Why does my Ant Media stream keep buffering?

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Your streaming audience will hate to watch a live stream with buffering issues. Whether they’re trying to watch a live event or a recorded video, buffering can ruin the experience and leave them feeling frustrated and disappointed. But why does this happen? In this article, we’ll explore the common reasons why Ant Media streams can buffer and what you can do to fix the problem so your audience can enjoy uninterrupted viewing. So sit back, relax, get a cup of coffee, and drink as you scroll down. I promise you, I will hold your hand tight so you’re not left out from understanding the crucial things you need to know about the world of streaming and buffering 🙂

The server is running out of resources

If you’re utilizing Ant Media to host live streams on a VPS server, it’s crucial to ensure that you have sufficient resources allocated to it, especially in relation to the number of concurrent viewers. Resources, in this case, refer to the amount of RAM, CPU, and bandwidth you allocate to your server. These resources play a critical role in providing optimized performance for your end users.

When it comes to hosting live streams on Ant Media, inadequate resource allocation can lead to a poor user experience. For instance, insufficient RAM could cause buffering issues, which can be frustrating for viewers trying to watch your live streams. On the other hand, inadequate CPU allocation could cause the server to lag, which can result in a delay in the delivery of your live streams.

How Much CPU does Ant Media Server need?

One of the most important resources needed by Ant Media live streaming is the CPU. To ensure optimal performance, it is imperative to allocate sufficient CPU power on the server, proportional to the number of concurrent viewers streaming your content. For every 200 viewers who are concurrently streaming your content, the Ant Media team highly recommends that you allocate at least 4 CPU cores on your server.

How Much RAM does Ant Media Server need?

Ant Media Server requires 8GB of RAM as the starting point for every 200 concurrent viewers of your streams. The idea is that the amount of RAM should double the number of CPU cores allocated to your server.

How much bandwidth does Ant Media Server need?

Another critical resource to consider when running Ant Media on a VPS server is bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a specific amount of time. It’s important to ensure that you have enough bandwidth to support the number of concurrent viewers you expect. Otherwise, your viewers may experience a loss in video quality or buffering issues.

The amount of bandwidth allocated to your Ant Media Server will depend on the quality of videos you stream to your audience. High-resolution videos tend to consume more data compared to low-quality videos.

Assuming you are streaming a 1080p video at an average bitrate of 5 Mbps (megabits per second), you would need a minimum of 2.25 GB (gigabytes) of bandwidth to stream the video for 1 hour.

To calculate this, you can use the following formula:

5 Mbps x 60 seconds x 60 minutes = 18,000 MB<br>18,000 MB ÷ 8 = 2,250 MB or 2.25 GB

In the calculation I provided, the “8” is used to convert megabits per second (Mbps) to megabytes (MB). There are 8 megabits in 1 megabyte, so to convert from Mbps to MB, we divide the result by 8.

For example, if you have a video with a bitrate of 5 Mbps, you would multiply 5 by 60 (seconds) and then by 60 (minutes) to get the total data consumed in 1 hour (in megabits). This gives you 18,000 megabits. To convert this to megabytes, you divide 18,000 by 8, which gives you 2,250 megabytes or 2.25 gigabytes.

Too much traffic

It’s worth noting that if your server experiences traffic overload, your Ant Media streams may buffer. For instance, if you’re using a 4CPU core, 8GB RAM machine to run Ant Media and you have around 1000 concurrent viewers, the server may not be capable of handling such a heavy traffic load. Consequently, your streams may buffer, which could have a detrimental impact on your overall objectives.

To ensure that you provide a seamless live-streaming experience without buffering, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the kind of audience you’re targeting. This way, you can implement a streaming infrastructure that can efficiently cater to their needs.

Poor internet connection

Assuming you’re using your local internet to broadcast to your Ant Media server hosted on a VPS server like Contabo, it has to be fast enough to send high-quality videos to avoid buffering problems for your audience. Enterprise-grade live streaming requires high-speed internet to broadcast to a big concurrent audience. In fact, the speed of your internet should be fast enough to send high-definition videos to the server.

