What is Stream Multiplexing


Stream Multiplexing (stream muxing) is a way of sending multiple streams of data over one communication link. It combines multiple signals into one unified signal so it can be transported ‘over the wires’, then it is demulitiplexed (demuxed) so it can be output and used by separate applications. This is done to share a single TCP connection using unique port numbers to distinguish streams, between the multiple proceeses (such as kademlia and gossipsub) used by applications (such as IPFS) to make connection and transmission more efficient.

With muxing, libp2p applications may have many separate streams of communication between peers, as well as have multiple concurrent streams open at the same time with a peer. Stream multiplexing allows us to initialize and use the same transport connection across the lifetime of our interaction with a peer. With muxing, we also only need to deal with NAT traversal once to be able to open as many streams as we need, since they will all share the same underlying transport connection. Applications can enable support for multiple multiplexers, which will allow you to fall back to a widely-supported multiplexer if a preferred choice is not supported by a remote peer.