Internet streaming has transformed from an innovative way to transfer real-time data to a major part of how most popular internet content is created and consumed. From the content creators on platforms such as Twitch TV, YouTube, and Facebook to the new age of television on apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there is a lot of data being tossed around and viewed as soon as the first few bits arrive.
There are many things that can go wrong for the sender to receiver in this age of nearly seamless internet performance, and if you've noticed some rampant failure or difficulty during streaming, a few of these details can help you compact those problems into a few major groups.
How Does Streaming Work?
Instead of waiting for a whole movie or audio recording to download before viewing or listening to the file, streaming technology sends the information out in quick, measured bursts. You're able to consume the internet content as it arrives, delivering the appearance of seamless delivery or live feed.
One important detail about streaming technology is how it differs from the more well-known forms of downloading. When you download a file, your computer and the server sending information will verify the information being sent for both completion and security purposes.
This is to reduce problems that happened in earlier phases of the internet--but as late as the 1990's and early 2000's--where files could be corrupted during delivery. Instead of relying on checking data, streaming data attempts to get it right the first time with technology available to all forms of network transfer.
A Deeper Look At Streaming Failure
When streaming data fails, it's much more noticeable. Non-live streaming data will either become discolored with the telltale blocky, digitized appearance--similar to the green blocks that plague digital TV when poor performance starts--and will be delayed.
The buffering process takes place in early failure scenarios, which is a hybrid of normal downloading and streaming. During the buffering pause, a small amount of the content is downloaded before resuming the session, and this will hopefully give your connection or the streaming server enough time to continue loading ahead.
If it's live content, the data is lost forever. You can repeat words in a call or replay a recording, but that point in time won't be retrieved.
Troubleshooting Is Limited, But Effective
You can't do much about streaming problems aside from making sure that your system and network equipment is performing properly. After that, you need to contact the Internet Service Provider.
The troubleshooting path is fairly simple: computer, network cable, network device, wall outlet. Each of those sections have their own troubleshooting areas, which can branch out into their own solutions. Here's a brief overview of where to look:
- Your computer or viewing device. The most likely problems will be a virus using too many resources and slowing down the system, or if your computer can't handle a streaming program or browser while handling other tasks. An Information Technology (IT services) professional can perform both virus removal and upgrades. Non-personal computer devices need to be checked for overheating.
- Network Cable. Loose connections are rarely an issue, as precise data needs chooses to thrive on a stable connection or nothing at all.
- Your network device. Modems and routers are computers, and occasionally need refreshing. Restart your network device to clear old settings that may slow the system down.
Contact an IT services professional to get guided assistance with streaming problems whether you're a creator or a consumer.