Streaming 101: Can my internet connection handle streaming?

What internet connection is required for streaming on Twitch or YouTube live?

Can my internet connection handle streaming? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question at some point, if you’re a gamer.

There are a number of variables to this question, because of course, a stream quality is determined not only by the internet connection/frame rate that can be streamed, but also by the power of the computer’s cpu that has to be able to deliver the frame rate both to your own eyeballs as well as to the web in general (very basic explanation).

For the purposes of today’s blog post I’m only going to cover internet connection speed, and we’ll look at your computer specs next time.

Most ISP’s in Britain, and I would hazard a guess and say “world” as well – will state what your maximum and minimum download and upload speeds are. However, what the maximum is, and what the reality is,  can be quite different depending on whether you have fibre or cable broadband etc and in some cases your proximity to your router (for wifi) or for your local internet exchange cabinet.

Regardless of the above variables – the following rules usually apply:

  1. A wired connection will give you better results than Wifi, so consider running a cable from your computer directly to your router.
  2. Your upload speed is more important than your download speed (for streaming).

So first things first:

Test your Internet Connection

How exactly? Simples – go to speedtest.net and click on ‘begin test’ – see in the image below. Note – when you get there – be sure to click on the BEGIN TEST button, and NOT on the start scan button, as this is contextual advertising, and not part of the speedtest website.

speedtest

Let the test run its course, it should take less than a minute.

When it’s finished it will give you a download speed (how fast you can receive files), an upload speed (how fast you can send files) and a server ping time (how much time elapses before the server responds to your computers requests.

Before my recent internet exchange upgrade (our village had old copper broadband, which was upgraded to superfast fibre) – my download speed was 8mbps (never got more than 1mbps), and my upload speed was absolutely hideous at 0.44 mbps – far, far too slow for streaming.

My new connection speed now looks like this…

speed

So much better!

Most streaming services will tell you that a minimum of 2mb/second upload speed is required for good streaming, but I would go a step further and say aim for at least 10mb/s upload speed, especially if you share your internet connection with others.  You don’t want to be in the middle of streaming only to start dropping frames and looking fuzzy because someone else started using the connection heavily.

So what is your connection like? Can your internet connection handle streaming?




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