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High quality / low latency VOIP server with umurmur/Mumble on OpenBSD

Written by Solène, on 04 July 2019.
Tags: #openbsd #gaming

Comments on Fediverse/Mastodon


I HATE Discord.

Discord users keep telling about their so called discord server, which is not dedicated to them at all. And Discord has a very bad quality and a lot of voice distorsion.

Why not run your very own mumble server with high voice quality and low latency and privacy respect? This is very easy to setup on OpenBSD!

Mumble is an open source voip client, it has a client named Mumble (available on various operating system) and at least Android, the server part is murmur but there is a lightweight server named umurmur. People authentication is done through certificate generated locally and automatically accepted on a server, and the certificate get associated with a nickname. Nobody can pick the same nickname as another person if it’s not the same certificate.

How to install?

# pkg_add umurmur
# rcctl enable umurmurd
# cp /usr/local/share/examples/umurmur/umurmur.conf /etc/umurmur/

We can start it as this, you may want to tweak the configuration file to add a password to your server, or set an admin password, create static channels, change ports etc….

You may want to increase the max_bandwidth value to increase audio quality, or choose the right value to fit your bandwidth. Using umurmur on a DSL line is fine up to 1 or 2 remote people. The daemon uses very little CPU and very little memory. Umurmur is meant to be used on a router!

# rcctl start umurmurd

If you have a restrictive firewall (I hope so), you will have to open the ports TCP and UDP 64738.

How to connect to it?

The client is named Mumble and is packaged under OpenBSD, we need to install it:

# pkg_add mumble

The first time you run it, you will have a configuration wizard that will take only a couple of minutes.

Don’t forget to set the sysctl kern.audio.record to 1 to enable audio recording, as OpenBSD did disable audio input by default a few releases ago.

You will be able to choose a push-to-talk mode or voice level to activate and quality level.

Once the configuration wizard is done, you will have another wizard for generating the certificate. I recommend choosing “Automatically create a certificate”, then validate and it’s done.

You will be prompted for a server, click on “Add new”, enter the name server so you can recognized it easily, type its hostname / IP, its port and your nickname and click OK.

Congratulations, you are now using your own private VOIP server, for real!