How to eliminate streaming buffering

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Aina Martin
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How to eliminate streaming buffering

As I mentioned earlier, there are some small tricks and optimizations that you can try on your network configuration and / or on your devices, in order to eliminate, or at least minimize, the effects of a network problem, the main cause of the buffering.

Check connection performance

Before intervening with more "invasive" procedures, I recommend that you perform a quick one speed test on your line, so as to immediately underste if there are problems related to the connection between the modem and the service provider you are referring to. To best prepare your computer (or any other device) for testing, keep in mind these important prerequisites.

  • Connect your computer to the modem via Ethernet cable, avoiding the use of Wi-Fi. In this way, you will be able to underste if the problem is really with the telephone line or, on the contrary, it is a problem related to the wireless network.
  • Check for background programs with downloads or uploads in progress. To make the test realistic, disable programs that consume more bewidth (Windows updates in the background, BitTorrent, eMule, online gaming, music streaming etc.) and make sure that no other device, other than the PC used for the test, is connected to the network.

Now that the test environment is ready, open any browser and connect to the Ookla Speedtest site. Once the page opens, check that in the field Connections, at the bottom of the page, the option is selected Multi, then click the button go, to start the connection test. In real time, you will get the values ​​of ping, download speed and upload speed maximum achievable with your current Internet connection.

If the speed fully reflects the value promised by the telephone operator (with a tolerance of at least 40% for ADSL, at least 20% for mixed fiber-copper connections and less than 10% for direct fiber connections), you can rule out that buffering is related to a connection problem. Furthermore, do not underestimate the ping parameter, strongly influenced by the distance that the data must travel on the network: even if the tests are generally carried out on servers that are close enough, you will not be able to know in advance how far the server you use for streaming is. therefore, having a low starting ping helps when viewing a multimedia stream on the Internet.

Indicatively, I can provide you with some benchmarks that I believe are optimal to avoid the occurrence of problems related to buffering.

  • Minimum Download Speed: 7 Mbps/second
  • Minimum Upload Speed: 1 Mbps
  • Minimum recommended ping: 70 ms

With these parameters (or, why not, higher) you should be able to view any type of streaming content, at an acceptable quality. If the stream is offered at a high quality (Full HD or 4K / UltraHD) you will have to at least double the speed parameters I mentioned above, leaving only the minimum ping value unchanged.

If, after the test, you notice that the speed is too low compared to the parameters specified in the contract you have signed, I recommend that you contact your operator and ask for clarification: sometimes problems can be solved with a simple phone call! For further information on this, I suggest you take a look at my guides on how to contact TIM, Vodafone, Wind / Infostrada and Fastweb.

Note: remember that the speed tests offered online by third parties have no legal value and that you cannot use them to request the conclusion of the contract, due to disservices, from your current operator. which consists of a program to be downloaded to the PC and left running for at least two days. I told you about it in detail in my guide dedicated to Internet connection tests.

Check the location of the Wi-Fi router

If the problem is not with your internet connection and / or the speedtest with the Ethernet cable returns adequate speed, repeat the test using this time the Wifi connection of the router. If the speed values ​​are too low or noticeably different than previously verified, then the problem is with the wireless link.

Speaking of which, first, you can try move the router to a new location, to try to improve the signal strength within the Wi-Fi range. Unfortunately, the interference they are very frequent on wireless networks: proximity to a household appliance or a new device connected to the electricity network may be sufficient to cause electromagnetic disturbances sufficient to slow down the Wi-Fi connection to the device with which you are watching videos or live streaming .

Below you can find some useful tips to position the router in an optimal way, so as to minimize the possibility of problems encountered due to the poor quality of the wireless signal.

  • Place the router near the ceiling, as close as possible to the center of the house: by positioning the device high, you will reduce interference and allow the signal to propagate better; if the house is split over several floors, try to place the router in the center of them to cover all the rooms.
  • Move the device closer through which you usually enjoy the contents: if possible, move the Smart TV or computer near the router. It only takes a few meters to transform a discrete signal into an excellent signal.
  • Place the router antennas appropriately: if your network device has omnidirectional antennas, position them in such a way as to cover every area of ​​the house (even if they assume absurd positions, the important thing is to try until you find the ideal position).

