Why Internet Speed Matters for Live Streaming?

Do you need to live-stream content? Then you must pay special attention to internet speed. Before you do that, it is also important to understand why you need to have good internet speed for streaming. Continue reading, and we will share more details with you.

"The internet live streaming sector grew by 99 percent between April 2019 and April 2020," according to Tech Jury. "By 2022, 82 percent of internet consumption will be for streaming video," according to Cisco. It's time to put live video to work for your company. But first, what constitutes a sufficient internet connection for live streaming? And what difference does it make?

Understanding the technical terms behind streaming What is the required upload speed for streaming? That is most likely your biggest concern. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of internet speed, let's brush up on some online jargon.

  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the maximum data transmission rate of an internet connection within a specific time period. For example, a 5GHz router has a maximum bandwidth of 1300 Mbps (megabits per second). It's worth noting that 1 megabit per second equals 0.125 megabytes. Therefore, in this case, the router's maximum bandwidth is 162.5 megabytes per second. The terms "bandwidth" and "internet speed" are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

Bandwidth provides an answer to the question of how much data can be transmitted at a given time. On the other hand, speed addresses how quickly data can be downloaded or transferred. If you have limited bandwidth, you won't be able to stream a 4K movie since it consumes a significant portion of it. Furthermore, if your internet connection is slow, you won't be able to broadcast in full HD, but you may be able to stream at a lower quality.

  • Download speed: Download speed is one of the components of internet speed. It refers to the number of megabits of data sent from a server to your device. The faster you can download music, documents, or movies, the higher the download speed.

  • Upload speed: Upload speed, on the other hand, is the rate at which data is sent from your device to a server, measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Uploading a document, audio, or video to a service like Google Drive becomes faster as the upload speed increases.

  • Bitrate: Bitrate refers to the rate at which bits are transported from one place to another. It can be measured in various units, such as:

    • Bps (bits per second)
    • Kbps (kilobits per second)
    • Mbps (megabits per second)

In video streaming, bitrate is particularly important as it indicates the quality of an audio or video file. The higher the audio or video quality, the greater the bitrate.

The same principle applies to resolution. A 4K resolution provides a crisper picture compared to a 360p resolution. Using our donut analogy, bitrate is like the rate at which a donut can be consumed per second.

Why does internet speed affect live streaming? Internet speed is crucial when it comes to creating the best and highest quality live broadcast. It is essential for crystal-clear audio and video. In general, the faster the speed, the better the quality. A fast internet connection enhances your overall experience, especially if you are utilizing many resources in your live broadcast. Do you have a screen to share? Why not include a YouTube video in your stream?

If your internet connection is slow, the live broadcast will become sluggish. Your screen may even freeze at times. Low upload speeds result in slow streaming and may lead to choppy audio. Viewers may tolerate a poor-quality video, but they will leave if the audio quality is subpar.

Factors that might slow down your streaming Having a fast internet connection is not always easy. Your internet speed for live streaming can be affected by several factors:

  • Internet connection type: The two most common types of internet connections are fiber-optic and regular DSL connections. Fiber-optic connections allow for high-speed connections, while DSL connections using telephone networks tend to be slower. Fiber connections can be up to ten times faster than xDSL connections, with theoretical speeds of up to 10000 Mbps (1Gbps). Most ISPs advertise speeds ranging from 100 to 400 Mbps.

However, fiber is not widely available as it is a relatively newer technology. In the United States, only 32% of people have access to fiber. The cities with the highest fiber coverage are Atlanta and Denver.

Fast speed comes at a high price. The monthly cost of a fiber connection varies depending on the package you choose. In 2019, the average cost of a fiber connection in the United States was $57 per month. Previously, the average price was $79 per person. As fiber connections become more widely available, the cost is expected to continue falling.

  • Distance between the router and the device: Once you have installed a fiber connection, you'll want to ensure that your router is in the best possible location to achieve the best speed. Thick walls and other electronic devices can hinder internet speed.

Where should you put your router?

  • In an open space or in the heart of your house with thin walls.

  • Placed on a shelf away from other electrical devices.

