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Peer-to-peer vs SFU meetings: bandwidth and architecture
Peer-to-peer vs SFU meetings: bandwidth and architecture
By default, your call is P2P if 4 participants or fewer, and then it switches to SFU
Nina avatar
Written by Nina
Updated over a week ago

Your Daily calls switch from peer-to-peer (P2P) to SFU, for larger meetings:

  • With 4 or fewer in your call, calls are peer-to-peer (P2P)

  • When more than 4 people join a call, your call switches to SFU.

We are big fans of P2P. Setting up the P2P connections between every person does require bandwidth. So for a larger meeting, your call switches to SFU mode.

Here's what that means for switching, and bandwidth. If you are looking for call security and privacy information, visit our Security section.

Peer to peer (P2P)

From when we first launched, we built on a peer-to-peer architecture where we could. Please read our blog post by Kwin, our CEO and lead dev, which walks through how a P2P call is set up, and how calls with more than 4 participants are switched to SFU mode.  

We also are glad to send you our more technical white paper. Please email


Bandwidth is a key issue on a video call — you are exchanging live video. That can be tough. It's even more demanding than, say, watching a movie, which can be buffered. How much bandwidth depends on how many people are in your call. Here's how we've built Daily, to help you get the best experience possible:

  • When 4 or fewer are in your call, your call is P2P, and 200 kbps per connection is required, for a p2p call.

While we like P2P, the bandwidth requirements get onerous with more people on a call. So we switch you to the cloud:

  • After the switch from P2P to cloud, a Daily client only needs 200kb/s upstream in total, no matter how many participants are in the meeting, and needs about 75 kb/s per participant downstream for each participant that is sending video.

  • So in a 10-participant meeting, you need about 200kb/s upstream and about 750kb/s downstream.

  • In a 50-participant meeting with everyone sending video, you'd need about 3.5Mb/s.

Need more help? Email anytime. Chat with us M–F, 9am–5pm PST.

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