If these tips aren't enough, remember that you can always use gods Wi-Fi repeaters to amplify the signal and cover the farthest areas of the house. 

Change the router settings

Does buffering haunt you even after following the previous advice? Perhaps the time has come to modify some parameters inside the router, so as to be able to “unleash” the full potential of your connection.

The first parameter that I recommend you change, if you use a Wi-Fi connection, is the channels used by the same: many connections using the same channel can interfere with each other e, consequently, degrade the quality of the Internet connection.

To change the channel of the wireless network, open any browser and access the router control panel by typing the address, o in the appropriate bar; later, identify the section for the advanced wireless network configuration and select il channels you want to use: if necessary, disable the automatic channel search system and manually choose the least congested one (1, 6 o 11, for 2.4 GHz networks).

Download videos offline

Another method you can apply for eliminate streaming buffering provides for the download of the content of your interest, directly on the device from which you intend to use it, so that you can view it even without an Internet connection. The only limits, in this sense, are the initial waiting time and the memory to use to host the content.

The Netflix apps for Windows, Android and iOS, for example, provide the ability to download movies and TV series, so you can watch them later without interruptions or buffering problems. To begin with, therefore, download the Netflix app that best suits your device, log in, search for the title you want to view e, on the page relating to its description, tap the icon Download, shaped like an arrow pointing downwards.

If you have selected a TV series, the icon will appear next to each agolable episode. At the end of the operation, you will be able to view the contents downloaded in the section My downloads of the app. To learn more, I invite you to read my guide on how to watch Netflix offline.

Other useful tips

Were you unable to eliminate buffering from streaming, despite having slavishly followed the instructions I gave you in the course of this guide? In this case, you can try to apply the steps that I am going to point out below: in some cases, they can prove to be decisive!

  • Use the connection Wi-Fi to 5 GHz - many modern routers offer the possibility of using this type of wireless connection, much faster than the "classic" 2.4 GHz and less subject to interference. Since its coverage range is very small, I recommend that you use it if the device for using the content is in the immediate vicinity of the router: in this case, the reont could really astound you! If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, I invite you to read my guide on how to connect to 5GHz to better underste how to proceed.
  • Use adapters Powerline - if your playback device is too far from the router, it is advisable to use a Powerline, that is a device that allows you to take advantage of the electrical sockets of the house to carry the network signal generated by the router. In this regard, I invite you to read my guide on how the Powerline works.
  • Restart the router - the router is also an electronic component, so restarting it might help fix some caching issues or unblock connections left open. Many appliances have a dedicated shutdown button, which you can use to shut off the power. If you can't find it, you can safely unplug it and plug it back in after 2 minutes to get the same reont.
  • Reset the router - as a last resort, you can try to completely reset the router and restore it to factory settings, so as to eliminate the buffering problems caused by incorrect settings. To do this, you can follow the steps I showed you in my guide on how to reset the modem.

If, after having applied all the steps illustrated in this guide and checked the quality of the network, you have realized that the router you are using is too "limiting" or is starting to suffer the effects of time, you can consider purchasing a new device of this type, to be placed next to your operator's device or to be used in place of it. If you need some advice, you can freely conont my in-depth study dedicated to the best Wi-Fi routers agolable on the market.

False myths to debunk

By now, you should have been able to get rid of streaming buffering and re-enjoy that viewing experience you've been missing lately. Before letting you go, however, let me give you a brief overview of some alleged procedures designed to improve the quality of the network and which, instead, simply leave the time they find.

  • There is no need to change the DNS - this change, in fact, does not solve the buffering problem, since DNS requests are only useful in the initial connection phase; once the connection with the server is started, they are no longer used.
  • Programs to speed up the connection they are not useful - these software often have no effect on your Internet connection, other than installing spyware and potentially harmful software on your computer. To really increase the quality of the Internet connection, I recommend that you take two minutes of your time to read my guide on how to speed up the Internet to the maximum, in which I have provided you with some useful tips to obtain the desired reont.

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