Choosing the best internet for streaming

Woman streaming on tablet device

More people are ditching cable TV in favor of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Twitch and on-demand television. But to have the best experience streaming your favorite movies and shows, you need a fast and reliable internet connection. 

The speed of your internet connection can affect the quality of your viewing experience because your connection has to run fast enough to support your streaming activities. Slow connections can cause choppy videos, distorted audio and slow buffering of content, and you often need devices with the right hardware or software systems to stream certain content. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the recommended internet speeds for streaming and give you tips on getting the most out of your internet connection for the best streaming experiences.

What are online streaming services?

Streaming refers to an online delivery method for content. Streaming services allow you to listen to music and watch videos by continually downloading small amounts of data at a time, which produces a continuous stream of audio and video content.

Live streaming with services like Twitch is also considered streaming, but it’s a bit different because the event is being recorded and broadcast in real time. You can stream the event, but playback isn’t available until the recording has ended, and you won’t have access to the recording if it isn’t shared with you.

What to look for in good internet for streaming

A good internet speed for streaming depends on your needs and activities, including how many devices you have in your household and what type of internet you have. In most cases, the faster internet connection you have, the better. Video streaming uses large amounts of data, so a faster internet connection will transfer more data packets per second.

If you’re looking for good internet for streaming, you’ll want to know what your internet plan offers. To know if you need a faster internet connection here are some things to consider.

Internet speed Mbps

Internet speed refers to how fast your connection allows information to travel from one place to another. The most common measurement of internet speed is megabits per second, or Mbps. Very slow speeds are often measured in Kbps, and significantly fast internet speeds are expressed in Gbps.

When upgrading or choosing your internet plan, just remember that the more Mbps you have, the faster your internet speed—and ultimately, a better streaming experience.

Network reliability

The reliability of your internet connection depends heavily on your internet service provider. It might be difficult to measure reliability before you sign up for service, but you can learn a lot by reading reviews. Look for information on how often the ISP’s services are down or how often they shut down for maintenance. Some issues might be out of the ISP’s control, but if there are multiple complaints about poor connections, it could spell trouble.

You should also check what connection types the ISP offers. Currently, fiber-optic internet is the most reliable connection, with cable internet coming in at a close second. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s Eighth Measuring Broadband America Report, both connection types are better than DSL or satellite internet at consistently delivering fast internet speeds.

No data caps

Streaming and using internet applications consumes a lot of data. For example, streaming video content at standard definition on YouTube uses approximately 562.5MB of data per hour (up to 3GB per hour for high-definition video), and Netflix uses about 1GB of data per hour (up to 7GB per hour for 4K ultra-HD video).

This alone is why you should look for an ISP that offers no data caps, which are limits imposed on customers’ usage of internet services that typically result in fees if you exceed the limit. For a lightning-fast Fiber network with no data caps, check out Frontier. Our Fiber Internet also comes with whole-home Wi-Fi and a free router. Find out if Frontier Internet is available in your area.

What’s the best internet speed for streaming?

The recommended internet speed for video streaming varies based on the content you’re viewing. We’ve put together a list of recommended internet speeds for different streaming platforms.

0–10 Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Checking email
  •  Browsing websites
  •  Browsing social media
10–50 Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Connecting multiple devices
  •  Streaming videos
  •  Online gaming for one player
50+ Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Streaming videos in HD
  •  Online gaming for multiple users
  •  Video chatting with friends

Tips to boost online streaming performance

You want to have the fastest, most reliable internet connection for your home. But if you’re like most households, you probably have more than one device connected to Wi-Fi. There could also be factors other than internet speed affecting your streaming experience. Here are some tips to ensure the best performance of your streaming services.

Limit apps running in the background during your stream

Online activities like web browsing, online shopping, social media, and sending and receiving emails all consume data. And most apps operate even when they’re not open or in use. While you’re streaming, it’s best to make sure the apps you use regularly aren’t running.

Limit other users on your network

Every device on your network uses bandwidth, which refers to how much data transfer your internet connection can handle at one time. The more devices connected at the same time, the more bandwidth you’ll need.

You and your household may want to consider downloading TV shows, movies or music so that you’re not constantly streaming. This way, you can also limit other users on your network when you need to get on a Zoom call for work or school.

Use an ethernet cable

An ethernet cable is a cord that runs from a router or modem to your computer, giving it dedicated internet access at full capacity. Wireless connection is convenient, but more devices using the network wirelessly can also slow down your connection. For devices that regularly download considerable amounts of data, like gaming consoles or desktop computers, consider using an ethernet cable instead of relying on Wi-Fi.

Keep your router nearby (for Wi-Fi signals)

If you use a wireless internet connection, your signal decreases when you move away from your router. Physical objects like walls can slow your connection down, so the closer you are to the router, the better your chance of getting the max internet speed available.

Make sure your router is current

The router is the switchboard for all the different connections among the devices on your network. This is why the quality of your modem or router can also affect the speed of your network. Check to make sure you don’t have an old router that isn’t capable of transmitting the speed and strength of your internet signal.

Most of the time, the router from your internet service provider is enough for basic internet activities. But if you have four or more devices connecting to the network, or if you stream or play games online, you’ll probably benefit from a router upgrade.

Choose a good internet service provider

Your internet service provider controls the incoming speed of your internet service based on the plan you have with them. Now that you know how much internet speed you need for each activity, you might need a higher service plan for your streaming needs.

For fast internet, check out Frontier’s high-speed internet plans and Fiber Internet plans – ranked as the Top 5 Fastest Fiber Internet and Most Affordable Internet in 2020. You can stream away with no data caps and no annual contracts. Find out if Frontier Internet is available in your area.

Find the best internet service for your streaming needs

Finding good internet service providers, checking their coverage and speeds they offer, and browsing their customer service reviews is easy. Look for ISPs that offer multiple plans to fit your needs. You never know when you might need more or less internet speed. You also don’t want to be stuck in a contract.

As you search for the best internet service, here’s an easy way to find and compare a list of available providers in your area.

Find which of the fastest ISPs are available near you


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