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Even if you live in a remote area, rural internet options are available to give you access to the internet speeds you need to stream your favorite content. Here’s a look at the best rural internet options for streaming video and how to optimize your internet connection type to make the most of it.
Types of Rural Internet Suitable for Streaming
While not on par with fiber internet or cable internet, satellite internet has improved in the last 5-10 years. Providers like HughesNet and Viasat have been providing decent speeds capable of streaming video content, and Starlink continues to improve its satellite network, resulting in increased speeds and better internet latency. Given that satellite internet is available nearly nationwide, it’s a particularly good option if you live in the country.
Recommended Satellite Internet Providers for Streaming
- Fast satellite internet
- Ideal for rural areas
- Up to 3x faster than DSL*
- Satellite internet
- 2-year fixed pricing
- No hard data caps
Fixed Wireless Internet
Fixed wireless internet is a solution that works by receiving signals from a nearby tower, similar to how cell phones work but designed for home internet. It is less common than the other types listed here, but providers like Rise Broadband and Starry offer attractive plans. Fixed wireless is effective in areas where the geographical layout might make cable infrastructure impractical and has limited elevation relief and obstructions.
Recommended Fixed Wireless Internet Providers for Streaming
- Fast speeds in rural areas
- Affordable prices
- Quick installations
- 5G Fixed Wireless Provider
- Contract buyout up to $200
- Pause or cancel anytime for free
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
Although it’s one of the older technologies, DSL internet can still offer decent speeds for streaming. You’ll commonly find EarthLink, CenturyLink, and Frontier in many rural areas. Keep in mind, though, that your overall speed will decrease the further you are from the provider’s network hub.
Recommended DSL Internet Providers for Streaming
- Best internet protection
- Unlimited data included
- No credit checks
- Simplified pricing
- Unlimited data included
- No annual contract required
5G Home Internet
Mobile providers are expanding and offering 5G networks in more areas every day. While 5G internet is predominantly urban, its rapid expansion and the robustness of 4G in many rural areas make this a viable option for streaming. It’s not the most ideal solution, especially if you’re not close to a tower, but it’s a reliable internet option if it’s the only one in your area.
Recommended 5G Internet Providers for Streaming
- Variety of plans
- Wide availability
- Fiber internet speeds
- Fast symmetrical speeds
- Fiber-optics network
- No annual contracts
Rural Internet Considerations for Streaming Video
Ideally, streaming video works best over a high-speed, low-latency internet connection. Fiber and cable internet are ideal for these reasons but are scarce in rural areas. As you search for rural internet solutions for streaming, keep the following in mind:
Speed is of the essence. For SD quality, you’ll need at least 3 Mbps. For HD quality, 5-8 Mbps is recommended. And for ultra HD or 4K, you’ll need upwards of 25 Mbps. Always opt for a little more than the minimum to account for other devices and activities.
A stable connection is crucial. Sporadic drops or inconsistent speeds can disrupt streaming and lead to buffering. Which leads to a frustrating streaming experience.
Streaming consumes a lot of data. Some rural internet options come with data caps. For regular streamers, it’s crucial to choose a plan with a high internet data cap or ideally, unlimited data. When choosing the best satellite internet, pay close attention to high-speed data allowances.
Optimizing Your Rural Internet Connection for Streaming Video
Whenever possible, connect your streaming device directly to your WiFi router using an ethernet cable. This reduces potential interference and usually offers a more stable connection than Wi-Fi.
If you rely on Wi-Fi, ensure your router is in an optimal location. Centralized, elevated positions away from thick walls or electronic devices often give the best signal distribution. Regularly updating your router’s firmware and using WiFi extenders can boost performance.
Limit Other Activities
When streaming, especially in high definition, try to limit other high-bandwidth activities. This includes pausing large downloads, online gaming, or other streaming activities.
Adjust Streaming Quality
Most streaming platforms like Netflix or YouTube allow you to adjust the quality of the video. If you’re facing issues, consider dropping the quality a notch.
Use a Quality of Service (QoS) Setting
Some modern routers have a QoS setting that lets you prioritize certain types of traffic. By prioritizing your streaming service, you can ensure it gets a bigger slice of your bandwidth.
Regularly Monitor and Test
Periodically test your internet speed. This helps you ensure you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for and can identify potential issues.
Streaming video with rural internet can be challenging. Satellite, fixed wireless, 5G, and DSL internet are each capable internet connections capable of offering a decent streaming experience. But knowing what streaming video demands of your internet and some optimization tricks, you can make the most of your rural internet connection.
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