If you wish to watch a stream then you need to have a good download speed. On the other hand, if you wish to broadcast your own stream then you need to have a good upload speed. The ideal download and upload speeds and other contributing factors will be discussed later in the article.
How to check the Internet Speed?
You can check your download and upload speed with sites like
Speedtest by Ookla. For more accurate results, it is advised that you run the speed test at least twice.
So, What is a good internet speed for live streaming in 2021
Minimum Upload internet speed for streaming
A higher upload speed translates to a consistent and smooth stream on any platform without problems.
The minimum upload internet speed for streaming largely depends on the video quality of the stream. A smooth stream at 720p 60fps on any platform good would require a stable connection of at least 5 Mbps. It is also important to note that there are fluctuations in the bandwidth of your connection so you are better off with as much speed as possible.
Upload Speed and Bitrate
Every streaming platform has a bit rate limit. Facebook caps its bitrate at 4000 kbps, YouTube allows a bitrate range of 1500-4000 kbps while twitch allows the user to stream video between 2500 to 4000 kbps.
Facebook and YouTube limit their audio bitrate to 128 kbps while twitch goes up to 160. Let’s just say your live stream is at 720p 30fps which translates to 4160 kbps of bitrate i.e 4.16 Mbps which begs the question that does a 4 Mbps upload speed sufficient to stream a 720p video at 30fps? the answer is No It is important to note that internet speeds fluctuate and a buffer of around 40% is recommended which means your upload internet speed for streaming a 720p 30fps video should be around 6 Mbps.
Minimum Download internet speed for watching a stream
Just like a good upload speed is required for a smooth streaming experience, a good download speed is required for a smooth watching experience. Twitch recommends a download speed of around 6 Mbps for a good watching experience without hiccups and the requirement to watch a stream on other platforms can be assumed on being along the same lines. It is important to note that the download speed required to watch a stream also depends on the type of content that you are watching, if the content you are watching is fast-paced (high frame rate) then a higher download speed would be required. The quality of the video (pixels) also depends on the download speed.
Recommended Internet Speed for Streaming
The recommended speed, given that your internet connection is
Synchronous (upload and download speeds are roughly the same) is 10 MBPS. It should not come as a surprise with the average broadband speed in India being 58 Mbps. Even if your connection is Asynchronous (upload and download speed is not the same), it is recommended that the upload and download speeds are at least 10 Mbps.
Other factors which affect the stream
A good streaming gear hugely influences the quality of the stream. So make sure that you have the right gear required for the type of stream you are going to do. A fast-paced stream like first-person shooter gameplay generally requires better gear than a slow-paced one.
A video encoder is used for all live streams and is very important because it converts your live video into a streaming-compatible format. Without encoding the user cannot broadcast their video on the platform to live stream or on-demand. The right encoder settings will go a long way in making your stream better. These settings include the Video codec, Frame rate, keyframe interval, audio codec, encoding and audio bitrate, audio channels, etc.
The streaming software is a very important part of a live stream, it can totally change the way your stream looks. You can customize every aspect of your stream from its Resolution to frame rate and Audio mixing to bitrate and every other minute detail. So choosing the right software is very important and comes just after choosing the right internet speed for streaming in the streaming checklist.
Check out our article on
OBS Studio Tips and Tricks and OBS Studio vs XSplit to make a better choice.
Other Tips for improving Stream quality
Use a Wired connection
Using a wired connection might not sound helpful at first but the Wi-Fi is prone to interferences from appliances like a microwave and other devices operating on a similar wavelength. The signal strength can also vary depending on the distance between the PC and the router and packet loss is also an unavoidable problem. All of this combined results in frame starter stutter and frame drops.
If you are stuck to Wi-Fi and cannot just drill a hole for the ethernet cable powerline adaptors can prove to be a substitute. Powerline adaptors are able to sustain a quality connection for a long time they can be attached to the power outlets with an ethernet port on them, they leverage power cables spread around your house as an extension for the Ethernet connection are as close to a direct connection as possible.
While they are of great utility but they are complex and costly to set up.
The number of devices sharing the internet connection when you are streaming will affect the stream so it is advisable that you remove the extra devices before you start streaming or turn off the Wi-Fi of the capability of the router.
Close programs that might eat bandwidth
After you have removed all the devices that could have interfered while you are streaming, you should close the programs which might eat the bandwidth, for example, Peer-to-Peer network programs that are notorious for this. Browser extensions that block ads and online trackers should be installed because ads and trackers consume bandwidth.
Using a cloud based streaming application
Multistreaming is one of the best ways for content creators to increase their reach and build their brand and while the idea of multi-streaming is good it puts the PC under quite a strain. To avoid that use a multi-streaming service that is cloud-based to ease the load on your PC.
Updating your Software and Hardware
Old drivers can potentially prevent the component to function properly and old components can sometimes be a bottleneck so updating both of them time to time is crucial.
This is all you need to know about the right internet speed for streaming, remember that there are other factors that affect the quality of your stream and there are ways through which you can get the best stream possible from your current network speed.