The first and usually most overlooked reason that buffering occurs is your own internet speed. If you are going to stream your video content you need fast internet. While you can get away with 5 Mbps down for most streams, this is really the absolute minimum speed needed for a good streaming experience. When you take into account speed lost through Wi-Fi (Usually much more than you think,) other devices in your house using bandwidth and fluctuations in the internet speed you are actually getting from your provider you can see how 10 Mbps can turn to 5 or below very quickly.
What is the recommend internet speed for streaming? This is a personal preference but we recommend for an optimal streaming experience you should have 10 Mbps or higher.
There are also several other factors that can affect your own internet speeds. The most common negative factor is Wifi. Wifi is extremely convenient for connecting lots of devices to the internet without having to connect them with a wire. With this convenience comes a downside. Wifi signal fluctuates up and down very often which can lead to buffering.
We cannot stress enough how quickly Wifi signal and speeds degrade over distance and through obstacles like walls. People are under the impression that if they are getting a wifi signal to a device that the device is getting the same amount of bandwidth as they pay for.
I have 200 Mbps down at my house and about 15 feet from my router through one glass door I get about 30 Mbps down to my Google Pixel XL. This goes to show how much wifi can degrade over distance and obstacles.
Another huge factor with your internet speed is who else is using it and what are they doing. If you have 10 Mbps down and a family member is downloading a bunch of stuff and another family member is playing an online game then there is a strong chance your video content is going to buffer.
Another great tip to help increase your speed is to reset your router once a week. Your internet provider spent time and money finding a router that they can give you that works just enough to provide a decent signal. They skimped and penny pinched as much as they could to save themselves money. So your stock router is not of the highest quality. With that being said, over time these routers degrade in the speed they are able to broadcast. By simply unplugging the router for 30 seconds and then plugging it back in we have seen many customers internet speed double. If you haven’t reset your router in a long time or forever it is a great idea to do this.
So to summarize your internet speed and how it effects buffering while streaming.
- Minimum of 5 Mbps download speed on your device, while the preferred speed is around 10 Mbps of download speed
- Connecting your unit to the internet via an Ethernet cable is ideal if possible
- If you must use Wifi, make sure the device is very close to the router (15 feet or under is ideal)
- Make sure you have reset your router recently.
- Keep in mind what others in your household are doing on the internet. If they are doing anything bandwidth intensive it can affect your streaming.