Webcast Network Health and Encoder Settings

Last Updated: 5 August 2019 at 10:40

Your network’s overall capability and health is one of the most important factors to the success of your live webcasting. The capability and health of a network are affected by a variety of points along the networking path including internet service provider (ISP); modems; firewalls; switches, routers, and hubs; wireless access points (WAP); cables (including in-wall wiring and network LAN cables); cloud infrastructure; network congestion; power fluctuations and other interference; computers; and other devices. Network issues can arise from any of these different network components. Therefore, all these points should be checked and tested well in advance of your webcast event.

Understanding your network health and capabilities will help you determine the best settings needed for a successful webcast (e.g., setting the optimal video encode bit rate and choosing the nearest cloud region).

Determining Meetinghouse Network Health

Although the amount of internet bandwidth you have is an important factor for webcasting, its success relies heavily on having a stable, healthy network. For example, if you have excellent bandwidth in both your broadcasting location and receiving location(s) (e.g., 10 mbps upload or 20 mbps download), you can still have problems webcasting if your network is unstable. 

A successful webcast is dependent on having a stable network which avoids issues like poor audio and video quality, dropouts, and buffering. The stability of a network is impacted by its latency and jitter. Latency (measured by ping) is the reaction time of a network connection, or in other words how fast data can travel between its source and destination. Jitter is the variation of latency a network has. Healthy connections will have low latency (ping) and a low jitter rate.

Documenting Meetinghouse Network Health

Document the network heath and bandwidth capabilities at each congregational location. Use the Meetinghouse Webcast Network Health Worksheet to document each building’s upload and download speed, latency, and jitter:

  1. Connect a computer or laptop to the meetinghouse network. A wired connection should be used for the most accurate test results.
  2. Download the Speedtest app at www.speedtest.net/apps/desktop.
  3. Run a speed test and document the download and upload speed and the jitter.* You may want to run the test multiple times to document the average results for the building.
  4. The speedtest.net app will show the result for latency (ping). However, you need to document the latency to the closest webcast cloud region:
    • At your broadcasting site, go to azurespeed.com and find the cloud region that has the lowest latency. You will use this same cloud region in selecting your Nearest Region when scheduling an event in the webcast portal.
      • Note: The determination of the best cloud region to use should be made at the broadcasting site. Use the lowest latency cloud region found at your broadcasting site even if you find that one of your receiving sites has a different cloud region with less latency. The transmitting location is more important when choosing the nearest cloud region to use in a webcast.
    • Document the cloud server name that has the lowest latency at the broadcasting site and document its latency (e.g., West U.S.—75 ms).
    • You will also use azurespeed.com in all your receive locations to document the latency to the same cloud region you found at the broadcasting site (e.g., West U.S.—65 ms).

For the most accurate test results, please be aware of the following:

  • Internet health can vary during the week, so you should at least run the speed test during the same time of day and week that your live event is normally held. For example, if your webcasts are normally held on a Sunday at 10:00 a.m., run the speed test on a Sunday around 10:00 a.m.
  • Make sure to limit bandwidth usage in the building during your speed tests. (See Conserving Bandwidth below.)

Ideal Meetinghouse Network Health

Ideally, a successful webcast should have the following network capabilities:

Ideal Webcast Network Health

Broadcasting Location

Receiving Location(s)

All Locations
(Broadcasting & Receiving)

Upload
(Actual Available Bandwidth)

Download
(Actual Available Bandwidth)

Latency
(Ping)

Jitter
(Latency Stability)

10 mbps upload or more

20 mbps download or more

Less than 100 ms

Less than 20 ms

Keep in mind, these are the ideal network capabilities for a successful webcast. However, areas that have lower bandwidth or less stable internet may still have a successful webcast as long as the encoder settings are set accordingly. (See Choosing the Optimal Encode Rate and Player Settings below.)

Actions for Low Bandwidth and Unstable Network

  1. Some bandwidth and jitter issues are caused by network congestion. Make sure to limit bandwidth usage during your testing and live webcast events (see Conserving Bandwidth below).
  2. If you have unstable bandwidth in any of your buildings due to high latency or jitter, work with the Facility Manager (FM) to help determine if the issues are coming from the building’s network equipment. Also, you can contact the internet service provider (ISP) to have them check if there are internet issues that can be resolved.
  3. If you continue to have low bandwidth or unstable network in any of your buildings, you may be able to still have a successful webcast by lowering the bit rate used in the encoder or by using Low Bandwidth Broadcast mode (see Choosing the Optimal Encode Rate and Player Settings below).
  4. If you have experienced webcast failures in the past due to low bandwidth or unstable network or if testing shows that having higher bandwidth is needed for a successful webcast, please work with your stake president and facilities manager to explore options to increase bandwidth in the most cost-effective way.

