Live Broadcasting with Slow and Unreliable Internet
When you're live streaming on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook or other platforms, your Internet is what makes or breaks a successful broadcast. You may have the best content out there; if your audience gets low quality stuttering video during your live streams or - worse - there's buffering from your side - then you will lose some of them for sure. Things get even worse if you run an online virtual event and this happens.
You should always be prepared and know how to live stream with bad Internet. If you're broadcasting video from home or from a studio and you have a good broadband connection, chances are you'll be fine. But even then, you can experience temporary connectivity issues, etc. Read below to see how to broadcast live with bad internet (slow, unreliable) so your audience gets the best available video quality in any situation.
What Upload Speed Do I Need for Live Streaming?
As mentioned before, when talking about how to live stream with bad Internet, that means you have issues with:
- Internet speed - the available bandwidth from your ISP is insufficient to broadcast live at the quality you want.
- Internet reliability - the connection keeps disconnecting.
Internet speed is measured by the download / upload pair of parameters. When service providers advertise their plans, they most likely share the download speed. That is important in general for activities such as:
- web browsing
- watching videos online, including streaming videos on platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC, etc.
- file transfers.
When you're into live streaming, the most important indicator for you is the upload speed the ISP can provide. Here are the recommended Internet upload speeds for live streaming on major platforms:
|HD 720p 30fps||3 Mbps||1.5 – 4 Mbps||0.4 – 1 Mbps|
|HD 720p 60fps||4.5 Mbps||2.25 – 6 Mbps||2.25 – 6 Mbps|
|FHD 1080p 30fps||4.5 Mbps||3 – 6 Mbps||3 – 6 Mbps|
|FHD 1080p 60fps||6 Mbps||4.5 – 9 Mbps||4.5 – 9 Mbps|
|QHD 1440p 30fps||6 – 13 Mbps|
|QHD 1440p 60fps||9 – 18 Mbps|
|4k 2160p 30fps||13 – 34 Mbps|
|4k 2160p 60fps||20 – 51 Mbps|
Just remember that these speeds are for live streaming only. As you will be using the same Internet connection for other stuff as well during your live streams - e.g. browsing, chatting, streaming videos - as a general rule, you should add at least 50% to the recommended upload speed above, just to be sure.
Live Streaming Latency - Is That Important?
In the context of live broadcasts, latency is the delay between when a video frame is captured and when that frame is displayed to the viewer. Latency happens as any live video broadcast requires processing, sending video over the Internet and viewing devices decoding and displaying the video.
What you want is to minimize the latency, as it will help you interact with your viewers in a closer "real-time" fashion. Professional live streaming latencies can range from 30 seconds to over one minute (source) and are influenced by the amount of video that is typically buffered. Low latency live streaming is now becoming typical, being available on many platforms and streaming software. It can deliver the video within 3-10 seconds.
And if you're looking for real-time video streaming (for auctions, AR/VR, day trading, live events, gaming, sports, trivia, etc.) - you can even get latencies of under 1 second, typically 100-500 ms.
How to minimize live streaming latency?
- Choose the right platform / streaming software and make sure they support low latency streaming.
- Make sure your Internet connection latency is minimal as well, so it doesn't have a significant effect on the overall latency. Anything under 100 ms between you and the live streaming server is OK - the less, the better.
Avoid Live Broadcasting on Bad Internet: What to Choose from Fiber, Cable, DSL, Cellular, Satellite?
The answer to this question depends on where you want to live stream from and what services you have available to you. Below is a brief general guide on connection types and their upload speeds / latency performance. You can get an idea of what to shoot for in order to get the best internet for live streaming. Please confirm with the Internet service providers in your area the available upload speed and typical latencies.
|Connection type||Typical upload speed||Typical latency||Recommended resolution for live streaming|
|Fiber Optic||250 - 1,000 Mbps||Lowest||Up to 4k @ 60 fps|
|Cable||5 - 50 Mbps||Low||Up to 4k @ 30 fps|
|DSL||1 - 10 Mbps||Low||Up to 1080p @ 30 fps|
|Cellular (4G / LTE)||Variable, up to 20 Mbps||Low||Up to 1440p @ 30 fps|
|Satellite||Variable, up to 38 Mbps||Highest||Up to 1440p @ 60 fps|
Learn more about Fiber vs. cable vs. DSL.
See typical cellular upload speeds.
Check out user reports of Starlink speeds.
5 Tips on How to Live Stream with Bad Internet
You don't need to lower your live broadcast video resolution and frame rate. Here are some tips in order to broadcast anywhere with the best video quality you can have:
- Make sure your ISP doesn't throttle your upload traffic / streaming traffic.
- Check for data caps in the contract. As you're live streaming, you're using a lot of traffic. When you hit those caps, the download / upload speeds could significantly drop.
- If possible, always use wired connections when live streaming. This eliminates wireless interference and packet loss.
- Make sure no other devices on your network use the Internet upload bandwidth. This includes computers or mobile devices running backups or video calls at the same time when you're live streaming.
- Use all available Internet connections at once. Apart from your home / studio connection: tether a phone, use mobile hotspots, get a second connection installed - these are all options you can take into account. You'll also need a channel bonding app like the Speedify multipath VPN.
Speedify Helps You Live Stream with Bad Internet Anywhere
If you're on a bad Internet connection for live streaming, you should combine several ones to get decent connectivity for live broadcasting. Speedify is the only app that can combine multiple internet sources into one bonded super-connection for more stable and secure live streaming, video calling, and web browsing. It uses channel bonding technology and advanced encryption to provide fast, stable and secure Internet.
Here's how Speedify helps content creators everywhere live stream even with bad Internet:
- evaluates your Internet connection and recommends a supported video quality for your live stream.
- prioritizes live streaming over other types of traffic.
- aggregates the upload speeds of the combined connections - it allows for live streaming at higher quality and higher framerates.
- delivers the lowest latency out of the combined connections.
- minimizes packet loss by automatically resending lost network packets - useful when using wireless connections such as Wi-Fi and cellular.
Speedify is cost-aware, prioritizing wired and Wi-Fi connections over cellular and other metered ones. And if one of your connections happens to drop, Speedify will seamlessly move the live streaming traffic to the other working connection(s), so you won't notice any quality issues.
Bottom line: use Speedify and avoid any unwanted Internet issues when dealing with live streaming on bad Internet.