Streaming live on Twitch is a fun and attractive option for many streamers looking to gain a following or simply play games and chat with friends. However, setting up a stream can be confusing and frustrating if you lack an adequate internet speed or connection.
Can You Stream on Twitch Using Wi-Fi?
You can stream on Twitch using Wi-Fi, provided you carefully consider your upload speeds, bandwidth, and the quality at which you intend to stream. Slow and unreliable Wi-Fi will lead to a poor quality stream, so be sure to upgrade to an upload speed of at least 6 Mbps for the best results.
Streaming using Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly more common on Twitch, but there are plenty of caveats involved in doing so. Let’s explore your options and find out if using your wireless connection is within the realm of possibilities and what you have to do to consistently have a quality stream.
How Much Data Does It Take To Stream on Twitch?
Twitch recommends an upload speed of at least 6 Mbps (megabits of data per second) in order to stream high-quality, 1080p, 60 FPS (frames per second) content. On average, the amount of data you will use for an hour of streaming at 1080p and 60 FPS is around 1.4 GB per hour.
Livestreaming on Twitch requires a fairly hefty amount of bandwidth and a high upload speed to avoid lag and frequent disconnection. The total amount of data you will use while streaming will vary depending on the quality of your stream and your activity while streaming.
Without ample bandwidth, your stream will be quite taxing for your internet connection and your viewers if quality begins to suffer.
It is best to prioritize a stable, consistent stream over HD video quality because pushing the limits of your internet connection will often result in lowered framerates and persistent lag. This may mean streaming at a lower quality resolution of perhaps 720p or even 480p so your viewers can have a better experience overall.
Trust me, it is better to have a smooth running stream than it is to have a really high quality, good looking stream that is very choppy and laggy.
You have to also consider that some of your viewers may not even be able to view your stream in a high quality, 1080p stream and so you may be risking heavy lag for nothing.
If you were to lower your resolution to 720p, the amount of data used on average is reduced to around 1 GB. It is worth considering lowering your resolution if the amount of data you are using at 1080p is causing lag or dropped frames.
Many streamers advise having an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps or even higher for high-quality streaming. While it is possible with the minimum requirements, it is best to have at least an extra 5 Mbps or so to account for any hiccups or speed variations.
Don’t be that streamer who is always complaining about their internet being slow!
You can easily test your connection speed with resources like TwitchTest to decide if streaming via Wi-Fi is an option for your current setup or if you will have to look into a better router or possibly a wired connection.
What Kind of Wi-Fi Do Streamers Use?
Most streamers on Twitch use either a cable or fiber connection because DSL and satellite connections aren’t fast or stable enough to handle streaming. Upload speed is the most crucial factor when streaming, so anything higher than 6 Mbps should be sufficient, with 10+ Mbps being ideal.
While wireless connections are becoming more common and gaming routers are now capable of faster upload speeds, many streamers on Twitch still use wired Ethernet connections to handle streaming in high quality, lag-free video.
There are a variety of gaming routers that you can use for streaming consistently. Keep in mind that Wi-Fi, in general, has several issues that will interfere with your streams, such as poor, inconsistent signal strength and drops in framerate that your viewers will likely notice.
Because of this, it may be worth looking into a wired connection in the future. I have streamed on both a wireless as well as a wired connection and a wired connection is so much better. It is not even close. Wired connections are just far more consistent and capable than a wireless connection.
But maybe with your current setup wireless is the only option.
Are Gaming Routers Good for Streaming?
A gaming router is your best choice if you are using a wireless connection for your streaming on Twitch. Although expensive, gaming routers are specifically designed with streaming in mind to keep your framerate and quality as reliable and consistent as possible while also being easy to set up.
Although many typical routers can certainly handle streaming from time to time, you may have considered looking into a more reliable option for consistent streaming on Twitch. There are a few factors to be aware of when purchasing a gaming router, such as your initial investment cost and if streaming is something you plan on doing regularly.
There are many gaming routers that pair well with Twitch streaming and are worth their initial costs. Gaming routers are designed to cover large distances and secure a consistent upload speed, and it is important to note that they typically come with Ethernet ports.
This way, if you are considering upgrading to a wired connection in the future, you will already have the option to do so. But what routers are good for gaming?
What Is the Best Gaming Router?
Two of the best, most frequently-mentioned gaming routers for streaming on Twitch are the NetGear Nighthawk XR500 and the Asus RT-AX88U. These routers are both great mid-range options in terms of pricing and offer some of the fastest, most consistent upload speeds available.
Plenty of companies produce so-called “gaming routers” and pride themselves on their products being able to handle streaming high-quality gameplay. But how do you know which ones will actually be able to keep up with the best Twitch streamers and make your content worth watching for your viewers?
No matter your price range, keep in mind the initial investment cost will still be relatively high for your streaming endeavors on Twitch. The streaming world is competitive, and many viewers on Twitch now have very high standards for what they consider their ideal viewing experience.
What I have learned while building my streaming setup is that it is often better to spend a few extra dollars to get the product you really want rather than living with buyers regret. And in my case just going and buying the product I really wanted anyways. No shame ????
Other Factors To Consider When Streaming
Now you have your gaming router, have tested your upload speed and you are ready to stream. However, you want to be sure your streaming quality stays as consistent and as high-quality as possible throughout. What else should you do when preparing to stream on Twitch?
To keep your Twitch stream running smoothly, do not share your internet plan with anyone else in your house. Sharing bandwidth will reduce the overall quality and speed of the stream. Also, upgrade your router whenever possible, use an Ethernet adapter, and try streaming at a lower quality.
So this means turn off your cellphone. Close your laptop. You want all that bandwidth going to your stream so you can get the best quality possible.
Perhaps you have the minimum upload speed recommended, but you’re still encountering frequent issues with lag and low framerate. Maybe the other people in your house are dragging down your internet speed. Or your router might potentially need an upgrade as it is an older model no longer capable of keeping up with other streamers on Twitch.
Having an internet connection all for yourself is an attractive option for streaming because it ensures you won’t have to account for other people using the connection. This option can be expensive, but it is worth looking into if you find your streams are more laggy and choppy in quality when more people are home and using the connection.
A WiFi Extender (like this one on Amazon) is also a great option to expand your connection’s reach, particularly if you live in a large home. You will still need to be within a reasonable distance of your router, but it will help you stream much faster and at a higher quality than if you were to simply use a regular Wi-Fi connection.
If all else fails, you always have the option to stream at a lower quality. Try streaming in 720p rather than 1080p or lower the graphics settings in whatever game you are playing. Keep as few applications running as possible to prioritize your stream.
Having a smooth running stream is much easier to follow and enjoy than one that is choppy. Don’t be afraid to lower the quality if you must.
As always, if you have any questions or just want to hang with me, stop by my Twitch channel here and say what’s up!
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Streaming via Wi-Fi is becoming more common in the gaming world, and prospective Twitch streamers have more options than ever to deliver the best and most consistent streams possible.
For many streamers on Twitch, sharing gameplay has almost exclusively been done with wired connections. But, as better internet speeds become more readily available and better gaming routers are now on the market, streaming on Twitch with a Wi-Fi connection is easier than ever for gamers looking to expand their platforms and audience.