Choosing the Optimal Encode Rate and Player Settings

Broadcast Encoder Settings

After you have determined your network capability and health in all your buildings, you can use this information to help determine the settings you should use for a successful webcast. The Video Encode Bit Rate and Receiving Player tables below list the recommended settings based on internet bandwidth and network health in your buildings. However, please be sure to run several tests to make sure the settings are optimal for your webcast (see Perform a Test Event).

Video Encode Bit Rate Settings

Refer to the table below for the recommended video encoder settings that match your network capability. Please see Changing the Encoder Video Bitrate for specific instructions to set the encode rate for the Teradek VidiU encoder.

 

Broadcast Locations

Broadcasting Site

Stable Network
Usually has less than 100 ms latency (ping) and/or less than 20 ms jitter

Unstable Network*
Usually has more than 100 ms latency (ping) and more than 20 ms jitter

Upload Speed
(actual available bandwidth)

Recommend Encoder Video Bit Rate

Recommended Encoder Video Bit Rate

1 to 2 Mbps

Mobile (250 Kbps)

Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode**

3 to 4 Mbps

Low (500 Kbps) Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode**

5 to 7 Mbps

Medium (750 Kbps) Low (500 Kbps)

8 to 10 Mbps

High (1.25 Mbps) 

Medium (750 Kbps

11 Mbps or higher

HD (2.25 Mbps) †‡

High (1.25 Mbps) †


Unstable Network will usually have higher than 100 ms latency and/or higher than 20 ms jitter. However, if your building has considerably higher latency and jitter than this, it may be necessary for better stability to drop the encoder rate even lower than the recommended setting. For example, if your broadcasting site has 11 mbps upload but has much higher latency and jitter, you may need to drop down to Medium (750 k) or even lower with some unstable networks.

** Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode: To set low bandwidth broadcast mode, please see the How-to Guide for Meetinghouse Webcast 3.0. If you are using Manual Mode (detailed here), set the Teradek Video Encode rate to Mobile (250k).

† If you use a Standard Definition Camera (480 p), there is no need to set the encoder bit rate higher than Medium (750 k) because this bit rate will adequately broadcast your standard definition stream and because the bandwidth saved will increase the stability of your webcast.

‡ HD quality broadcasts will not be achieved unless all components of the webcast product have HD capabilities (camera, settings, wiring, cabling, converters, projectors, etc.).

  • Note: If using Manual Mode configuration (detailed here), do not select Full HD or HD+ in the Teradek VidiU as these settings are unsupported.

Audio Encode Bit Rate Setting

Audio will automatically be set to Mobile (250 kbps) for the best stability. If using Manual Mode configuration (detailed here), please set the Audio Quality to Mobile in the Teradek VidiU.

Receiving Player Settings

Receive Location(s)

Receiving Site

Stable Network
Usually has less than 100 ms latency (ping) and/or less than 20 ms jitter

Unstable Network*
Usually has more than 100 ms latency (ping) and more than 20 ms jitter

Download
(actual available bandwidth)

Recommended Player Setting

Recommended Player Setting

1 to 3 Mbps

Select stabilization mode †

No action needed when using Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode**

4 to 5 Mbps

No action—player will auto adjust

No action needed when using Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode**

6 Mbps or higher

No action—player will auto adjust

Select Stabilization Mode †

*    Unstable internet usually will have higher than 100 ms latency (ping) and/or higher than 20 ms jitter.

**  Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode: If you have 5 mbps or less download and an unstable network at any of your receive buildings, you should consider using Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode. (Please see “Low Bandwidth Broadcast Mode” in the How-to Guide for Meetinghouse Webcast 3.0.)

† Stabilization Mode is found on the bottom of the Meetinghouse Webcast Player. Click the button to toggle on or off. Stabilization mode will lock in receiving at 250 kbps for only that location.

Conserving Bandwidth

Disable Wi-Fi- and LAN-connected Computers in the Building

Webcasts require a lot of bandwidth, and when members log into the meetinghouse’s Wi-Fi network or when devices such as clerk computers are connected to the local area network (LAN), they limit the amount of bandwidth available for the webcast. Since webcasts access the internet directly through the meetinghouse’s wired connection, you can safely disable the building’s Wi-Fi without a negative impact to the webcast (see Disable Wi-Fi in the Building). Also turn off all computers connected to the LAN because they limit bandwidth as well (e.g., clerk computers). Disabling Wi-Fi and LAN devices should be done at the broadcasting site and at all your congregational receiving sites.