Live Streaming Problems and Troubleshooting Steps

Live streaming is one of the biggest forms of media consumption in today’s age. It refers to media simultaneously recorded and streamed over social media or broadcasted in real-time. Most of the live streams these days include high-profile interviews, concerts, news, forum discussions, functions, etc.

Even video conferences are streamed in real-time through designated apps. Live streaming is an effective way of communicating on a mass level in real-time. However, sometimes, due to network issues or technical issues, live streamers face a lot of problems like time lag, etc.

Some of these issues are easily solved by re-establishing the internet connection or checking if the device is working properly. However, sometimes these issues may persist even after that may require some troubleshooting.

Live streaming problems and solutions

5 Common Live Streaming Problems and Solutions

For those who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy, dealing with live streaming issues can be a headache. But here is an easy step that everyone should know and we will cover a list of some problems and steps to troubleshoot them: 

  1. Restart Your Devices

Yes, just by simply restarting your modem/router, and streaming device, you may be able to solve the problem. Have you tried to turn off and on your device again? 

Apart from that, you are also encouraged to switch to another streaming service to test the possibility of failure on the current video streaming platform.

If these simple steps cannot solve your streaming problem, then proceed to the next steps that may need little knowledge to solve the problem.

  1. Internet Connection Issues

The most common reason for live stream problems would be the poor quality of the internet. Some internet connections, though fit enough for other tasks, may not be up to the process of streaming a high-quality live. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) provides access to the internet via cable lines and a modem. 

DSL usually provides a max of 1.5-2.5 Mbps upload rate, which isn’t very promising for HD quality live stream. However, ADSL and VDSL are capable of much higher upload capacity, which is good for a real-time stream. However, if the live stream consists of multiple devices and/or equipment, it is always better to get a fiber connection. 

Fiber-optic internet or fiber connection can achieve an upload rate of around 940 Mbps; making it a lot faster and preferable than cable internet. This technology uses fiber-optic cable to send data and is hassle-free, unlike cables or modems.  

Fiber connection requires a host of equipment, which is why, typically, a technician sent by the ISP company is required to set it up.

Also read: 7 Best Streaming Service for Movies & TV Shows Compared

  1. Encoder Issues

An encoder is a device that takes audio and video content from various sources used during a live such as a camera, microphone, etc., and compresses that media into a suitable digital format for live streaming.

Most live streams require a software or hardware encoder to convert raw video into a format suitable for streaming. The challenge is to find an encoder that is compatible with the devices being used to produce the video. Modern encoders have a list of setting options, and one needs to figure out the right configuration to make sure the encoder and other devices are compatible.

Here are the steps to ensuring a compatible connection with the encoder and other streaming devices:

i.) Choosing the right Encoder: Research which encoder will suit your devices the best and choose based on reviews.

ii.) Encoder Settings: One needs to make sure that the encoder is pointed at the streaming server, which delivers the stream to end-users. Each kind of encoder has a baseline setting that needs to be adhered to. Otherwise, configuration problems may arise.

iii.) Test-Runs: It is always advised to run a few tests before the actual live stream. In that way, it is easier to locate and troubleshoot problems before anything is broadcasted.

  1. Malfunctioning Equipment

Of all the basic equipment needed for live streaming, if one of them malfunctions, it affects the whole live stream, and leads to quality loss as well as lagging. There may be many reasons for malfunctions, from old faulty hardware to improper configuration to network congestion. It is advisable to check and use good quality equipment for a live stream.

However, if the issue arises from network congestion, it can be easily solved through these steps:

i.) If it’s a LAN (Local Area Network) connection issue, one of the solutions can be to limit the internet usage to only essential users. As background internet usage isn’t readily apparent, it may lead to heavy traffic on one’s network which will instead strain the live stream.

ii.) Sometimes, when monitoring one’s own live stream, the quality of the network may be reflected badly on one’s own network. However, it doesn’t affect the quality of people who are downloading the live stream. 

iii.) WAN (Wide Area Network) congestion occurs due to traffic outside one’s network. It is essential to check beforehand what time of the day the internet usage peaks and test-run the live stream for that time interval beforehand. This will make clear if any congestion issues are probable.


  1. Bandwidth Throttling

 Throttling refers to when there is available bandwidth, but ISP’s throttle (reduce the bandwidth) significantly after a certain amount of usage. This affects live streams extremely because it appears around 20-40 minutes after the live has begun streaming.

Here’s a simple test to check if one’s ISP is throttling the bandwidth:

i.) Run a control measurement of the location’s bandwidth and note the results.

ii.) Conduct a stream with the same bandwidth that will be used during the live stream for a minimum of an hour.

iii.) Stop the stream and conduct a test with an app that detects ISP throttling.

iv.) Note the results.

By the end of the test, the results will make clear if the ISP is throttling or not. If yes, then it is advisable to contact the provider and resolve the issue. However, if the issue persists, then it is better to upgrade to another ISP.

Live Streaming Problems: Troubleshooting Tips and Fixes

Consider Other Streaming Service?

The very last solution is to try upgrading your existing service to a new Apple TV, Android TV device, Roku, Fire TV, or Chromecast, etc. especially if you have already used the existing one for a long time.

Conclusion

These are a few simple ways of troubleshooting live streaming problems. However, there can be other issues that lead to malfunctions in a live stream. Sometimes the app that is being used to host the live stream may cause technical glitches.

Other issues can arise from using an outdated device or when the newest version of the live stream app isn’t compatible. Other than that, you can implement all the solutions as suggested and hopefully, it helps to solve your streaming problems.

Today, live streams of exclusive events like celebrity concerts, one-time events, etc. are monetized by companies for profit. It is mostly seen as a fun way to connect with social media followers or conduct discussions with peers. At the same time, knowing and being able to solve the potential live streaming problems is absolutely crucial.

Author: Powell Wong

Powell Wong is a chief editor and writer at SmartPoint Inc., the company that manages this website. He graduated from university in computer science, has over 20-year experience in the field, and mainly writes about multimedia software for this site.