  • Keep it away from the kitchen because microwaves and other kitchen equipment can interfere with the signal.

  • Total number of devices connected to the router: Most routers and internet services have a limit on the number of devices that can connect via Wi-Fi. When a large number of devices are connected to the router simultaneously, the speed is likely to deteriorate. It's the same when you're in a Starbucks filled with people using public Wi-Fi. When everyone is on the same network, it becomes very sluggish.

  • Internet activity: Not all internet activities consume the same amount of bandwidth. Browsing Google for quick answers does not use the same amount of bandwidth as watching a Netflix movie.

What is a reasonable upload speed for live streaming? In general, a decent upload speed is 10 megabits per second (Mbps). The quality of the upload speed is influenced by the resolution and frame rate. For example, if you're streaming in 4K quality, you'll need a faster upload speed.

Here's a brief guide to the required minimum upload speed for various platforms:

  • Facebook Live: 4-10 Mbps (recommended minimum) When live streaming on Facebook, you can use resolutions up to 1080p. For a good broadcast, a minimum speed of 4-10 Mbps is required. However, if you want to stream in FULL HD, you'll need at least 10 Mbps. If you have viewers, make sure they also have upload speeds in this range.

  • LinkedIn Live: 3-10 Mbps While a 10 Mbps upload speed is optimal, the suggested minimum is 3 Mbps. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn does not offer a built-in live video feature. Not everyone has access to participate in live events on LinkedIn. To gain access to LinkedIn Live, you need to be authorized and use a third-party authorized program.

  • o    YouTube Live: Due to its wide range of quality options, YouTube's speed can vary significantly. You can stream at resolutions as low as 360p and as high as 4K. For higher-resolution streaming, a minimum suggested speed of 10 Mbps is recommended.

    o    Twitch: 4-6 Mbps Twitch recommends a minimum upload speed of 4-6 Mbps. However, the required speed may vary depending on the content you're streaming. If you're broadcasting visually intensive games like Grand Theft Auto 5, you'll likely need a faster upload speed.

    How do you know if your upload speed is fast enough before you go live?

    Checking your upload speed is simple and quick. While there are various online programs available, SpeedTest.net is the most popular option. Here's how you can perform a speed test:

  • Visit Speedtest.net.
  • Click on "Go" to start the test.
  • Keep an eye on the upload speed displayed during the test.
  • Consider the location of the server being used for the test.
  • Speedtest.net automatically selects the closest ISP server to your area. The closer you are to the server, the faster your download and upload speeds will be.
  • It's important to note that services like Facebook, Twitch, and others have servers located in different places. Most of Facebook's servers, for example, are based in the United States. Your internet speed can be affected by the distance between you and the servers.

    If you select New York as the server location in SpeedTest.net and you live in the Philippines, your upload speed will likely be slower. For instance, if the server is nearby, your upload speed might be 30 Mbps. However, if you use a different server, the speed may decrease to 15 Mbps.

    How to speed up uploading for better live streaming:

    You have control over certain factors that can improve your upload speed and enhance your live streaming experience. Consider the following tips:

  • If fiber internet is available in your location, opt for it.
  • Before going live, take the following steps:

  • Remind your family members not to stream movies or play online games while you're live streaming.
  • Close any applications on your computer and phone that constantly download or upload files, such as Google Photos.
  • Disconnect all other devices connected to the same router.
  • Use a router that supports a 5GHz Wi-Fi signal to increase your bandwidth. In two-story houses, consider using Wi-Fi repeaters to strengthen the signal in all areas and minimize "dead zones."

    Final words:
  • In conclusion, various factors can influence your internet speed for live streaming. Generally, a minimum speed of 4-10 Mbps is recommended, although streaming in FULL HD quality requires a higher connection. The beauty of live broadcasting is that you can continually experiment and improve your skills. In the meantime, you may consider using a third-party video streaming panel like VDO Panel to optimize your video streaming experience with your available bandwidth.

  • Whenever possible, use a wired connection instead of relying solely on Wi-Fi.
  • Position your studio close to the router, or consider keeping the router in your studio for better signal strength.

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