Most of us have started watching TV and movies through streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu rather than traditional cable. Streaming offers a convenient way to watch our favorite content, but it does tend to have more technical troubles than cable. Buffering, skipping, and playback errors can occur with any number of streaming services and devices.
One common misconception is that streaming issues stem from slow speeds. Sometimes speed is the issue, but the vast majority of problems can be traced to poor Wi-Fi signal strength. Streaming services such as Netflix only require about 3-5 Mbps to run smoothly, which your Ting Internet service will easily provide. No matter the cause, that annoying buffering and freezing can usually be fixed with one or two simple steps.
Restart the streaming device
Many of us know the classic trick when something's wrong within our home network: restart the router. This is always a good step, and it's worth doing. But so often, the device on the other end hasn't been restarted in months - in this case, our streaming device. Unplug the power cord from your streaming device or from the wall outlet, wait 10-15 seconds, then plug it back in.
Restarting your streaming device does a few beneficial things, like allowing the device to make a fresh connection to your Wi-Fi. It also flushes the memory that may have built up over time. Basically, it clears out the cobwebs and gives the streaming device a clean slate to operate from.
Connect to the 2.4G Wi-Fi band
2.4G Wi-Fi often gets a bad rap due to the notion that it's "slow". This is certainly true in comparison to the speeds that 5G Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection can provide, but the 2.4G band still has its uses. The main reason to use 2.4G Wi-Fi is the stronger signal between your router and streaming device.
The 2.4G signal covers more distance than 5G, and passes through materials (walls, floors, etc.) better than 5G. Streaming devices tend to function better on 2.4G Wi-Fi thanks to a stronger signal, while still getting plenty of speed to stream smoothly.
Keep the signal path clear
Streaming devices keep getting smaller and sleeker. Fire Sticks, Roku boxes, and Apple TVs alike can easily be tucked away behind TVs and under media consoles. It's tempting to hide our streaming devices out of sight, but keeping them buried away may be impacting performance. The fewer layers of obstruction between your router and the streaming device, the better.
Getting your device just a little bit more out in the open can go a long way towards reducing instances of buffering.