With online video games and TV and film streaming, having a high-speed internet connection is becoming a must. With increasing stream quality and display resolutions, many people are going for higher broadband speeds to successfully follow the new trends.
That said, you’re most likely wondering how to check if your broadband is fast enough and what to do in case it isn’t. Fortunately, it’s easy to check whether you’re able to watch the stream you want. Read on to find out how.
The Most Foolproof Way
If there’s one way to determine if your internet is fast enough, it’s to just go to a streaming site or service. Going to, say, Twitch or Netflix should give you a clear answer immediately. If you face no buffering whatsoever while watching a stream, your internet speed certainly is sufficient.
If you do face some buffering, but not too much of it, try reducing the stream quality. You might not need to change your internet plan if the stream works fine after this. If there’s still too much buffering, chances are the time is right to upgrade your broadband plan. Keep in mind, though, that your streaming experience might also suffer if you have too many devices connected to the same wireless network.
Run a Speed Test
Most video streaming sites mention the minimum and recommended download and upload speeds required to stream the content there. The easiest way to check if yours are satisfactory is by conducting a speed test.
One of the most famous speed test sites is Ookla. To run a speed test on Ookla, all you need to do is press the big round “Go” button. The site will then proceed to determine your download speed, followed by your upload speed. You can then compare these with the streaming site’s requirements. However, keep in mind that there’s a big difference between a minimum and recommended internet speeds for streaming.
Not only is it simple to use, but it also lets you test your network on any server around the globe. This can be a very useful option if you’re, for example, applying for a remote job. Click on the “Change Server” button and enter a location of your choice to change the testing server.
Streaming Site Speed Requirements
Although most streaming sites have similar options when it comes to the resolution of the streamed video content, their speed requirements tend to differ. This is why you should check them on all sites that you frequent.
Note: These are minimum required download speeds, but as long as you’re not streaming in Ultra HD (4K) or HDR, you’ll be fine. Make sure that you exceed the minimum speed required if you want to stream in higher resolutions to avoid lagging. Adding about 25% to these speed requirements will make sure you’ll have no streaming issues.
The most popular streaming website has quite low requirements to keep the high userbase. It even has resolutions below 480p, which is not to be overlooked.
It requires 0.7 Mbps for SD, 2.5 Mbps for HD, and only around 15 Mbps for 4K. However, if you want to watch 4K videos at a framerate of 60 fps you’ll need a download speed of at least 40 Mbps.
Netflix requires you to have a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps for standard definition or 480p video streams, 5 Mbps for high definition (HD) streams, and 25 Mbps for 4K (Ultra HD) and HDR streams.
The requirements are even lower for Amazon Prime, which makes it a good video streaming option. It only requires 0.9 Mbps for SD streaming, 3.5 Mbps for HD, and at least 25 Mbps for both 4K and HDR.
iTunes’ requirements are a bit on the high end, as you need 2.5 Mbps just to be able to watch SD streams. For HD streams, this goes up to 8 Mbps, but stays at 25 Mbps for 4K and HDR.
Hosting a Stream
If you want to stream your own content, you’ll also need to make sure that your upload speed is high enough. Having an upload speed of 5 Mbps will be sufficient for HD streaming on most sites. Keep in mind, though, that streaming requires a powerful PC as well, as it might slow down during streaming otherwise.
VoIP Services Requirements
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services usually don’t have any special internet speed requirements. Skype does have its requirements stated, even though they are very low. Both download and upload speeds should be at 100 Kbps, with 30 being the minimum.
On the flipside, if you’re video chatting with multiple other people, you should ideally have a download speed of 8 Mbps and an upload speed of 512kps.
Checking All the Possible Issues
If you’re experiencing a problem on a streaming site, go ahead and run a speed test. It will give you an objective look at the situation. If your download and upload speeds meet the criteria, see if there’s some other temporary connection issue before upgrading your internet plan.
What streaming site do you visit most often? If given the chance to be a streamer, what would be your video game or activity of choice? Let us know in the comments below.