Why Does My High Speed Internet Slow Down When Streaming Video?

By Kefa Olang

Allow videos to fully buffer.
i laptop 9 image by Harvey Hudson from Fotolia.com

When you stream videos, your high speed Internet is still likely to slow down if it is not fast enough to stream the titles you are watching. Video streaming in general puts a greater strain on your network than most Internet tasks, so it's important to know some of the ways you can improve speed while still watching your favorite videos.

Network Connection

Video streaming is one of the most bandwidth-intensive Internet operations. In general, video streaming requires fast network connections such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) to function properly. Even if you already have a broadband connection, the higher the video quality, the faster the network connection must be to stream titles properly. Websites that stream video vary in network speed requirements depending on their titles. A video streaming site such as Netflix recommends at least 3.0 Megabits per second to stream DVD quality titles and at least 5.0 Mbps to stream high-definition titles, while YouTube requires a broadband connection with at least 500 Kilobytes per second. If your network connection is not fast enough to stream video content, you will run into frequent buffering problems and your browser's speed and performance will slow down.

Browser and Plugins

Outdated plugins such as the Adobe Flash Player, or even an outdated browser, are common causes of speed problems when you stream video. Websites that enable video streaming now support high quality content that requires the latest browsers and plugins to work properly. Websites, such as Netflix, rely on Silverlight. Your network connection will likely slow down when streaming video if your browser or any of these plugins are outdated and incapable of working with the video sites properly. Install the latest browser updates and necessary plugins as they are made available to keep up with the Internet's changing content.

Browsing History

When you browse the Internet, your history is stored in a database. This database includes information such as search and download history, cookies and auto-fill information. By default, the browser uses this information to speed up performance. Although browsing history and cache can actually improve your network's speed and performance when you stream video, it can also cause display problems if the database hasn't been cleared in a while. If the browser is displaying pages slowly when you stream video, clear your browsing history.

Network Upgrades

High speed network connections range in speed and performance. If your network connection isn't fast enough to handle video streaming and Internet browsing at the same time, consider upgrading to a faster network connection. Closing other programs and applications that use the network can free up bandwidth and actually improve network speeds when you stream video, but only to a certain extent. If you don't know what your network connection speed is, contact your Internet Service Provider for this information. The Internet is becoming more advanced. Consequently, new content require even faster network connections.