Internet Requirements and Bitrates

While equipment and software are important, few things are more crucial in the streaming business than a solid internet connection. In this article, we'll give you the tools to choose the right connection and point out some things to look out for in the process. 

Upload Speed

It goes without saying that the stronger/faster your connection is, the easier it will be to stream. However, in many cases, you do not need blazing fast internet to send out a quality stream. There are several factors that determine your internet speed but for streaming purposes, the main one to look out for is your upload speed. Upload speed measures how many bits of data can be sent out per second. They are typically measured by Megabit Per Second (Mbps) or Kilobit Per Second (Kbps). Keep in mind, 1 Megabit = 1,000 Kilobits. You can check this number any time by running a speed test. Here are the minimum upload speeds required for different streams:

  • High Definition: 3.0 Mbps (3,000 Kbps)
  • High Quality: 2.0 Mbps (2,000 Kbps)
  • Standard Definition: 1.0 Mbps (1,000 Kbps)
  • Low Bandwidth: 0.5 Mbps (500 Kbps)
Please note: High Definition and High Quality streams require approval by Stretch Internet. Please contact our support team if you're unsure of which quality you can stream at.

The relationship between your stream and your internet connection is like cars on a highway. Each pixel in your stream is a car, and your internet connection is the highway. As you increase the quality of your video, you must also increase the speed of your connection. Trying to send an HD stream on slow internet connection (less than 3.0 Mbps of upload speed) is comparable to rush hour traffic on a two-lane highway. 


Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful when selecting a network:

Use Ethernet when possible. 

Wifi networks can usually get the job done but ethernet connections are typically much faster and more stable. 

Connect to a private network dedicated for streaming. 

Public networks (such as campus Wifi) can fluctuate greatly depending on factors out of your control. If you do not have a private network already available, you may want to look into the possibility of setting one up. 

Don't be afraid to adjust your stream quality!

There is nothing worse than a vide stream that is constantly buffering. If your network is struggling, try adjusting the encoder preset (Wirecast) or bitrate to a lower setting. 

Avoid using Mobile Hotspots if possible.

Hotspots and Wireless Cards can be wildly inconsistent when used for video streaming. If you plan on using one of these, Low Bandwidth can give you the greatest chance at ending a smooth stream.

Always test ahead of time.

If you plan on streaming from a new network, don't hesitate to call us beforehand so we can check your speeds! We're happy to help any time. 

You should now be prepared to stream from anywhere that has an internet connection! Feel free to reach out to our support team if you have any questions about the information above.

Happy Streaming!

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