What is Buffering and How to Prevent it

This is a guest post by Cormac Reynolds. If you want to guest post on this site, then please read our guidelines here.

If you’ve ever streamed or watched a video or some footage online, you may have experienced buffering. Essentially, buffering is evident when the footage you are watching or streaming stops midway through and you have to wait for the bar at the bottom of the screen to move before play resumes.

Usually this buffering is apparent in the first few seconds of playback. Usually a transparent bar at the bottom moves and the first few seconds of footage are stored in the memory cache, but footage only starts a few seconds later when you often see a solid bar tries to catch the transparent one. Once the bars remain separate, there is more downloaded than playback and video should run smoothly.

Streaming services buffer video a little to prevent lagging and jerky video stopping every few seconds. If the speed of the video playback is faster than the speed of the download, then you get this jerky movement.

Even for those of us with good internet connections, buffering is there to compensate for the inconsistences of your connection. Fundamentally, it’s a safety mechanism to ensure good, smooth playback.

Of course, the faster your internet connection, the faster the download and the larger buffer, which means the smoother the playback?

There are a number of ways to prevent problems with playback and ensure there are no issues with buffering.

Pause It

The simplest way to prevent having to wait for a video to buffer is to, pause the video when it loads and allow a significant amount of buffer to build up. This means that a large portion of the video is downloaded before you start watching, giving the buffer a significant enough head start on the playback. This often takes time, but for the peace of smooth video is a necessity in many cases.

Connection

Perhaps you can get a faster Internet connection from your Internet service provider or perhaps you can change your provider. There can be a significant speed difference in ISPs and even ISP packages and where a buffer is always a necessary for one ISP it may not ever be needed for another.

Look through some of the Internet broadband sites on the Internet. Many provide the speed available in your area, meaning it’s very easy to compare.

Router

Often, the stock router you have received with your Internet connection is quite lacklustre and doesn’t provide the strongest possible signal. As you can imagine, some routers are significantly more technologically advanced than others.

Purchasing a router can make all the difference when it comes to Internet and buffering speeds. There are a number of excellent routers out there that don’t cost a significant amount of money, yet will really make the difference when it comes to broadband speeds in your home.

Ethernet Adaptors

One of the latest pieces of technology becoming increasingly common in homes and offices are Ethernet adaptors. These adaptors come in pairs and plug into the router’s Ethernet cable and send the Internet connection through the building’s electrical wires to another identical adaptor plugged into the wall beside the computer. This adaptor is then linked to the computer or laptop through another Ethernet cable. These devices can greatly speed up the connection speeds available and allow for significant increases in Internet speeds and so decrease the likelihood of mid video buffering.

These means generally don’t cost a large amount of money, if any money, but they can really end the irritating buffering many of us are irritated by. Use them to make buffering and the fragmented playback of video a thing of the past.

 

 ABOUT AUTHOR: This guest post was contributed by Cormac Reynolds, who writes about everything to do with broadband and the Internet. Go to http://www.broadbanddeals.co.uk/ to compare the latest broadband deals available in the UK.

 

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