Streaming isn’t the wave of the future — it’s already here. However, even though streaming devices are rapidly replacing cable boxes, satellite dishes, and their attendant fees, the whole process isn’t always smooth sailing. Buffering and pixelated images are annoying, and they interfere with your entertainment, but you can speed up the streaming on any device with a few clever hacks.
Particularly when you’re at home and connected to your network, consider disconnecting some. You have to remember that every device connected to your Wi-Fi drags down your speed. Do you own any smart devices, aside from your phone? As convenient as it is to turn off the lights from the comfort of your bed, all of those devices affect your ability to stream quickly and smoothly. Any attempts to watch a movie, TV show or video are likely to result in an endless, frustrating loop of buffering.
Your videos buffer any time your connection is sluggish. To get through whatever you want to watch, disconnect from the smart devices you aren’t currently using. You can reconnect them later. Just go into Settings, then into your Network Connection, and disable the Internet Sharing option, then finish disconnecting unnecessary devices. Shut down all your other open apps while you’re at it. On desktops and laptops, you can also turn off the Hardware Acceleration option in the Settings and an Advanced section of the Control Panel.
Stop relying on your wireless connections. They’re convenient, but devices that connect wirelessly don’t get the full brunt of your connection speed. Even if you get the fastest internet speed offered by your provider, wireless devices simply can’t receive any kind of data as fast as hard-wired connections. To stream high-quality videos, take the old-school approach. Revisit the days of dial-up and AOL chat rooms — that is, pull out your old Ethernet cord.
It’s not such an old-fashioned solution. Check your current streaming device, be it an Apple TV, Roku Ultra, or gaming console. The odds are excellent that there’s an Ethernet port hiding back there. Making the switch should result in noticeably faster speeds and smoother viewing.
You won’t always stream from the comfort of your home, which means you can’t rely on your Wi-Fi all the time. Streaming while you’re out and about is an exercise in frustration if you don’t have a reliable network. Surviving without Wi-Fi requires superior cell phone coverage from a carrier like T-Mobile. Do your due diligence to find a carrier with an LTE connection that lets you stream without interruption no matter where you are. That way, you can entertain yourself with movies and videos while you travel, during your commute, or even at the gym.
You know when usage picks up, and the internet slows down where you live. Anytime you share your connections with other people, you have to time your viewing habits carefully. Family members, roommates, and random folks around the neighborhood can cut your speed because of their own connected devices. Figure out when everyone else is otherwise occupied and seize the opportunity to lose yourself in few hours of YouTube videos.
This hack only applies to dual-band routers. Check to see if yours qualifies. If so, switch from the 2.4 GHz channel to the 5.0 GHz band. It’s not hard to guess that 5.0 GHz is better, mainly because the 2.4 GHz band is the most commonly used. Moving to another channel serves to limit shared connections further. Now, although the connection is faster, the range is short. You need to position your streaming device as close to the router as comfortably possible, at least during your streaming session.
There’s nothing worse than being mesmerized by a video, only to get interrupted because it’s buffering forever, but fortunately, it’s usually an easy fix. Deleting your cache of temporary internet files may also improve your device’s speed, especially on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Have you moved over to the streaming side yet?