Wifi is intended for lightweight use on phones and tablets, not as an effective alternative for running a fixed Ethernet connection. If you are too far away from your modem to run cable and want to use a wireless connection it’s recommended that you reduce your stream from 1080 to 720p to minimize the effect of lag spikes.
It takes a lot of bandwidth to stream a game, so make sure you have the bandwidth necessary to meet your needs. For more information about internet plans, read our post, Internet Requirements for Live-Streaming Games.
We recommend using an ethernet cable, if at all possible. It is the only way to ensure that you won’t have issues streaming, and you can typically broadcast at a much higher quality. If you must use WIFI for whatever reason, here are a few tips to minimize issues on your stream. Make sure that your computer is close enough to the router so that you have a full WIFI signal.
Upgrade Your Router
Technology is always improving, and if you are using an older router, you might not have the capabilities you need to live-stream. An example would be a router connected to a 2.4 GHz network. If your router isn’t capable of running at 5GHz, you can experience a lot of lag. Upgrade your router to a better device and make sure to set it up correctly.
Use an Ethernet Adaptor
If the issue is that you can’t track your ethernet cable through your house to your stream room, you might be able to use an ethernet adaptor for similar results. The adaptor expands your ethernet reach through your home’s electrical system, allowing you to have wired ethernet from anywhere in your home. While it doesn’t always meet everyone’s needs and the adaptor still needs to be in reasonable proximity to your router, it may allow you to stream at a higher quality than regular WIFI.
An example of an ethernet adaptor is the NETGEAR Powerline Adapter. It was created with streaming and online gaming in mind.
Don’t Stream on a Plan with Multiple Users
If someone else in your home is using WIFI, you will lose bandwidth for your stream. Depending on what they are doing online, it could result in a laggy stream, poor quality, or complete disconnects. Your Twitch or Mixer viewers are there to be entertained, and you continually have video or audio problems, they will leave.
You may be able to get two separate internet plans for your home if you can afford it. While it isn’t available everywhere, a different plan just for streaming could give you the speed you need.
Stream at a Lower Quality
Stream at a lower quality than you usually would. You could stream at 720p instead of 1080p, reduce your game settings, and run fewer applications related to your broadcast. While this may give you a chance to stream with WIFI, it does hurt the content you are producing for your viewers. Regardless of your stream on Twitch. Mixer, YouTube, or another streaming platform, competition is fierce, and quality is essential. Use lowing your quality as a temporary option while you explore how to get a wired connection.
WIFI Streaming on the Go
On-the-go streamers usually can stream using their unlimited phone data. While the quality may not be superb, it is possible. If you want to create a full set-up while on the go, you may have to look at other options.
If you want to stream at an event with hundreds of people in attendance, you will need your own private network. Everyone using the event’s network will take from your broadband capabilities. There are a few options you can consider.
One of the simplest (and cheapest if you have an unlimited data plan for your phone) is to use a MIFI device. The device turns your phone data into a private hotspot for your other devices. The speed you get through MIFI equipment is similar to what you would get from your phone in the same area. You still need a solid connection to stream. Check with your wireless provider to see what options work best with their devices. You can also get a device like the Skyroam Solis that offers pay-as-you-go plans.
You can also rent an Internet kit that provides 4G up to a certain amount of devices through companies like Trade Show Internet. This can be quite expensive, especially for new streamers.
If you need to stream in a remote area where there is no internet available, you might be able to do so through a long-distance WIFI connection. Read this guide from Epiphan Video for more information.
Depending on your content, streaming from WIFI is an option, but should be avoided if you can have a wired connection. A simple ethernet cable can help you produce a much more valuable broadcast. As technology changes, your ability to stream on WIFI will increase, but so will the options for live-streaming.