Live stream disconnects
Server disconnects can be troublesome and hard to diagnose but we've gathered some of the most common causes here for you to review and fix:
Ensure that your internet upload speed is sufficient for the bitrate you are broadcasting. To do this, visit http://testmy.net/upload and run at least three tests, then average them together. Make sure the average speed is greater than the bitrate you are broadcasting. If not, you'll need to bring your encoding bitrate down. Be aware that other activities on your network can also consume your upload speed. If you're having trouble with continuous disconnects, it is recommended that you power cycle your internet router or modem by unplugging it and then plugging it back in, to reboot it and give it a fresh start prior to live streaming. This can also help ensure that network activity consuming your upload speed is halted (though it may resume depending on the nature of the such activity.) It is always best to make sure not to stream more than HALF of your available bandwidth. For example, if you have a 4mbps upload speed, try not to stream any higher than 2mbps.
The higher the bitrate of your stream, the more CPU usage will be needed. Ensure that your encoding system is not being overtasked. If you are both streaming and recording the broadcast at the same time, the load on your encoding system could result in encoder disconnects and/or random distortions or dropouts in the recorded video.
In Windows, open the "Task Manager." Click on the "Performance" tab to monitor the CPU. On Mac, open the "Activity Monitor" and click the CPU tab. If your CPU usage is above 75%, then it's an indication that the computer may be underpowered for the bitrate you're streaming at. If you see the CPU hitting 100%, then this is most certainly the cause of server disconnects. You should lower your bitrate until the CPU is not using more than 75% to allow headroom for other programs that are also running. It's also a good idea not to have any other programs running if you're close to CPU max usage. If you are multi-bit streaming and having CPU usage problems, disable your secondary multi-bit streams to help relieve CPU usage.
It's best that your encoder is connected via physical ethernet cable to your network, not via WiFi. There are so many radio signals that can degrade WiFi throughput that even though your ISP provides good upload speeds, your WiFi connection might not consistently provide those speeds from your encoder to the internet modem/router.
It's also far better not to use your network publicly via WiFi while you are encoding. For example, sometimes churches allow a congregation to connect to their network via a guest WiFi access point. This is not a good idea, as you cannot guarantee that users won't interfere with the bandwidth available for streaming. Additionally, you would be surprised at how many computers have hidden malware their users aren't aware of, that will launch attacks through your network and cause your network IP to be blacklisted. Allowing guest WiFi use of your primary internet connection is a bad idea all the way around. If you must, consider installing a secondary internet service to avoid disrupting streaming and other important connectivity the church may need for day-to-day operations.
In the event that any of the issues listed here affect your ability to push data to the streaming server, you want your encoder to be able to auto-adjust to keep the stream going. It's best to degrade quality rather than drop frames.
If the above steps are not helping, here are some more advanced diagnoses to determine a cause.
Checking for packet loss can help determine problems relating to your modem or router and even ISP networking. If you are using a Windows system to encode, or have a Windows computer on the same network as the encoder, there is a handy pathping command you can use to check the routing between your location and us thoroughly. To use this command, open a command prompt, (Run -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt), and run this command: pathping Replace with the actual domain name which points to your streaming. This command will run for several minutes, and will eventually produce a summary that looks something like this: Copy the complete output and paste it into a support ticket and we'll see if it indicates packet loss. If so, you'll generally need to contact your ISP and provide them with the evidence of packet loss so they can work with the affected network hop to clear it up. Packet loss can be intermittent, so please run at least three pathping commands and provide complete output from each to us. If you are on a Mac, the pathping command is not available, unless you can run Windows via Bootcamp, Parallels or VMWare Fusion. If you cannot access the pathping command, run these two commands instead: traceroute ping -n 100 The output is not as detailed, but still may help reveal packet loss.
Most times you will never realize that your internet is have disconnection problems until your are live streaming. Disconnections during normal web browsing can appear as short delays in loading web pages. Having a 1 second disconnect of your internet is all that is needed to disconnect you from our servers. Having a look at your router and modem logs can sometimes reveal problems such as this at the ISP level. Looking for things related to multiple DHCP renewals or time syncing problems can indicate random disconnects of your internet. If you suspect the modem or router to be the problem contact your ISP to upgrade or replace it for you.