Netflix Buffering Problems

By Ashley Poland

Netflix is available for dozens of different devices in your household, ranging from your home PC, laptop, set-top box, gaming consoles, smartphone and even specific Internet-enabled televisions. Frequent buffering while streaming Netflix is most likely an issue in your home network, but it may also be an issue with your ISP or on Netflix's end.

Connection Issues

Netflix requires a constant connection to the Internet. If, for whatever reason, your Internet goes out, your video may play until the most recently buffered point before stopping. Netflix recommends a connection speed of at least 1.5 Mbps, and more for higher quality video. If you are using a device that can be connected via Ethernet cable, doing so will help ensure a better connection than using Wi-Fi.

Better Wi-Fi Speeds

If you're using a device that does not have an Ethernet port -- such as a smartphone -- or cannot reach the router, you can help access the best possible connection by ensuring the router isn't too far from the device and that the router is an open space. Having the router within visual distance of your Wi-Fi devices is a good rule of thumb. Avoid using other wireless devices -- such as cordless phones and baby monitors -- or microwaves near your router or device, as these can affect the quality of your wireless connection.

Limited Bandwidth

Buffering frequently may indicate that your bandwidth is at use elsewhere on your network. If you have other computers connected to the Internet, make sure they aren't running bandwidth-intensive processes, such as streaming other video services, downloading large files or playing bandwidth-heavy games. Bandwidth issues can also happen due to heavy demand on your ISP in your area at peak times of the day.

Fluctuating Quality

Netflix chooses the quality of your streaming content from one of several unspecified levels based on your connection speed. This is designed to deliver the best experience based on your home connection. If, for some reason, your connection speed is fluctuating, Netflix may stop and buffer to compensate for changing the quality of your video.

Netflix Issues

Netflix streams from servers all over the United States. If the server in your region is under higher than usual demand, you may notice congestion unrelated to your connection or home network setup. Netflix also may simply encounter errors and go down on occasion. You can check Netflix's status at the website DownRightNow.com, which reports the status of a dozen different services, including Netflix.