Internet Speed for Streaming
What is my Speed should be the first question that you should consider before attempting to stream. Trying to Stream Ultra HD or HD content on a ISP service that is less than 5 Mbps is like living on a Caviar Diet with a Bologna Budget. So what can I do you ask that will help me decide or improve my service ? Before we answer that lets look at what Internet Speeds are best for streaming and what Bandwidth is.
Minimum Speed Requirements
In order to have smooth standard definition video, it’s usually recommended to have a connection that is more than 2 Mb/s. For HD, 3D, or Ultra HD (4K), that speed is much higher. It’s also different depending on the service that’s dishing out the videos.
- .5 – 1 Mb/s for viewing standard definition video (480p) on a TV
- 3 – 5 Mb/s for viewing high-def video (720p, 1080p)
- 5+ Mb/s or more for the best audio and video experience. (using Real Debrid or other “premium content” service)
- 25 – 50+ Mb/s for 4K streaming. Also recommended is a 4K Ultra TV with an HEVC decoder.
But even if you have enough Speed to Stream there are other factors that could prevent you from fully enjoying Kodi.
Speed Slowdown Offenders
Even if the broadband speed coming into your home is satisfactory, there are other reasons for slow service. One offender might be an older Modem or Router. Most of us now connect several devices to our network using Wi-Fi, so be sure your wireless gear is also up to snuff.
At the very least your router should support the 802.11n standard; if it doesn’t and you rent a router from your ISP, ask for a newer model. Many routers now support a newer standard, called 802.11ac, which is capable of faster speeds and more directional signaling.
- If Wi-Fi reception in your home is spotty, try moving the router to a more central location. Also move it away from obstructions such as walls or ceilings, and never place the router in a closet or cabinet.
- If you believe that interference is an issue, say from a microwave oven or a cordless-phone system, consider a dual-band router that can operate on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.Switching to the higher 5 GHz band can help avoid interference from other devices that operate in the 2.4 GHz range.
- Some models let you use both frequencies simultaneously, so you can stream videos using the 5 GHz band and e-mail and text using the 2.4 GHz frequency.
- If you think your wireless connection is to blame, try using a wired connection to see whether performance improves.
- Another way to isolate Wi-Fi problems is to connect your computer directly to a speed-test site before the connection reaches your Wi-Fi router and compare it to the speed you get connecting via Wi-Fi.
Comparing Bandwidth to Plumbing
Plumbing provides a great analogy for bandwidth… seriously! Data is to available bandwidth as water is to the size of the pipe. In other words, as the bandwidth increases so does the amount of data that can flow through in a given amount of time, just like as the diameter of the pipe increases, so does the amount of water that can flow through during a period of time.
For example you’re streaming a movie, someone else is playing an online multiplayer video game, and a couple others on your same network are downloading files or using their phones to watch online videos. It’s likely that everyone will feel that things are a bit sluggish if not constantly starting and stopping. This has to do with bandwidth.
- To return to the plumbing analogy, assuming the water pipe to a home (the bandwidth) remains the same size, as the home’s faucets and showers are turned on (data downloads to the devices being used), the water pressure at each point (the perceived “speed” at each device) will reduce – again, because there’s only so much water (bandwidth) available to the home (your network).
- Put another way: the bandwidth is a fixed amount based on what you pay for, so, while one person may be able to stream a high-def video without any lag whatsoever, the moment you begin adding other download requests to the network, each one will get just their portion of the full capacity.
- For example, if a speed test identifies my download speed as 7.85 Mbps, it means that given no interruptions or other bandwidth-hogging applications, I could download a 7.85 megabit (or 0.98 megabytes) file in one second.
How can I check my speed you ask? Well there are a number of web sites that will do that for you. Here is one of the most popular sites : http://beta.speedtest.net/.
Mbps vs MBps
It’s important to understand that bandwidth can be expressed in any unit (bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabits, etc.). Your ISP might use one term, a testing service another, and a video streaming service yet another. Or even worse, ordering too little for what you want to do with it. For example, 15 MBs is not the same as 15 Mbs (note the lowercase b). The first reads as 15 megaBYTES while the second is 15 megaBITS. These two values are different by a factor of 8 since there are 8 bits in a byte. If these two bandwidth readings were written in megabytes (MB), they’d be 15 MBs and 1.875 MBs (since 15/8 is 1.875). However, when written in megabits (Mb), the first would be 120 Mbs (15×8 is 120) and the second 15 Mbps.
Can I Fix My Speed ?
If you’re having issues streaming online videos to your laptop, for example, disconnect from Wi-Fi and use a physical Ethernet connection instead. It’s very possible that the Wi-Fi signals are weak in that particular place in the building or that the device is being interfered with by other wireless signals.
In addition, something else to consider is that your network bandwidth is shared between every other device on your network. For example, if you have an 8 Mb/s internet speed and four other devices, like some desktops and laptops, and a gaming console. If every one of those devices are using the internet at once, each of them can essentially only download at 2 Mb/s, which is hardly enough for SD content from Hulu.
If you’re having trouble with buffering and videos neglecting to fully load, stop using your other devices. Downloading files on your laptop while on face book with your phone and streaming videos from your Box, is not going to work out very well.
Finally, if you’re having intermittent problems, try rebooting your modem/wireless router and then the your device. Rebooting your router will clear the dns as well as clear the routers cache. Don’t forget you can find other helpful tips here at Geeks Corner.