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How much bandwidth is needed to stream a live video

How much bandwidth is needed to stream a live video

Friday April 13, 2018,

4 min Read


Live streaming has become one of the most effective strategies to be implemented by businesses in reaching out to a large audience across the world. For all intents and purposes, live streaming breaks geographical barriers. All kinds of events, right from local football matches to a big product launch, can be streamed live.

Now as we talk about the scope of audience, it is very evident that if you ought to reach out to audiences who are in regions thousands of miles away from your place, the video you stream should have enough bandwidth to accommodate all the viewers. Though there is no exact figure of bandwidth that would determine the quality of the live stream, it is highly important to know the correct bandwidth that suits your requirements.

To answer the question of how much bandwidth do I need to stream video, there are a couple of factors you need to take into consideration. Here we shall discuss everything about these factors and the live streaming software that would determine the bandwidth.

1. Live Stream Type:

The type of live stream is nothing but the broadcast quality of the video. There are in turn two factors that define the quality of live stream videos:

i. High Definition Video:

High Definition (HD) videos are said to be ten times better than the Standard Definition (SD) videos in terms of quality. Users today prefer HD streaming over the others as they are not willing to compromise on quality.

2. Download and Upload Speeds:

You must be aware of the fact that, the seamlessness of a video you stream live is a product of two things – the upload speed which is the rate at which you can upload the content on to the web and the download speed which is the rate at which the content on the internet reaches your virtual space. In general, these speeds are measured in terms of Kbps or Mbps.

Now, in the case of live streaming, both the download and upload speeds have an equal role to play. Higher upload speed ensures more data being streamed at once. On the other side higher download speeds is a concern to the users who receive the broadcast video. More often than not, we observe that the upload speeds are lower than the download speeds, thus making it clear that having a very good internet connection that helps you download content quickly is not enough to broadcast the content at a high speed.

One more important thing you must be aware of is that the internet speeds offered by the companies are the upper limits of the bandwidths they provide. This means, if your company boasts of providing 20 Mbps, it is not necessarily the same speed you will receive. You may just receive only one fourth or a half of it. Thus you need a platform that controls the speed of your video transfer by regulating the upload speed and making it a seamless experience for the user.

3. Bitrate:

Bitrate is another factor that comes into the picture because all the users may not have high download speeds. Also, multiple bitrates stream video at different speeds for different devices, for example, different stream speed in mobile and a laptop. Thus, to support multiple bitrates, the broadcasters are required to stream multiple feeds simultaneously. However, the latest solution in the market is the adaptive bitrate streaming technique that adapts a single stream to support multiple bitrates. Interesting right?

4. Video Format:

Though there are several video formats in practice today, many of them are falling behind in the race over a period of time. The format of the video must be concluded keeping in view the different kinds of devices that might be used to watch the live stream. Here are the two most popular video formats that are in use today:

i. HLS Format:

HLS format which is HTTP Live Streaming format is being used by many broadcasters today as it is supported by the majority if the flash players and is ideal for use on any kind of device.


MPEG-DASH is recommended for use in the case where multiple streams are broadcasted, which otherwise require high upload bandwidths.

Keeping in view the above factors, you can decide on the live streaming software  and the best bandwidth to stream your live video without any hassles. Keep watching this space to know more about live streaming and related topics.