How-To: Calculating Outbound Bandwidth Requirements for Live Events

Live event production is great, but if you can’t get the signal out of the building and to your streaming server, you’re dead in the water. I wrote a How To article for Streaming Media Magazine on this topic. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Outbound bandwidth can make or break a live streamed event. Unfortunately, while this used to be easy to calculate, it’s now quite challenging as stream counts increase and encoding and transcoding alternatives proliferate.

For perspective, things were simple for the first live event I ever streamed, way back in 2010. Since mobile had not yet exploded, and SD was still the norm, I could get away with a 320×240 Flash stream encoded at 500 kilobits per second (Kbps), which never stressed the 850Kbps output bandwidth provided by the event facility.

Since then, mobile support has become a priority, which has several implications. First, since mobile includes smartphone and tablet viewers connecting via cellular or Wi-Fi, you need adaptive streams to effectively serve the universe of connection types and screen sizes. Second, this set of streams needs to be formatted for iOS using HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), while your desktop streams are usually formatted for Flash. Where a single stream used to suffice, now most live events need multiple streams in multiple formats.

The article goes on to list the schemas used for live events, and how they affect bandwidth requirements. Click here to read the rest of the article.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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