When it comes to internet video, and live streaming in particular, stuttering and buffering frustrates everyone, and it’s too common. Reliable webcasts are achieved with proper planning and knowledge which enable you to ask the right questions and procure the right solutions.
In this white paper you’ll learn what you need to know to avoid the major pitfalls that too often befall live streamed events. It should be noted that the terms live streaming and webcasting are interchangeable, both are used to describe events broadcast on the internet.
There are many critical factors event planners and organizers should be aware of to ensure reliability and success. Your venue internet connection is the backbone of a successful broadcast. Proper vetting, configuration and testing of your venue’s internet connection, in advance, is critical.
Key #1 – Require a wired internet connection from your venue. WiFi frequencies are often congested and not reliable. Using WiFi is a risk you cannot afford to take.
Key #2 – Always, always ask IT for a dedicated VLAN. What’s a dedicated VLAN? It’s a dedicated, software defined network that ensures that only those devices assigned to it (ideally just the internet connection for your live stream) can access its bandwidth allotment. VLAN’s are easy to create and should not be expensive to procure.
Why you really want one: venues often have thousands of guests on site and most will want to be using the venue internet connection. You don’t want your webcast competing with all of those other people for a finite pool of bandwidth.
Key #3 – Bandwidth – you need enough of it. The amount of data (live video) that’s flowing through your pipe (internet) during your webcast is going to vary. Sometimes there will be surges. You need a large enough pipe to handle any surges, otherwise your video will be constricted, resulting in stuttering and buffering. Also, internet service providers (ISP’s) do not provide consistent service. Their “pipes” speeds fluctuate frequently based on their own network conditions. This is totally out of your control, yet presents a major potential problem. If the ISP’s “pipe” suddenly constricts you want want to be prepared. How? Size your pipe properly. You want excess capacity in your pipe, here’s how to figure out how much you need.
The video from your webcast is encoded at an average bit rate of 5 MBPS, you want to have a minimum of 10 MBPS of upload speed, essentially you want double. This in turn drives two critical factors:
A) You want to ensure that your venue’s internet connection is fast enough. The easy way to determine this is to have someone at the venue, who is connected to the same internet connection you’ll be using, go to www.SpeedTest.net and run several back to back tests. Look at the *upload* speeds. Are they consistently high enough?
B) Make sure the venue’s IT department assigns at least 10 MBPS of *upload* bandwidth to the VLAN you’ve asked them to setup. This ensures that you will have exclusive access to that bandwidth. The above 3 keys are critical and all can and should be done in advance.
Key #4 – No single part of failure. The most overlooked opportunity for ensuring a reliable webcast is something most production companies do not offer or even know how to setup. It’s a fully redundant webcasting system.
A webcast should have no single point of failure. There are many links in the chain between your live event and your audience. When a link in the chain suffers a hiccup, it will have immediate and negative consequences if you do not have redundancies. Asking your webcasting vendor to provide you with a fully redundant webcast is the most important thing you can do to ensure that your audience will always be able to watch.
Key #5 – Test, Test, Test. Make sure you test everything. The encoder, the cameras, the internet connections, the video players, the landing pages. All of it. Test on multiple devices, test from different locations and internet connections. And then test again. Be sure you have enough lead time before your event as well as load in / setup time at your event, to ensure adequate time for thorough testing. With live events, there are no second chances.
Hybrid Events Group is a full service AV production company focused exclusively on corporate live events. Our core competencies include live streaming / webcast production and session (content) capture for medium and large conferences. Our clients include Samsung, Intel, Veeam Software and many more.
In today’s world, old fashioned customer service is a lost art. Our knowledgeable, likable and courteous team combine responsiveness with a can-do attitude to consistently meet and exceed our customer’s expectations.
Our no stress live streaming approach delivers reliable viewing for your audience and less anxiety for you. No stress live streaming starts here.