Faster Streaming

To stream or not to stream?  Well, have you decided?  If the answer is 'yes', I want to stream, and if you have been streaming and using Wi-Fi to do it, like many of us have been, then maybe, after seeing just how 'well' basic streaming works, your next wish would be:

How Can I Stream Faster?

Unfortunately, this is truly not a one-word answer.  It will depend on a few factors, which we will attempt to break down for you:

1) The presence (or lack thereof) of other devices in your house

2) Your Internet Service Provider (or ISP) connection speed

3) Your wireless Router and Network set-up

4) If using Wi-Fi, how far away your Wi-Fi Router signal is from the streaming device or Smart TV

Factor 1 - Devices - Cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens, baby monitors, alarm systems, wireless speakers, or anything else that usually uses the 2.4 GHz band can interfere with your Router's wireless signal, which like many laptops, or even the new 'Roku 2' streaming device, will be capable of handling only the 2.4 GHz band, unless otherwise noted in the specs.

5 GHz Wi-Fi networks, on the other hand, are not susceptible to this interference since they occupy a totally different frequency band.

Factor 2 - ISP - from our tests, even though the original Netflix requirement was for around 1 MBPS (megabits per second data transfer rate), we saw a marked improvement in streaming performance when speed was tested between 20 to 30 MBPS, as delivered by our ISP.

Factor 3 - Router - In theory, any kind of video streaming should be smoother and more defined in the 5 GHz band, due to the absence of interference in this frequency range (Factor 1), and also due to more efficient 'channel blocking' (techie talk), meaning the way the internal video data is assembled and transmitted across the wireless network when you stream using 5 GHz bandwidth.

Factor 4 - Distance - Generally speaking, though, the higher the frequency band, the less further a Wi-Fi signal can actually travel, in theory, hence the reason for most all 2.4 GHz signals to have a better range than their equivalent 5 GHz signal.

Faster Streaming - IPAD
Streaming on tablet

So...what does this all mean?  How do I stream faster?

Let us make some suggestions:

First of all, the wireless technology keeps evolving, and some of the latest Routers even have more powerful 5 GHz radios built-in, with better range, but here's what we can recommend at this point:

1) Make sure you have a fairly high-end Router - capable of both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands.

2) Make sure your ISP download speed is acceptable, at least 20 MBPS or more.

3) If your streaming device/Smart TV is say, 20 feet or less from your Wi-Fi Router, you may want to try using the 5 GHz band and test your streaming to check for any marked improvements versus the 2.4 GHz setting.

4) If your components are much further away from the wireless signal source, and you do not have a late model higher-end Router, stick to the 2.4 GHz band and ask your ISP for a 'speed-boost' (for more MBPS) which may or may not come with an additional charge, depending on your service contract.

5) Check with your streaming provider to make sure you are getting the most out of your 'data usage' or 'data bandwidth' setting from the provider, also known as 'playback settings'.  For example, with Netflix, make sure that your playback settings are always set to 'HD' and not some lower performance setting.

And as we say here at VideoCrib:

Give it a Try, and Happy Streaming!

Faster Streaming


Current ISP Speeds required, Netflix streaming:

.5 MBPS - original basic requirement

1.5 MBPS - Netflix recommended (original)

3.0 MBPS - SD - Standard Digital

5.0 MBPS - HD - (includes 720p or better)

25 MBPS - Ultra HD 4K

Basic Wireless chart:

Band2.4 GHz5 GHz
ChannelThree (3) non-overlapping channels23 non-overlapping channels
Standards Wireless B, G, & N Wireless A, N, & AC
Network Range Longer Range Shorter Range
Interference More Less

Wireless Dual-band Gigabit Router
Pictured: Asus RT-AC66U Wireless Dual-band Gigabit Router

Find it here.


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