What is Buffering?
Buffering is a term familiar to nearly everyone who uses the internet. Buffering pre-loads streaming data or any other media file while the user is watching or listening to it.
The buffered data is stored as a temporary cache on the device before the stream begins. Think of the buffered data as downloaded data. Once the stream starts, the buffered data enables users to stream the content without any disruptions.
Nearly all video streaming services have buffering enabled on their platform to provide users with an uninterrupted streaming experience. However, you need a good internet connection for the buffered data to be loaded before your stream.
What Causes Buffering to be Slow?
When we refer to buffering, it mainly relates to streaming or audio data being loaded slowly or not loading at all. Phrases such as ‘it’s stuck at buffering’ or ‘it’s still buffering’ mean that the data is taking longer to load and preview.
In this case, the pause in the video or an audio file is referred to as buffering, and it occurs when your internet speed is too slow to download the amount of data needed. In such a situation, your device waits for enough data to load before it begins playing it. This is done to prevent lag in the stream and provide users with a relatively better streaming experience.
Buffering isn’t always constant as it varies with the internet speed. Buffering will fluctuate when downloading video or audio data but remain ahead of you if the internet connection is fast and steady.
Sluggish internet speed will cause inconsistency in data packets being loaded for the stream, meaning you will be unable to stream high-quality videos. This could spoil the excitement of binge-watching your favorite TV shows or movies.
How to Stop Buffering When Streaming:
Your local internet service provider promised you blazing fast internet speeds. However, you’re still getting the usual buffering icon when streaming YouTube videos, Netflix, or any other video.
Slow buffering can be annoying, and not only does it waste your time, but it ruins the streaming experience. Here are some steps which can get rid of the slow video buffering icon you get while streaming videos:
Note: This method is for Windows devices.
Turn Off Hardware Acceleration
If you’ve got outdated hardware, the chances are that you may experience slow loading and buffering when streaming videos. To get around this problem, you can turn off hardware acceleration, which can drastically improve your streaming experience.
Head over to Adobe Flash Player Settings and untick the option that says ‘Enable hardware acceleration.’
Update your Software/Hardware/Graphics Card Drivers
It is always good to update your software and hardware to get the best of everything. While upgrading the hardware can be costly, the software can be updated without any additional costs. Make sure to update your web browser and the drivers to your graphic card.
Lower the video quality
While you may have a high-speed internet connection, it’s not always that you’ll get high download and upload speeds. Downtimes are frequent, and you may want to tweak the settings of your video. Sometimes, lowering the video to 720p or 480p might do the trick.
Reserve to the video streaming service
When you’re streaming a video online, it’s best to close other applications that are not in use. Open apps consume bandwidth in the background, and you may not know about it. This can drastically affect your streaming experience.
Close all unnecessary apps and focus the internet bandwidth to the streaming service only. That way, the streaming service will get the most internet consumption preference.
Use a wired connection instead of wireless
There’s no doubt that WiFi is convenient. However, the WiFi technology has its own set of drawbacks. From a privacy standpoint to low signals, WiFi is not exempted from some downsides.
Usually, if you’ve got WiFi configured and you’re away from a router or have walls in between, you might experience low signal strength, which can drastically affect your video streaming quality.
The lower the WiFi strength, the weaker the streaming experience. Also, WiFi tends to eat your internet speeds. Opt for a wired connection on desktops for optimal video streaming. On the other hand, for wireless devices, make sure you’re well within the Wi-Fi range.
Use a Virtual Private Network
Are you still facing buffering issues? Your ISP is throttling (or slowing down) your internet connection. They usually resort to this practice when a user is consuming too much bandwidth, which is the case for activities like streaming on Netflix (or any other platform). Fortunately, you can avoid these slowdowns with a VPN – it will hide your traffic from your ISP, stopping them from using deep packet inspection to throttle you!
In a Nutshell
It won’t matter if you’ve got the fastest internet connection if your ping speed is high. Ping is the response time to your internet request. Ideally, ping should be less than 30ms. If you’re getting ping speeds which of less than 10ms, you won’t experience slow buffering issues.
High-speed internet but slow buffering is a common issue faces by many. Ensure that your ISP is providing you a smooth internet connection for optimal video streaming experience.