If you fire up a stream and find that the buffering is bad, try one of these options to fix the problem:
Turn it off and turn it back on. Yes, we’re serious. Although this advice has been the subject of many jokes, it actually works. Rebooting your TV, router, or streaming platform can be the fresh start your system needs to get back on track. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Make sure no applications are running in the background. Make sure there are no downloads happening while streaming. It’s also a good idea to close any other programs or apps if you’re streaming on a computer or phone.
Disconnect other devices from the network. If you’ve got other smart TVs, computers, tablets, or other devices connected to your network, they could be using up bandwidth and cutting into your stream. Either put them in airplane mode or turn them off. This is something you have to be especially conscious of if your internet speed is 25 Mbps or slower.
Delete your browser cache and temporary files. If you’re on a laptop and streaming through your web browser, clearing the cache and other temporary files can clean out some gunk and may help speed things up. In Google Chrome, you can find this option under Settings > Advanced Settings.
Reduce the video quality. If all else fails, lower the video quality of your stream to get things moving more quickly. The exact procedure to do this will vary depending on the device and streaming platform you’re using, but you’ll usually find this setting in either your streaming app’s settings or your device settings. Many streaming platforms will do this automatically when they sense slowing, but doing it manually can expedite things.
Switch your router to 5 GHz. If your modem/router is using 2.4 GHz frequency instead of 5 GHz, the signal will travel farther but it will be slower, which could be causing buffering problems. Keep your router close to your main streaming devices and use 5 GHz for the best experience. To check out what frequency you’re using, type 192.168.0.1 into your browser window. It will bring up a window with your internet provider’s name and ask you for your admin name and password. After entering your password, you’ll be given an option to choose between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
Upgrade your internet service. If you’ve tried the other suggestions and nothing is helping, it’s probably due to your internet plan. You either have insufficient internet speed or data to keep up with video streaming. If you run out of priority data before the end of the month, your satellite provider will deprioritize your data—which basically means it’ll slow down your speeds. Speeds are slowed to 1–3 Mbps, which usually isn’t enough for streaming (Netflix recommends 5 Mbps).
If you’re choosing between HughesNet and Viasat, we recommend Viasat satellite service. Viasat’s top two plans include 200 to 300 GB per month of data, while comparably priced HughesNet plans offer only 50 GB per month. Other good internet options for rural areas include 4G LTE home internet, which usually has generous data allowances and plenty of speed for streaming.