User experience is a crucial factor when you are live streaming, and during a live broadcast buffering is one of the worst user experiences. Every broadcaster and event organizer's main aim is to deliver live streams without any buffering across the globe. There are lots of factors that affect the live streams, which cause the streams to buffer.

Here are a few of the main factors which cause bad user experience..

  1. You are not using a content delivery network.
  2. Poor internet connection from the encoder to live stream ingest point.
  3. Streaming without adaptive bitrate transcoding.
  4. Streaming Software / Encoder is overloaded

Delivering Live Video Streams Using CDN.

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is an essential factor when you are doing live streaming. CDN's make sure the data is available in a server closest to the user, and this results in lower latency and makes the stream start faster for the users.

Most CDN networks have multiple servers around the Globe, and when we are live streaming, it caches the latest HLS Chunks in the servers around the World. When a user requests the stream, the content gets delivered from the closest server from the user. For e.g., You are streaming from London, United Kingdom, and if you are not using a CDN, you might be streaming to a server in London. If there is a user from Australia who wants to watch the stream then the user will be requesting the content from the server, which is in London, which is very far from the user and there is a high chance to cause buffering.

On the other hand if the stream is delivered via a CDN then the user will be requesting to a server in Australia and the content will be delivered via the closest server from the user which reduces latency and user can experience a buffer free streaming.

Using a live streaming CDN is mandatory, and Castr is powered by Akamai CDN, which is the world's best CDN with more than 150,000 servers across the world.

Poor Internet Connection

When you are streaming, you need to make sure your Internet Service Provider is good, and you have enough bandwidth for streaming. If you are streaming at 5mbps, we suggest you allocate at least 50% buffer, which means you should have a 10mbps connection.

You should always use a wired connection instead of using Wifi. There will be packet loss, and the poor wifi connections cause higher latency, which make the stream buffer due to dropped frames.

Streaming without Adaptive Bitrate Transcoding.

Live video transcoding is very important, and if you want to deliver content across the globe, then you should use Adaptive Bitrate Transcoding. You should opt for a live streaming provider that supports adaptive bitrate transcoding for proper live stream delivery. You can read more about the importance of adaptive bitrate transcoding in this article - https://castr.io/blog/live-video-transcoding-importance/

Streaming Software / Encoder is overloaded.

When you are streaming, you should make sure you are having a very powerful computer or a good quality encoder. If you are using a software encoder, then you should make sure your CPU usage is normal and not high. If CPU usage is high, then frame drops happen, which causes the stream to buffer.

If you are using a hardware encoder, make sure it's good enough to handle the specified bitrate. Don't overload the encoder by specifying multiple outputs; It's always good to stress test the encoder before going live.

If you are looking for a stable live streaming solution then we can provide the best solution, we have multiple live stream ingest points across the globe and live streams will be delivered via Akamai CDN.  Not just that Castr comes with Adaptive Bitrate Transcoding so you can deliver the streams without any trouble across the globe.