Does an Internet Connection Affect Netflix?

By David Nield

Netflix requires a strong Internet connection to stream video to devices.
i Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Netflix streaming video service requires a stable Internet connection in order to stream content without breaks or buffering. A download speed of at least 0.5 megabits per second is required to use the Netflix service on computers or devices hooked up to a Wi-Fi signal. Netflix mobile apps on Android and iOS can use cellular data networks to stream content provided the connection speed is fast enough.

Internet Connection Speeds

According to the official support documentation, an Internet connection download speed of at least 0.5Mbps is required to stream Netflix content successfully. A connection speed of at least 1Mbps is recommended, with 3Mbps recommended for DVD quality and 5Mbps recommended for HD quality. The Netflix website and apps automatically adjust the video playback quality to match the available Internet connection speed. You can set the maximum video quality allowed from the "Manage video quality" link on the Your Account page.

Improving Internet Speeds

To improve your Internet connection speed, shut down any other applications or open browser tabs that may be downloading data from the Web. Switch off any other computers or devices hooked up to your local network that aren't currently being used. If you have the option of connecting your Netflix computer or device to your router via a wired connection, this will typically provide a faster and more stable connection than Wi-Fi can.

Netflix on Mobile Devices

Netflix's official mobile apps are able to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or cellular networks. If you are experiencing problems with poor quality video streaming on mobile devices, it's possible that your download speed is not high enough. Switch to an area with stronger signal or switch to a more stable Wi-Fi connection to try and resolve the issue. As on the desktop site, the Netflix apps adjust the video streaming quality automatically based on the available connection speed.

Troubleshooting Issues

Persistent problems with video quality may be due to a slow Internet connection or another issue. Use a speed test utility on your computer or mobile device to examine your current download speed, and check if other sites and apps are experiencing problems. If the issue is not caused by a slow or broken Internet connection, clearing your browser cache, reinstalling the browser or reinstalling the Netflix app on your mobile device may be enough to resolve the issue. Check the Netflix Twitter page to see if there are any current technical problems with the Netflix platform.