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Measuring performance

LiveKit can scale to many simulteneous rooms by running a distributed setup across multiple nodes. However, each room must fit within a single node. For this reason, benchmarks below will be focused on stressing the number of concurrent users in a room.

With WebRTC SFUs, the main proxy for how much work the server is doing is total fowarded bitrate.

Total forwarded bitrate = per track bitrate * tracks published * number of subscribers

For example, for a room with 6 publishers, each publishing one video stream at 600kbps, and 100 subscribers, total forwarded bitrate would be ~360Mbps.

We have a couple of different tools to help you understand the limits of your deployment.

CLI load tester

livekit-load-tester comes as part of livekit-cli repo. It uses our Go SDK to act as either a publisher or a subscriber in a room.

For publishing, it sends packets simulating a particular bitrate. This makes it a good approximation for audio streams, but less so for video. With real video tracks, the publisher responds to downstream feedback such as PLI packets and would then produce I frames.

As a subscriber, it will compute packet loss and produce NACKs, but does not produce PLI.

When benchmarking with the load tester, be sure to run it on a machine with plenty of resources, and that the sysctl parameters have been tuned.

Headless chrome

A closer approximation to real world traffic, especially for video, would be to run headless Chrome instances to join the room. We've created a Chrometester for this purpose. This docker image will start Chromemium in headless mode, and use our react example app to join a test room.

Chrometester can join only as a subscriber, since it doesn't have a camera or microphone to produce real data as a publisher.


We've ran benchmarks for a few different scenarios to give a general understanding of performance. All benchmarks are ran with the server running on a 16-core, compute optimized instance on Google Cloud. ( c2-standard-16)

Audio only

This simulates an audio only experience with various number of speakers and listeners. It's performed using CLI load tester using a bitrate of 20kbps.

PubsSubsTracksLatencyPacket loss

Video room

This simulates a large room with a limited number of publishers and many viewers. We started 4 publishers (using each publishing audio and video (960x540) with simulcast enabled. We then spun up instances of Chrometester on Kubernetes, joining the same room as subscribers. At around 440 subscribers, we started experiencing video artifacts caused by high packet loss. When that happened, we observed the server instance had maxed out on CPU usage.