By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Breaking Bad, Orange Is the New Black, Sense 8, The Act of Killing, Sherlock, Skyfall, and every other amazing movie, TV show, and documentary on Netflix means nothing if your Netflix streaming bandwidth is poor.
As noted by Forbes, Netflix “routinely monitors the speed performance of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) across the globe to see which ones are performing the best with its video streams during peak viewing periods.” And with this helpful information at its disposal, Netflix has graciously decided to share it with us via its always updated ISPs speed index. So if you’re unhappy with you current Internet provider, you can check which ones are performing better in your country and thus make the right decision to ensure the quality of your Netflix streaming experience.
What’s the Netflix ISP Speed Index?
The Netflix ISP Speed Index is a measure of prime time Netflix performance on a particular ISP and not a measure of overall performance for other services/data that may travel across the specific ISP network. Faster Netflix performance generally means better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions.
What Is the Most Optimal Netflix Streaming Bandwidth?
According to Netflix, the Internet speed recommended per stream for playing movies and TV shows is as follow:
- 0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
- 1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
- 3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality
- 5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
- 25 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD quality
You should probably look into getting at least 10 Mbps download speeds or higher at your home if you want to video stream. Even better is 20 Mbps or higher, but then you’re adding more cost to your monthly bill. Getting in between 10 Mbps and 20 Mbps is probably a sound compromise.
Conduct an Internet Speed Test
An Internet speed test will measure the ping time, download speed and upload speed of your Internet connection. Ping measures how fast you get a response back from the test server. The lower the number is, the better. If you play online multiplayer games, you’ll want less than 100 milliseconds.
As for uploading and downloading, measurements are given in bits per second. Higher numbers are better. Download speeds will typically be much faster than upload speeds
You can compare these numbers against the speeds that your Internet service provider promises you. Be sure to run multiple tests over several days at different times. This will give you on overall picture of your connection speed. You also might find specific periods that it’s slow.
Before you test your speed, close any other browser tabs. Also, stop any downloads you may have in progress. You will also want to use a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. A spotty Wi-Fi signal can affect the results.
Once you’ve gathered some numbers, Geek Squad covers the basics of how your internet speed was tested and what the download/upload numbers mean.
Steps Towards an Optimized Netflix Streaming Experience
Now that you know what the required speeds are:
1) Check your Internet speed (see ‘How to Conduct an Internet Speed Test’). Your results will be displayed. This includes your download speed, upload speed, ping, IP address, and your internet service provider (ISP)
If you aren’t getting the speed you’re paying for, call your provider and let it know. Once it gets your speed where it should be, Netflix streaming should improve.
If you are getting the speed you’re paying for, and it’s faster than the Netflix bit rate, call your provider and let it know there’s a problem with Netflix streaming. You might find out that you’re being throttled.
2) Use Netflix ISPs Speed Index to find out which internet service provider offers the best Netflix streaming experience in your country
3) Based on your results, decide whether or not you’d better stick with your current Internet provider or hurry to make a change and say “adios” to Netflix streaming interruptions and buffering switching to a competitor
Keep in mind that if Netflix is not yet available in your country, it doesn’t mean you have to keep buzzing them everyday to ask for their service in your country! You can just use Hotspot Shield to bypass region-restrictions and instantly access your favorite TV shows and movies from any country ;)