Buffering can play spoilsport with a perfectly good live stream, breaking it into disjointed bits that refuse to meld together. But instead of cursing at your screen and praying that your users stay with you regardless, there are ways to ease the buffering and promote a seamless delivery. In this article, we give you a low-down on the truth behind buffering, and steps you can take to turn your broadcast into a superior experience for your users. Here’s how to stop buffering when streaming live.
The Truth Behind Video Buffering:
- Buffering could occur due to any of the reasons highlighted below:
- A poor routing link along the distance between your encoder and your server
- An inadequate upload bandwidth
- Use of the available bitrate beyond the acceptable threshold
- A weak connection between a viewer and a server
- Excessive use of an encoder
- An inadequate internet speed for streaming at the viewer’s end
If you regularly fall prey to any of the factors mentioned here, you’ve likely been a victim of poor buffering during your live stream. Fortunately, there are simple ways through which you could augment your content delivery.
Measures to Minimise Buffering:
If you’ve been racking your brain on how to stop video buffering, have a look at the measures you can take to minimize the buffering on your live stream:
Option 1. Activate Auto-Adjust:
Sometimes, your content may have trouble reaching your server. Here’s where auto-adjust kicks in. This feature compresses the stream by skipping certain frames, and then sends the remaining ones across to the server. But why do that, you wonder. Wouldn’t that drop the quality of the stream? It would, but this is far better an option than having a superior quality stream pumped out in stages. To achieve a buffer-free stream, make sure you have the auto-adjust setting on your encoder turned on.
Option 2. Regulate Your Streaming Bandwidth:
As a golden rule, ensure that your live streams are transmitted at a bandwidth lower than 1 Mbps. This is because anything in excess of 1 Mbps could mean that your quality and bandwidth may be more than your viewers’ capacity to receive the same stream. If your bandwidth exceeds the 1 Mbps threshold, you may experience buffering. Of course, if you decide to use multiple bitrates, it’s alright to have one of them exceed 1 Mbps.
Option 3. Determine Your Upload Speed:
Determining your upload speed is possible through a simple series of tests; visit any upload speed check website on the internet. A speed greater than your bitrate is a positive indicator, implying that your bandwidth is adequate to carry information seamlessly. Strive to have your speed be double of your bitrate, and you’re sorted. There are various factors that may play a role here, like whether your connection is wired or not and how large your average stream is.
Option 4. Minimize Your Packet Loss:
Your content flows from your encoder to your server and then onto your viewers via packets. However, it is possible that some packets along the way are lost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to check whether any packet loss occurs during your streams. Checking for packet loss differs from operating system to operating system. Seek out an online guide that’s relevant for you.
Option 5. Tweak Your KeyFrame Interval:
The KeyFrame Interval on your encoder is a tricky setting. If your intervals are timed too close together, your quality may take a beating, but if they are too far apart, your content may respond inadequately. A KeyFrame interval of about 2 or 3 seconds is considered ideal.
Option 6. Optimize Your Encoder:
An encoder is the backbone of your live stream, so it’s important that you don’t strain its functioning. Overworking your encoder is especially possible if you have a tendency to record your live streams. The end result? Your encoder may capture distorted or disjointed bits of content in the recording.
Option 7. Pick a Conducive Encoder:
If you’re deliberating over whether you need a wired internet link, the answer is yes. Live streams often lag or seep through the gaps of a wireless connection and your content may be severely disrupted. Also, much like your phone does in a poor Wi-Fi zone, a wireless connection may have your device indefinitely scanning for a Wi-Fi signal, in turn causing heavy fluctuations in content delivery.
Option 8. Create an Exclusive Wi-Fi Network:
Continuing from the previous point on Wi-Fi usage during a live stream, one thing you should consider creating is an exclusive Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi connectivity tends to lower when more users are logged in, and it’s best to keep your network private to maintain optimal speeds.
Creating a buffer-free experience is far easier than you think, and all it takes are a few ground rules. Review your bandwidth, your bitrate, and your internet connection to ensure that your infrastructure is in place. It’s also worth your time to test your encoder. When you’re done with these eight steps, you’ll find that your streams flow more smoothly than before and that you’ve got a set of happier, more engaged users. Who knew it was that simple?