For successful live streaming, you need a high-quality internet connection which are categorized into two flavors: bandwidth and bitrate. The more robust the connection, the better. It is always recommended that your internet connection be a hardwired Ethernet connection, and not WiFi. WiFi connections are more prone to fluctuations in quality and drops. The same can be said for mobile (3G/4G/LTE) connections which should only be used as backups or in certain remote locations.
If possible, your internet connection should be dedicated to the event and the encoders specifically. If a shared connection is all that is available, it is advised to test bandwidth during the same time of day as the event to check any congestion issues.
Certain times of day see more traffic than others on shared networks, so do some testing if possible. Depending on lead time for the event you can always ask your internal IT team or ISP for dedicated bandwidth.
When choosing your encoding settings, you should take into account your upload bandwidth. The more bandwidth the better, and the more room for error.
A general guideline to follow is, once you have determined the bitrate of the stream, multiply that x4, and request that amount of bandwidth. So, if you are streaming at 1mbps, the requested bandwidth should be 4mbps or more.
If you are streaming in HD, nothing less than 5mbps is recommended. Run a speed test on the network connection to make sure the requested bandwidth is provided (speedtest.net). If you find that you are having issues or drops in connection, check the speed and start lowering quality presets until you find a bitrate that works.
When choosing a bitrate, it comes down to bandwidth at the source of the event and at the end user location. Oftentimes you will have to decide on what bitrate most of the end user pool can handle. Many networks are robust in certain areas and limited in others. Work with your end users and your networking teams to determine what this looks like.
Motion and resolution will factor into determining bitrate and overall quality of live streaming. For productions with higher motion you will likely need to increase the bitrate, and the same will go for higher resolution.
Refer to your encoder manual for settings and guidelines in regards to resolution and motion.
Most encoders have default resolution of 640×360, and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
With any production and video ingest into the encoder, it’s best to match the incoming resolution settings. If you are capturing and sending from camera at 720 then the stream settings should be at 720.
Another key thing to remember is that bitrate and resolutions scale together (e.g., 640×360 – 500kbps, 1920×1080 – 2mbps).
To learn more about our video best practices for your next live streaming video event, check out our other blog posts here