Understanding Internet Performance And Streaming Problems

Have you made a complete switch from cable or over-the-air television to streaming services? Are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, YouTube, and other streaming sites your core entertainment services? You still technically have "cable", as your entertainment relies upon a network connection that either needs to be purchased from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or "creatively borrowed" from a neighbor, but a few of the troubleshooting and access responsibilities are now in your hands. To understand what internet performance means for your streaming aside from the words "fast" or "unlimited", here are a few internet streaming concepts: 

Streaming Is A Download With Many Weak Points

Streaming technology is an alternative to full-sized static downloads. Instead of downloading an entire movie or song and waiting for the download to complete before enjoying it, you can enjoy the content as small pieces are sent to your device of choice.

With large downloads, errors may not be noticed. When data fails to send or is corrupted, modern technology either resends the information or allows you to repair the download, especially if you're using torrent technology (hopefully for legally-safe purposes).

With streaming, errors will stop the smooth, efficient, real-time transfer of data. Since you're constantly loading information that appears on the screen and plays in speakers within milliseconds of receipt, an error will mean a pause in performance. This leads to stuttering, pausing, or buffering--the popular term for streaming data that pauses and pre-loads more information to make future pauses less troublesome.

Buffering sucks, but without it, stuttering would be a much more prevalent problem. Errors that lead to buffering can come from many sources, although they're all interruptions in the to-and-from path of the data from the service to your device.

Getting Rid Of Data Interruptions

Before buying any services or products, you need to understand the core components in an efficient streaming setup:

  • A streaming service with no interruptions. The service itself can have problems. If Netflix servers are being used by more customers than expected, their own systems can slow down. That's not your problem aside from shopping for different services, and the entire world can help you form that opinion if it gets bad enough.
  • An internet connection with no interruption and enough bandwidth. Your internet service may have wiring problems between you and your ISP. This is usually fixed by your ISP's technician but may require you to reset your router or wait for a technician to physically repair something on your premises.
  • A computer that can handle the resource. This could be a desktop computer, laptop computer, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4. It needs to be modern, and personal computers need enough parts to meet a streaming service's minimum requirements.

When all of these requirements are met, then you can consider increasing your internet service for other uses. If the bare minimum isn't taken care of without interruption, fix those problems first. Contact an ISP professional to discuss their services and to test their performance.

Contact local internet providers for more information and assistance.