- No, that guy didn’t really fly alone on a Delta flight Today 4:31 PM
- Fans are paying to meet their favorite YouTubers online through pilot program Today 2:54 PM
- Behold: 12 straight hours of ‘Stranger Things” Alexei drinking a Slurpee Today 2:05 PM
- Influencer couple under fire for using holy water to splash genitals in Bali Today 1:29 PM
- These are the 10 best villains DC comics has ever conceived Today 1:11 PM
- The Daily Wire accused of stealing art design from pop artist for its merchandise Today 12:09 PM
- Instagram model Rianne Meijer on keeping it real with her followers Today 10:52 AM
- How to stream Chelsea vs. Leicester City Today 8:30 AM
- Florida man arrested after allegedly texting girlfriend his mass shooting plans Today 8:27 AM
- How to stream Real Madrid vs. Celta Vigo Today 8:20 AM
- How to stream Seahawks vs. Vikings in NFL preseason action Today 8:00 AM
- How to stream Steelers vs. Chiefs in NFL preseason action Today 6:30 AM
- Chuck E. Cheese recycles pizza is the conspiracy theory that won’t die Today 6:30 AM
- How to stream Cowboys vs Rams in NFL preseason action Today 6:00 AM
- Cómo ver el UFC 241: Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic Today 6:00 AM
It’s not your connection—here’s the real cause of YouTube buffering
It’s not just your Internet connection that makes streaming video so slow to load.
Video buffering—the delay associated with a video that hasn’t completely loaded—is one of the banes of YouTube.
You can often blame your Internet connection, the time of day you watch a video, or even its length, but when the pre-roll ads preceding the video play just fine and you still can’t watch a video without it buffering—even on the lowest possible quality setting—there may be other forces at play.
According to Ars Technica, some of the world’s largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and video services negotiate the rates networks pay to connect to one another.
And when those talks don’t go as planned, the consequences fall on you: The speed of your YouTube and Netflix videos slows down to a crawl, making it almost impossible to watch or stream anything without the dreaded buffering.
These negotiations involve “peering agreements,” which allow networks to store copies of videos closer to someone’s home so the videos load faster. From as early as November 2010, these talks between companies have gone sour for a variety of reasons, often resulting in public feuds. It usually boils down to money.
Users have accused Internet providers of purposely degrading their service before. Time Warner Cable’s Director of Digital Communications denied that claim and addressed it in a recent blog post, noting that the Internet “is not as simple as one wire connecting a website’s servers to a customer’s home.”
“[S]ome, but not all, online video providers have the resources to store copies, or caches, of their videos on servers that are a part of a Content Delivery Network, or CDN,” Jeff Simmermon wrote. “More popular videos will have more cached copies, with better performance, while less popular videos may be stored in fewer, further places.”
Time Warner Cable customers aren’t the only ones complaining. The buffering issues have affected both American and European customers. French ISP Free has been accused of not investing enough in connections to YouTube, and Verizon has refused to add connection ports to support Netflix.
Not all of the ISPs have issues with working alongside competitors. Some lower-tiered providers want to measure activity through the distance traffic is carried and the number of bits carried, no matter which direction the traffic comes from.
It’s anybody’s guess how long it’ll take for alternative measures to catch on with the bigger companies, but until then, get used to the buffering. Sometimes, it might just be your connection.
H/T Ars Technica | Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.