Chat
Contact us
Close contact box
Connect ID #
225 628 23
Connect ID #
225 628 23
All finished with your chat session?

We’ll email you a transcript of this conversation for your records.

Our contact center is currently closed.

For simple questions about your order,
try our virtual agent:

We're sorry; chat is unavailable at this time.

Please enter your name.  
Please enter a valid email address. Why is this required?
Please enter your US phone number.  

For Tech Support, call 1-888-292-2575

Thank you, !
Our conversation will be emailed to
Please enter a question  
Don't wait on hold. We'll call you back when it's your turn to talk with the next available .
Please enter your name  
Please enter your phone number  

Please enter a message  

Calls may be recorded for training and quality control purposes.

We are located in Virginia USA.

6 tips to solve Netflix streaming problems

How to build a stronger home Wi-Fi network

What I want to see when I sit down to stream a movie or TV show: spine-tingling action sequences, award-winning acting, maybe some really cool explosions.

What I don't want to see: the "buffering" spinner, pixelated faces, sudden freeze-frames in the middle of a car chase.

family watching netflix

A fast, strong wireless network helps your family work, learn, and play together without annoying lag and buffering.

Netflix streaming problems are rarely the fault of your smart TV or streaming device. In fact, they’re common side effects of an inadequate, overloaded internet connection.

Here are six tips to help you solve Netflix streaming problems, before they ruin your next binge-watching session.

1. Sign up for a high-speed internet plan

Check with your internet service provider to see what plan you're on, and what's available if you need to upgrade.

Internet download speed recommendations per stream

Internet download speed recommendations for content streaming in megabits per second.

On the Netflix customer help page, the service notes that 0.5 megabits per second (Mbps) is the bare minimum for a broadband connection, and suggests that you need at least 5 Mbps to view HD content. Honestly, for streaming today's high-res content, we recommend you double that to 10 Mbps. A robust 25 Mbps is needed for 4K UltraHD streaming.

A higher-tier service package may cost a bit more, but it’s probably worth it!

Not sure how fast your current connection is? You can easily test it from your computer.

Speedy internet is essential for cord cutting, if that's something you want to do.

2. Use the latest Wi-Fi standard 

Wi-Fi standards used to be confusing alpha-numeric soup, but no longer!

The Wi-Fi Alliance that governs wireless standards has created a clean and simple naming system to keep track of each major improvement to Wi-Fi protocol. We are currently enjoying the sixth iteration of Wi-Fi, which is called Wi-Fi 6. Older versions will be retroactively renamed in the following way:

  • Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax (2019)
  • Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014)
  • Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)

You get the idea.

941RAX200 Netgear nighthawk router wifi 6

A router with WiFi 6 — like the NETGEAR Nighthawk® AX12 seen here — offers advanced technology that makes it even easier to stream high-res content in a crowded wireless network environment.

Wi-Fi 6 is 37% faster than Wi-Fi 5 — assuming the router and the device it's connected to are both Wi-Fi 6 capable — and it offers multiple simultaneous data streams. Choosing a new router that's compatible with the latest standard is an upgrade that pays huge dividends.

3. Get Wi-Fi coverage where you need it

We rarely get to choose where the main internet connection enters our home. If your smart TV is in a third floor bedroom, and your router is plugged in in the basement, you're probably getting diminished signal strength.

Use both 2GHz and 5GHz depending on the device

A mesh router node on each floor of a multi-story home offers seamless Wi-Fi coverage wherever you are.

mesh network is an expandable multi-piece router system that seamlessly expands wireless coverage over a larger area. In the example of a multi-story townhome, you can connect one router module to the modem on the first floor. Another module on the second floor picks up the initial signal and rebroadcasts it at full strength. Put another on the third floor, and you'll get the same speedy connection there, too.

This video offers an excellent visual illustration of how routers, range extenders, and mesh networks function in your home:

4. Make your router work smarter

Raw speed and power are nice, but engineers are constantly coming up with new smart features that give you more control over how Wi-Fi is distributed throughout your home. Let's look at a couple of common issues and see how they're addressed by current router technology.

Too much traffic

According to 2018 data from Comscore, the average four-person household in America has 19 devices connected to the internet at any given time. But modern routers have tech built in that helps them multi-task and direct traffic more efficiently.

  • MU-MIMO stands for Multiple User-Multiple Input/Multiple Output, which is a fancy way of saying that your router communicates with multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is similar but even more efficient. It's especially useful for latency-sensitive applications such as cooperative gaming, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and smart home device networks.

Look for these meaningful acronyms when you're choosing a new router.

The video above offers a quick overview of the benefits of MU-MIMO.

Bandwidth vampires

I can remember when I'd be totally absorbed in some prestige drama, only to get yanked out of the story by buffering because my son had blithely decided to watch a YouTube video in his room. It's your house, you pay the bills. You should get to decide how the wireless bandwidth is doled out, right? Well, good news.

