"Talk" is only texting

For the longest time I’ve been too embarrassed to post my issue :confused:. However, my frustration is at a level now where I can no long remain silent:

** How does one activate video and audio in this app? I’m only able to communicate via IM texts!*

I’m running a self-hosted instance of NC 16.0.1 on Fedora 29. During tests, I and the other person in the conversation used Firefox 67.0.4

You have to install and configure a turn server

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Well now, this proves where, once again, this unfortunate combined Spreed/Talk category is a major mess. It really would make things much easier for everybody if the devs could finally extricate the two from each other. This mangled mix, sometimes containing conflicting instructions, sows utter confusion.

At https://github.com/nextcloud/spreed, we read:

Nextcloud Talk is really easy to install. You just need to enable the app from the Nextcloud App Store and everything will work out of the box

It continues with:

There are some scenarios (users behind strict firewalls / symmetric NATs) where a TURN server is needed.

I’m reasonably certain that neither of these scenarios are applicable to my installation.

Or, am I completely missing the boat here? Are those people who experience the full “Talk” functionality really only able to do so because they’ve installed a separate TURN server?

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With just a couple of caveats, yes, unfortunately every internet-facing installation needs not just STUN but also TURN.

Strict Firewalls
This would presumably be firewalls/routers that don’t enable UPnP hole-punching. Since that’s enabled on most consumer routers by default, you’re probably right that it doesn’t apply to your case. It’s worth checking for if any of your users are on a business network, though.

Symmetric NAT
If you are running an internet-facing installation that isn’t exclusively IPv6, this most likely applies to you. Regardless of whether your server is behind NAT, nearly all of your users will be. WebRTC is supposed to let the clients connect directly to each-other, but with NAT in front of each user, that’s pretty tough to do.

See this excellent how-to on the forums for more information. If you’re using the Nextcloud VM, there’s also the script they mention in the README you linked.

Thanks, @mactrent . I appreciate your input.

Indeed, the excellent how-to is excellent. But only for those who need to set-up TURN & STUN. I’m still not convinced that I must.

In spite of the documentation stating that this “works out of the box” I suppose that eventually I may have to take your word for this, even though it currently seems dubious in light of what the devs have haphazardly written. What would make me much more confident in your advice is if the author of “works out of the box” can chime in and tell us exactly what “working out of the box” means.

To me, “works out of the box” suggests that one doesn’t have to create another box to get this working! Does this not mean the same to you?

It works out of the box if you want texting, or if you want video chat between people that aren’t behind NAT, or are on the same internal network. It’s potentially a single-box solution, unlike services that require some sort of video mixing server-side, but you’re right that it’s a quite misleading statement that it “works out of the box”, since it doesn’t for most uses.

I don’t know who the author of that statement is, but various people have filed issues and posted comments that agree with me that TURN is quite often required. A quick search turns up these:

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@Hevii_Guy
It works out of the box within local networks, but if your Nextcloud Talk server is used throughout www, a TURN server is the only way to assure that video chat works with every participant from any location (including e.g. mobile internet etc).

If there is only a small number of potential participants with a fixed location (and network setup), then you can simply try if the default STUN is sufficient in all these cases, but I tried many different cases and indeed in every single case I tested, where a NAT was between the peers, TURN was required.

Thanks, @MichaIng & @mactrent. You’ve convinced me. I’ll go through the process of setting up a TURN server later this morning.

Setting up the server is much more daunting than I had anticipated. The instructions posted by various people (particularly @mactrent) are much appreciated. However, most seem to be disjointed and “works in progress” which make them very difficult to follow. I’d be happy to help clean things up if I can eventually resolve my particular problem. However, for now, the headaches and frustration simply aren’t worth the pain; I’ll continue to rely on Signal.

I’m having a similar problem.

It works when I’m using a laptop (built-in camera), but not on a desktop (Windows or Linux).
And it works on others sites that require camera, like chatroulette for example.

The webcam drivers are installed on Windows 10.

I’m out of ideas.