Network Connection

Piping an image signal through the internet generally requires good network infrastructure, both for the encoder as well as for the viewers. We’ll go over some general guidelines and best practices that will get you the best signal possible.

Know before you go!

The most important thing to enable a good quality stream is to know what your internet situation will be like before the shoot. Here are some tips on how to prepare ahead of time.

  • Connect with your location representative to find out what the internet situation is. You may need to speak to someone in the IT department.
  • Consider giving your tech a prep/scout day. They can research the options, test connections, and do a dry run stream to clients.
  • Determine your method of connection. Physical connection, wireless LAN, Cellular
  • Determine connection quality. Use tools like to understand the bandwidth and stability of the internet at each location.
  • Have a chat with your remote viewers and make sure they're getting the best connection possible and have them do a speedtest as well.
  • All this will help you determine what bitrates you'll be able to stream at.

Physical connection (Ethernet)

Having a physical connection to the internet is the gold standard in streaming connectivity. It should always be your first choice whenever your shooting conditions allow for it. You’ll avoid all the headaches involved in wireless methods of connecting.


  • Reliability
  • High bandwidth


  • Requires a cable to run to laptop/encoder
  • Can be difficult to track down a working port.

When we talk about a physical connection, what we mean is an ethernet cable connecting your internet source (router, switch) to the encoder or laptop. Most modern laptops need a USB or Thunderbolt adapter to make the connection. You’ll also need a cable. CAT-5e or better cables are readily available on Amazon. I recommend a long cable, maybe 200+ feet just in case your connection point isn’t near set.

Wireless LAN (Wifi)

If a physical connection isn’t possible or practical for your shoot, your next option to consider is a wireless LAN.


  • Semi-Reliable
  • No cables to plug in


  • Interference or weak signal
  • Login/Authentication can be tricky

If your location has a wifi network and you’re using a laptop to stream, it shouldn’t be difficult to connect to using any type of login/authentication the network requires. However if you’re using a hardware encoder, you’re for the most part limited to standard username/password login. If the network has a web-browser based authentication, you might be out of luck.

Another problem you might have with wifi is interference on set. It’s very common for there to be competing signals with all the other wireless technologies that are transmitting. Wireless DMX lighting systems are often one of the biggest causes of interference. Some wireless DMX technologies signal scan, transmitting effectively on almost every channel, thus making it difficult for Wifi devices to make a connection.

Hybrid Option

You may be in the scenario where the location Wifi isn’t available, but there is a physical connection, And it’s either too far from your shooting location, or you aren’t able to run a cable direct to the encoder. In this case it might make sense to use a wireless access point (usually a router can be setup as an access point). In this case, you would connect the access point to the physical connection. Then connect the encoder/laptop wirelessly to your access point.

Cellular Connection (4G LTE)

This is probably a last resort, but might be the perfect solution for your production. It isn’t cheap, but in some circumstances, it can provide optimal flexibility.


  • An option when location can't provide internet
  • Untethered from physical cables
  • Less interference with on-set wireless signals


  • Can be pricy
  • Requires special equipment and knowhow
  • Network quality can change sporadically

This option will cost you the most. On top of the cost of your encoder, you’ll need a cellular modem (ideally a USB or Ethernet based device, not a wifi hotspot), and you’ll need to pay for LTE data usage. This is a minimum requirement. Often times you’ll need a bonded cellular interface to enable a more stable connection through multiple modems. This will bump your cost even more requiring a special encoder or router, multiple cellular modems, and a paid service in the cloud that connects the multiple data streams. If you have to go this route, you could have a lot of flexibility in streaming from anywhere that has reasonable cellular reception. Just ensure you have a tech that can operate the system and can scout all the locations for signal strength.