Current estimates suggest that more than 80% of American households will have access to at least one streaming service in 2022.
Streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime have made it simple and convenient to stream movies and television shows on demand.
But that convenience can quickly turn into frustration if your internet speeds limit your resolution or even lead to the dreaded buffering.
How Much Speed Do You Need?
Minimum bandwidth recommendations vary depending on the streaming provider.
For the purposes of this article, we will use Netflix or Planet Dish, which recommends 3 Mbps for SD content, 5 Mbps for HD content, and 25 Mbps for UHD content.
Consider that the FCC currently characterizes a broadband Internet connection as providing at least 25 Mbps download.
This is a good minimum target for the average user. Even if you plan to watch just HD content, the additional bandwidth helps ensure that you avoid any disruptions.
Something else to consider is that these minimum bandwidth recommendations are based on your streaming content to a single device.
The FCC advises that the average American household actually requires 100 Mbps and may soon update its bandwidth definition based on that.
As a rule of thumb, multiply the number of people in your household by 25 Mbps to get your estimate.
But also, be mindful that if you work from home and video conference, for instance, your actual needs may even be greater.
Know Your Internet Package and Test Your Speed
The common problem is that consumers do not know what they are paying for and what they are actually getting. Start with your internet plan.
Read the fine print, and determine what minimum download speed you are guaranteed and if you are dealing with—gasp—data caps.
Once you have that information, you will want to test your speeds using an online tool like speedtest.net.
Test if first via Ethernet, which will indicate if there are fundamental problems with your connection. Test it next via wireless, which will indicate if there are issues specific to your wireless network.
If Your Service Is Underwhelming…
If your bandwidth is low because that is the plan you have chosen, the most likely remedy is to upgrade to a plan that provides the speed you need.
Most ISPs have relatively inexpensive broadband plans, and if you need financial assistance, there are options like the Emergency Broadband Benefit and Lifeline.
You may also want to investigate if there are other ISPs available in your area.
Competition is becoming much more commonplace and may allow you to reduce your monthly cost by a significant amount.
If Your Network Is Underperforming…
If you have issues with your Ethernet connection, it is time to schedule a service appointment with your ISP and have a technician diagnose it.
If the problem is with your wireless internet network, you may consider using an Ethernet connection.
That may not be a practical long-term solution but can at least get you through the night.
You should ensure that your wireless router is fully updated, and you may want to try moving its position to achieve better performance.
You may also want to consider whether your router is good enough. Many inexpensive consumer-grade routers are more trouble than they are worth when it comes to streaming content.
In order to clear your understanding and knowledge about the topic, here are some most common questions with their answers. Let’s have a look at them.
Q1: Does Faster Internet Speed Improve Streaming?
It is obvious that the faster the internet will be, the better the streaming experience will become. That means, if you are having slower internet issues, it is definitely going to affect your streaming experience.
Q2: Why Is Streaming So Slow When I Have Fast Internet?
In case you are using Wi-Fi, and your router is placed away from the point of access, or there are some small walls in between, you might encounter internet speed issues.
This low signal strength can actually reduce the quality of your video streaming. The lower the Wi-fi strength will be, the weaker the streaming experience will become.
Apart from that, Wi-fi is known for eating your internet speed.
You may also have limitations to your wireless internet network due to your environment. A router upgrades along with antenna upgrades or even an upgrade to a mesh network may solve your problems.
Other options include wireless extenders and repeaters, and a powerline adapter is also an interesting option since it can bridge your devices using your home’s existing electrical system.
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