  • Airtime Fairness is a setting that boosts overall network performance by limiting how much network time goes to slower devices. Example: your daughter's hand-me-down smartphone will leech less bandwidth, leaving more for your media streamer.
  • Routers with Device Priority settings let you choose which device gets first dibs on the lion's share of the bandwidth. You're about to stream a blockbuster in 4K? Assign top priority to your TV to ensure a speedy, reliable flow of Wi-Fi.

You can count on more innovation as our networks get ever busier. We'll keep you posted.

5. Get wired

Wi-Fi is convenient and ubiquitous, but an Ethernet cable directly from your router to your smart TV, Roku box, or Apple TV offers maximum streaming speed and stability. This is where mesh routers come in very handy — each module will typically have one or more Ethernet ports, and you can place one right where you need it most.

6. Avoid channel interference

Most routers offer one 2.4 MHz band and one or two 5 MHz bands to handle wireless traffic. Each frequency band contains numbered channels, sort of like lanes on a mega-highway, and your router automatically selects a channel when you log on.

wifi interference

When everyone in your neighborhood is at home using Wi-Fi, it's a good idea to find an open channel to avoid the congestion.

If your neighbors' routers choose the same channel, it's like you're all driving in the same lane during rush hour. Fortunately, you can proactively use your router's app interface to move into a less congested lane. Use a free online utility to figure out where you’ll encounter little or no traffic.

Let us help

Choosing a new router solves many of the problems outlined above, but it can be tough to find one with exactly the options you need. Good news! You can call, email or chat with a friendly, tech-savvy Advisor who can help you navigate. They can also recommend a top-notch smart TV, Blu-ray player, streaming player, or receiver.

And don't forget that free lifetime tech support is included with every Crutchfield purchase.

Last updated 4/24/2020

Please share your thoughts below.

  • Joe Buondelmonte from West Hills

    Posted on 4/16/2020

    I found that I had 13 WiFi instruments active at one time. Router and modem are two, smart tv's are each one, WiFi headphones each count as one, fire sticks count as one each, NEST ac, or bell count one each, cell phone is one each. So I booted off all unused and buffering stopped.

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 4/17/2020

    Joe - That's definitely one way to solve the problem! Many current routers allow you to prioritize certain devices, like the TV or gaming system, so they always get the lion's share. The Wi-Fi environment is definitely getting even more crowded with so many people staying at home these days.
  • LEE M WILLIAMS from Colorado Springs

    Posted on 4/13/2020

    You may also want to add a note in your QoS section about Wireless Multimedia Extensions (WME) on the home router. My 10-year old home ActionTec router/modem has this feature. I assume it is incorporated in newer routers. This simple Enable of WME on the router does a default priority for streaming multimedia devices. It takes the 'rocket science' out of setting up a QoS table for the home router.

  • Eric Angevine from Charlottesville

    Posted on 4/29/2016

    Dennis - Your point is very well made. Thank you for your comment. I'll definitely revise the article to make that more clear.

  • Dennis Wehlitz from West Chester

    Posted on 4/20/2016

    RE: bandwidth, it's important to note that those recommended bandwidth increments are the required available bandwidth for each stream. For example, if you subscribe to 10mbps service, you're good for at best two simultaneous HD streams, and will have virtually no bandwidth for surfing, gaming, voip calls, etc. That said, Netflix and other providers use a rather complex method of measuring your available bandwidth at any moment, and adjust the quality of the stream they feed you real time. 4k is a massive bandwidth hog. You need 20-25mbps available just for a single stream, so if you have two 4k sets streaming that is obviously 50mbps of minimum bandwidth required.

  • James

    Posted on 4/7/2016

    Well I hate commenting but in the fact of getting the newest router yes it's always a good idea to replace router every few years as they run 24/7 and it takes a toll on them. But in fairness a old school 54mbps router is all you need for even 4k streaming as its 54mbps speed and according to your chart 24mbps is needed

  • James

    Posted on 4/7/2016

    Well I hate commenting but in the fact of getting the newest router yes it's always a good idea to replace router every few years as they run 24/7 and it takes a toll on them. But in fairness a old school 54mbps router is all you need for even 4k streaming as its 54mbps speed and according to your chart 24mbps is needed

  • Jim from San Bernardino

    Posted on 1/18/2016

    On the "5 tips to solve NETFLIX streaming problems" or"How to build a stronger home Wi-Fi network" I tried using the "Not sure how fast your current connection is? You can easily "Test It" by "Click on the 'Test It' " to go to the "TweakBit PC Speed Up 2015" site. HOWEVER, if you have any questions about or difficulty with the "TweakBit" 'Freebie' PC Speedup download(s) and call the 800-943-9756 telephone number for help, you'll get someone who sounds like they are from the India/Pakistan/Bangladesh region, and try to 'speak' English as a third language, plus have an attitude to match. About as useful as a burnt match. Bleh.

  • capt spaulding from chicago

    Posted on 11/23/2015

    10 MB is equivalent to 80 Mb. It would have given the article a little more cachet if the author was clear on this point.

  • SPOTTERRON from Lockport NY

    Posted on 5/30/2015

    Very informative.......

Looking for
networking?

Shop our selection