How to solve buffering problems on Ant Media Server?

There are a couple of ways to deal with your buffering issues with Ant Media stream, and these include:

Get a good VPS hosting plan

It is highly recommended to consider using a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to run your Ant Media server, as it can offer a more effective and affordable solution. By doing so, significant savings can be achieved. Additionally, running Ant Media on a VPS allows access to data center-grade internet speeds, which are typically allocated by the VPS providers. This will also alleviate concerns about having to constantly upgrade local devices’ RAM and CPUs.

To fully benefit from a VPS, it is crucial to choose a reputable provider such as Contabo. Their VPS plans are really impressive as the basic one comes with 32 TB of bandwidth, 4vCPU cores, and 8GB RAM starting from less than $9 per month. This level of computing power is especially useful for smaller audiences that are expected to watch your streams. You can learn more about Contabo’s VPS plans by visiting their website and determining if they are a good fit for your needs.

Configure Adaptive bitrate streaming

Ant Media Adaptive Bitrate Streaming is a type of video streaming technology that adjusts the quality of the video being streamed to match the available bandwidth of the viewer. This means that the video quality is automatically adjusted to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience, even if the viewer’s internet connection speed fluctuates during the streaming session.

The Ant Media Adaptive Bitrate Streaming technology works by encoding the video content into multiple versions of different qualities, each with a different bitrate. The video player then automatically selects the version that is best suited for the viewer’s internet connection speed, and switches between different versions as needed to maintain a consistent and high-quality viewing experience.

This technology is particularly useful for live streaming events, where network conditions can be unpredictable and vary widely among viewers. By adapting to the available bandwidth, Ant Media Adaptive Bitrate Streaming can help to ensure that all viewers can watch the event without buffering or interruptions, regardless of their internet connection speed.

It’s important to know that the Adaptive bitrate streaming feature is only available in the enterprise edition of the Ant Media software. This means that you will need to purchase the enterprise license to benefit from this feature. On the other, the community edition of Ant Media doesn’t come with this functionality, so you won’t be able to use it unless you buy the enterprise license.

Consider CDN integration

The enterprise edition of the Ant Media server offers you the ability to set up CDN integration using Amazon S3 and Cloudfront.

S3 or Simple Storage Service and CloudFront are AWS (Amazon Web Services) products used for storing and delivering media content over the internet.

S3 is an object storage service that allows you to store and retrieve large amounts of data, including media files like videos and images, in the cloud. S3 provides scalable, secure, and highly available storage for your media files. With S3, you can upload your media files and then access them from anywhere in the world.

CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) that can be used to deliver your media content to your viewers quickly and securely. CloudFront caches your media content in multiple locations around the world so that viewers can access it from the nearest location. This reduces latency and improves the overall performance of your live-streaming service.

When you set up Ant Media with S3 and CloudFront, the workflow typically looks like this:

  • The live video stream is captured by Ant Media and encoded into multiple formats for delivery to different devices.

  • The encoded video files are stored in S3 for easy access and scalability.

  • CloudFront is configured to serve the media content from S3 and cache it in multiple locations around the world.

  • Viewers can access the live video stream from the nearest CloudFront edge location, which provides faster and more reliable delivery of the media content.

So, using S3 and CloudFront with Ant Media provides a scalable and reliable solution for delivering live video content to large audiences.

Consider scaling your streaming infrastructure

When your streaming audience is extremely large and ever-growing, you have to plan for a scalable Ant Media deployment that will offer a resilient mechanism to deliver high-quality streams. One of the best things about Ant Media server is its potential to scale to any sense of your audience you have. Ant Media has the potential to stream to tens of millions of concurrent viewers once the right infrastructure is deployed.

More Ant Media Server articles to explore

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