It is easy to find yourself stuck with slower internet speeds, despite the high prices you pay for the service. This situation is especially true for people who have severed their traditional TV connection and reverted to online streaming. Subscription services like HBO Now, Amazon Prime and HULU enable you to catch the latest entertaining titles on the web for a meager monthly cost. However, one of the major prerequisites of watching TV this way is a sturdy internet connection. Bottom line: if the network speed falls, the video quality drops. Therefore, it is important for you to make sure you are getting enough internet speeds from your ISP and that your Wi-Fi setup is working flawlessly. This post will give you an overview of the ideal broadband speeds for streaming and the tricks you can easily do to spice things up.
Understanding Broadband Speeds
Internet speed is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and is defined as the rate at which data packets travel from the ISP’s node to your home. Small-scale activities like checking emails or browsing for information require hardly any data, and so the speed requirement, in this case, is the bare minimum. On the other hand, when you try to stream a 4k quality video online, it necessitates a decent broadband speed to support such a heavy load of data. The following table will show you the basic bit rate needed in correlation to the different streaming types.
|Content to Stream||Minimum Internet Speed Required (One User)|
|SD Quality Music||128 Kbps|
|SD Quality Video (360p)||1 – 3 Mbps|
|HD Quality Video (1080p)||5 – 10 Mbps|
|Ultra HD/4K Quality Video||18 – 25 Mbps|
Network providers a decade ago would have arched under pressure if faced with such high demands for online streaming. Today’s households need at least 50 Mbps speeds to watch their favorite shows on the web. As signified in the aforementioned table, Netflix recommends 25 Mbps active download speeds to stream a 4K video, whereas Amazon Prime requires 15 Mbps to power its highest-quality TV shows. Fortunately, given the advancement in network technology, internet service providers of today have introduced extremely fast broadband speeds to satiate the growing appetites of consumers. You can take advantage of plans climbing up to even 940 Mbps fiber-fast speeds, or if you are looking for relatively affordable options, you can always check out Spectrum internet deals among others. According to Ookla, the average download speeds across the U.S. have elevated to 95 Mbps since last year, showing a growth of 35%. Upload speeds have also undergone promising changes. What you need to decide now is the speed tier, which compliments your particular streaming habits. Your unique geographical location, the number of 4K streamers in your house, your ISP’s credibility and your budget level are some of the factors, which also matter in this case.
Speed Slowdowns & Hardware
Let us assume that your internet provider is relaying perfect broadband speeds to your house, but you are still experiencing latency. The problem may not be in the signal transmission but in the way, they are being received. When we speak of receiving, internet hardware such as a router or a modem comes into question. This wireless network technology has brought a huge convenience into our lives, freeing us from the hassle of managing cables. The latest Wi-Fi standard is the 802.11ac, supporting higher internet speeds and offering better device capabilities. So, if you are renting a gateway from your internet service provider, make sure to get a newer model that comes pre-equipped with the 802.11ac standard.
Besides the upgrade, you can reposition the Wi-Fi router to a more centralized position in the house so spotty areas can come within the range. Another great hack is to place the device in an open space (not in the drawer of your entertainment unit) and surely not closer to walls or ceilings. Signals travel much better if there are no obstructions in their path. Still, if you are experiencing interference in your internet speeds, you can switch to a dual-band router that recognizes both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency ranges, enabling you to stream videos over the higher band, while reserving small-scale activities like email & text to the lower band. Keep your router’s firmware updated too to avoid signal problems.
So, as you can see, determining the right broadband speeds and ensuring the health of your hardware are two very important measures for streaming videos online seamlessly.