributed simulation, are also targets.