In recent weeks, our lives have been turned upside down by the global coronavirus pandemic. To fight the spread of the virus, millions of people across the world are now sheltering in place and only leaving home for crucial tasks such as grocery shopping. That means more people than ever are working from home, taking online classes, and spending all their free time indoors.
All of this has led to a frustrating consequence: networks are strained and struggling to keep up with the increase in streaming, video conferencing, e-learning, and more. Tech experts have concerns about the increased demand for internet service, and some estimate that while an average home has a peak usage period of 4 hours per weekday, that number has grown to 10 hours. Meanwhile, Comcast says they’ve seen a 38% increase in video streaming and a 212% increase in video conferencing.
If you are experiencing delays in your video viewing or dips in video quality, we have a small suggestion that can help you circumvent streaming issues and help lighten the load on the network for everyone logging on from home: use mobile video downloading. Downloading can’t solve all the network problems (like video calling issues) but if you download movies, shows, and workouts to your smartphone or tablet instead of streaming them, you can avoid using the network during times of peak traffic and ensure your viewing is not interrupted.
Here are a few tips to use downloading to make video viewing easier during these times.
Download for a better user experience: Some video streaming apps offer a feature that lets you download video to your smartphone or tablet (Netflix, Showtime, Starz, Prime Video, CBS All Access, BeachBody and more). If you use this feature, you can have a perfect viewing experience, without having to worry that—with so many people at home—your household WiFi will struggle to support all the devices being used and cause your video to buffer or render in low quality.
Consider time-shifting: Download your favorite episodes, workout programs, movies, online classes, or other content during off-peak hours so you can watch later without any issues. For example, if you download a movie at 11 pm you ensure that you can watch it at your preferred time—like 8pm the next day—without any delays. This simple behavior will help improve network stability and also let multiple members of your household watch at the same time without straining it.
Check download settings: You may not need to download using the highest quality video setting. In fact, some services are automatically lowering available video quality for their users in certain regions to lessen bandwidth usage. If the app you’re using offers various video quality settings, a lower quality version may be just fine, especially if on a smaller screen like your phone.
While these solutions won’t solve every disruption caused by the current world events, they can help lessen how much video streaming contributes to internet usage and make sure that networks can continue to function well as we rely on them for work, learning, socializing, and entertainment.