How annoying is it when you want to stream that latest video. Two minutes after you sit down with a plate of munchies and a beer the video starts spluttering, that little circle appears, and your device begins buffering. There are a large number of possible reasons for buffering, and an equally large number of solutions. Below are some of the more common problems and how to correct them.
Is the Problem at Your End:
Try another website. Pick a video and begin streaming that, if the problem persists try another website to double check, but the chances are it’s a problem your end.
Check Your Wireless Router:
If you’re using Wi-Fi, check your router, can the signal pass easily from router to laptop? Has the cat knocked the router behind the sofa, or have the kids been trying to find out how it works and folded the aerial? If the router’s in a different room can you move it to the room with your laptop or other devices in?
Try Changing Wi-Fi Channels:
Most routers have 13 channels you can use, the output is spread to prevent ‘clustering,’ others local to you all using the same channel, and slowing the system down. Maybe a close neighbour has had Wi-Fi installed, and is inadvertently using the same channel. Check you ISP’s Wi-Fi instruction booklet or website before channel changing.
Similarly make sure your password is YOUR password, don’t hand it out. The more people who piggyback your router the slower it will work.
Are You on Fibre Optic Broadband:
Many claims are made by ISP’s regarding the speed of their fibre broadband, in many instances that’s all it is…claims.
The majority of streaming services work at around 1Megabit per second (Mbps), perfectly adequate for streaming without buffering problems. Should you have reason to believe your broadband speed is the cause of the problem, download a broadband speed checker. Consider upgrading to a faster package, or changing your provider.
Check your version of Flash Player:
If everything else seems fine, check your version of Adobe’s Flash Player. If you are running an outdated version with old drivers, update it. A visit to Flash Player’s website will walk you through the process.
Reduce Picture Quality:
Bummer, that’s why you bought an HD monitor, nonetheless, if your screen is 24” or less, you are hardly likely to notice the difference. High definition means extra data, the lower quality feed you can accept, the less data used, the less likelihood of video buffering.
Shut Down other Pages and Applications:
Ensure you have no other web pages open when you want to stream your video. With the amount of video advertising on websites, and continuously changing banners on others, there could be an inordinate amount of data being used you’re not even aware of. Make sure your data stream goes where you want it – into streaming that latest movie.
Optimise Your PC:
If none of the above makes any real improvement to your system, and your PC or laptop is five or six years old – it could be all about optimisation.
Over a surprisingly short time from new, your device will begin optimising itself to what it thinks you require. And that’s just the problem, if you are suffering buffering problems; it’s obviously not what you require.
There are a number of excellent optimisation tools available which, although not free, will adjust settings, fix errors, improve connectivity, and speed up and stabilise your system. Best of all, you don’t need to be a techno-geek to use one.