Does Netflix Instant Streaming Work With Wireless?

By Matt Skaggs

Netflix is available on many devices, not just computers.
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With Netflix's broad selection of TV shows and movies, Watch Instantly gives you an enormous amount of entertainment to enjoy. At times you may prefer to simply use a computer to watch movies, and in other situations connecting another device wirelessly may be a better option. You can in fact enjoy the convenience of streaming TV shows and movies using a wireless Internet connection. If you already have broadband Internet, you only need to purchase a Wi-Fi router; otherwise you can use wireless Internet without additional cost.

Wireless Access

As long as you have a Netflix Watch Instantly membership, you can use wireless Internet to access Netflix content. If you purchase a wireless router, you simply need to plug it into your modem using an Ethernet cable and work through the initial setup for the router. After that you will have a Wi-Fi network that devices can connect to for Internet access. Different routers have different setup methods, so you should follow the instructions in the router's documentation.

Streaming Requirements

Your Internet connection does need to meet certain requirements if you want to watch Netflix movies, regardless of whether you use a wireless or wired connection. You must have an Internet connection of at least 0.5 Mbps (megabits per second), which is 500 Kbps (kilobits per second). With an Internet connection at that speed, videos will be in poor quality and may pause sometimes to buffer. Faster Internet connections, such as 1.5 Mbps or 3 Mbps, allow for standard-definition videos and DVD quality videos, respectively, and 5 Mbps or higher allows you to view movies in full HD.

Connection Issues

Under some circumstances you may have problems viewing Netflix movies over wireless, even with a fast enough Internet connection. With a wired connection, either you're online with a proper connection or else you're not; with a wireless connection, you may be online but have a weak connection. If your wireless signal is weak because the router is too far away or obstructed, Netflix movies may be unable to play properly. Also, if you or another person is using the Internet on another device, that could reduce the data available for watching Netflix, meaning video quality could suffer, though this would be the case even with a wired Internet connection.

Netflix Devices

While you can simply use a Web browser on a computer to view Netflix movies, you can also use many other devices if you prefer. Gaming consoles, including the PS3, Wii, Wii U and Xbox 360, all have software available that allow you to watch Netflix movies. Also, many smart TVs have apps for Netflix, and many mobile devices, including iOS and Android devices, have Netflix apps.