So you have finally taken the plunge and started streaming tons of great video content. Now that you have joined millions of other streaming fanatics across the world the next thing you need to do is optimize your home internet network so you have the best streaming experience possible.
Internet is everything!
Streaming anything from a song to a 4K movie relies on internet speed and a reliable connection. If you are missing either of those you are going to have a bad streaming experience. We will elaborate more on what a reliable internet connection is later on when we cover Wifi and Ethernet.
Internet speed - How much do I need?
The speed of your home networks internet connection is by far one of the most important factors when it comes to streaming, but only to a point.
We normally reccomend an internet speed of 30 Mbps (Megabits Per Second) or higher for an optimum streaming experience. While you can get away with less, when you have other people using the internet in your house it can have a negative effect on your streaming experience. Let's say that you have 20 Mbps and are streaming something that needs 5 Mbps to stream properly, But little Billy is downloading a brand new game on his gaming system that is using close to 20 Mbps. In this case you may find that your stream is buffering. While this is not exactly how home networks work, this is an easy example showing how other users on your network can in fact give you less bandwidth to be able to stream.
Can you have too much internet speed?
Absolutely not! But you can overpay for more speed that you don't really use. More internet speed can only help with streaming, but to a point. Unless you have a house full of internet addicted people who are constantly downloading, uploading and gaming 24/7 100 Mbps is really the maximum that you will need. Not to say that having higher speeds then that isn't a good thing. What we are saying is don't overpay for crazy high speeds that you will most likely never fully utilize. But also don't cheap out on the bottom tier speed and expect to have the best streaming experience.
Hardware - Modem / Router
Modem - Receives the Internet signal
Router - Sends the signal out through Wifi
Modem / Router Combo - Does both and is the most common box your internet provider will give you
If you are like most people here in America, you have a Modem Router combo from your internet provider and you are most likely being charged each month for using it. Check out our article on saving money each month by getting your own internet hardware.
The long story short is that the Modem Router combo that you are using from your internet provider was made by the lowest bidder to do the bare minimum required by your internet provider. We can assure you the CEO of your internet provider did not wake up in a generous mood one morning and decide to give you a top of the line router. On top of that they are most likely charging you a month fee to "Rent" it from them.
We highly suggest getting your own modem and router or a combo unit!
You basically have two options when getting your own equipment.
Option 1 - Get a stand alone modem that is compatible with your internet provider. Also get a seperate router to send the internet signal throughout your house. This is a great option as you get to choose the quality, specs and brand of your router, but can be a little more pricey.
Option 2 - Get a modem / router combo unit that is compatible with your internet provider. This is definitely a better option then renting an inferior product from your internet provider, but can have some drawbacks. Your internet provider has a list of these devices that are compatible, but they are most likely made by the same company that made the one you currently have. If you are unable to get a better performing unit that is compatible then you are just removing the rental fee and not really optimizing your streaming experience.
Location, Location, Location!
Where do you spend the most time streaming video content? Where ever that is, is usually the best place to put your router. All homes are set up differently and wired differently, but most coax outlets in your house are wired for cable. This means that most people will be able to move their router into the room where you do the most streaming, connect everything and have the router right next to your Skystream TWO Streaming Box giving it fast and reliable internet speed.
Wifi or Ethernet?
Ethernet is the best way to go hands down! There is no reason that your main entertainment device that solely relies on internet to stream all of your favorite content hour after hour should be on Wifi!
People think once they plug in their wifi router there is a mile long bubble of blazing fast internet encompassing their house. This is simply not the case. Wifi signal is greatly affected by walls, glass and any other obstruction in its way. Your wifi signal fluctuates all of the time whether you are aware of it or not. It is a very convenient technology that is great for casual internet surfing, social media and anything else where a few second loss of internet speed is not a big deal. But if you lose data for a few seconds while streaming an HD video, you will encounter buffering. Click Here to read our article on what buffering is and how to minimize it.
This is your main source of entertainment and it relies solely on a strong and reliable internet connection, Hardwire your Skystream TWO Android TV Box and give it the fastest and most reliable internet connection possible.
If there is absolutely no way to get a hardwired internet connection at your house you can get a pair of Network Powerline Adapters which use the electrical wires in your house to send wired internet to your devices. While a hardwired connection is the best way to go, Network Powerline Adapters are a close second and definitely better than Wifi.
Internet Speed Maintenance
I plugged in my router 6 months ago, the blinky light things are blinking so I must be getting the fastest internet speed possible right? Wrong, Think again Bucko!
Your router, modem or combo unit are all little computers and need to be reset from time to time. Ever leave your computer on for a few days and notice that it feels a little slower? Your router does the same thing, just not as fast. We have seen people who are having slow internet speeds double their speed just by rebooting their router. While this is not always the case it is never a bad idea to reset your router from time to time. We know people who have their router on a timer that resets it once a day and people whose router is only rebooted when the power goes out during a storm.
We personally think once a day is a little too much. Once every two weeks or once a month should be just fine. Or if you ever notice your internet is acting a little slow just unplug your router for 30 seconds and then plug it in and let it load up.
- If you are streaming you need fast internet. Don't cheap out on your internet speed but also do not overpay for 500 Mbps.
- Get your own internet equipment. You will save money in the long run and have better internet speeds.
- Make sure your new equipment is compatible with your internet provider and read reviews before you buy any equipment.
- Move your internet equipment to the room where you stream the most.
- Hardwire your Skystream TWO with an ethernet cable directly to your router for the best streaming experience and speeds.
- Wifi is great for browsing Facebook on your phone, but not great for streaming.
- Reset your modem and or router at least once a month. Might as well go ahead and do it now. Don't worry we will be here when you get beck :)
We hope this was helpful for all of you awesome Skystreamer's out there! Have fun and Stream On!!!