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How much bandwidth does it take to stream a virtual or hybrid event?

In this article, we’ll discuss what bandwidth is, real examples of virtual event bandwidth requirements, some considerations to keep in mind when streaming a live event, and five key tips to avoid virtual event bandwidth issues.

So, what is Bandwidth?

Let’s start with the basics! Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transmitted (upload) or received (download) per second. It’s what governs all technology that utilizes the Internet. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has become more important than ever for event organizers to learn the basics of virtual event bandwidth and exactly how much they’ll need. If you have an AV provider, they should take care of this for you. However, it will always work in your favor to get a grasp on understanding bandwidth.

Real Examples of Virtual Event Bandwidth Requirements

A stream’s video and audio data processed over a period of time is called ‘bitrate’. Higher bitrates generally translate into higher quality video and audio. If your streams bitrate is too high relative to your upload bandwidth, then your live stream will be unreliable for viewers. E.g. A stream with a 6 Mb/s bitrate doesn’t work on a network with a 5 Mb/s upload bandwidth limit.

For example:

  • Venue requirements for sending 1080p video from a third-party studio software (e.g. OBS, vMix, etc) : A minimum of 10 megabits is required
  • The speaker (or host) requirements for operating a web-based studio such as Onlive’s: A minimum of 2 Mbps to render content at 1,024 /times 576 resolution. For content at 1,280/times 720 resolution, a network connection of 5 Mbps or higher is recommended

Live Stream Considerations to Keep in Mind

Virtual event bandwidth allocation determines how many devices and people are able to access the internet, the type of technology you can use (basic surfing or streaming), and how often. It’s also based on the minimum amount of megabits required to ensure everybody has an undisrupted, smooth live stream experience. Below, we have outlined a megabits per second breakdown that should help you decide the quality of the video you would like to live stream. And 6 considerations to keep in mind when it comes to virtual event bandwidth.

1. Always have extra bandwidth

2. Don’t share the same wifi with all attendees

3. Consider your network type

4. Don’t use a hotel wifi that logs you off

5. Make sure that equipment is strong enough to handle encoding

6. If running multiple tracks make sure that you multiply the bandwidth times the number of sessions

Six Key Tips to Avoid Issues

Now you know the “dos” how about a checklist on what to do to ensure your event is not compromised by bad connections.

1.Test your speed! There are so many free tools which will allow you to do this, prepare before your guests arrive by ensuring your internet is robust and ready! You can refer to this article that reviews a bunch of apps.

2. Know what you need. As we have discussed in this article, it is important to assess your requirements and see what you need to cover this without causing issues.

3. Stay close to the router. Ensure you advise speakers who are virtually joining to be near their router and in an event space for hybrid events, position your events console as closer to the router as possible!

4. Consider a wired connection – for consistent signal strength, wired connections come out on top!

5. Stop all downloads and uploads. Throughout a live stream, ensure you’re not running other programmes/uploading or downloading other things which will compete for your bandwidth

6. Lastly, make sure that your production computer is built for producing video. Sending a video in full 1080p requires a lot of processing power, both CPU and GPU.

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Looking for more blog articles to help you plan your next virtual event, check out our archives!