This article describes a few options to improve slow video streams which trigger the "Low Bandwidth" warning on the UniFi Video live view.
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Streaming is a very intense process for any machine. Even with newer and newer hardware, it is difficult to keep up with the demand for real time video in most use cases. This article includes a few pointers on what to check to determine the cause of the slow video stream(s) that triggers the Low Bandwidth warning in UniFi Video Live View.
This warning will appear if the client machine (i.e. computer where Live View is being used) is struggling to keep up with the demand for video decoding, or if the NVR hardware is slowing down due to some CPU intensive process. It does not necessarily mean the camera or NVR have low bandwidth.
ATTENTION: If you do not see the Low Bandwidth message like in the picture above, skip to step 2.
Step 1: Network Troubleshooting
In most cases the upload speed of one of the elements in the network is the culprit of triggering a Low Bandwidth warning. Always perform a thorough troubleshooting as described in this section first, before moving on to troubleshoot the camera.
Check the upload speed. Check the machine's connection to the NVR—specifically the NVR’s effective upload speed. If the NVR is separated over the internet (WAN) then that network's upload speed is a factor. You'll need to make sure your network speed is up to the task. The following diagram shows a scenario where the UBNT cloud or port forwarding is being used to reach the NVR. Notice the numbered connections from the camera all the way to the mobile, where a user is viewing the live video. Any one of these five connections could be the cause of the slow stream. In other words, the slowest upload speed of any of these will be the maximum speed available for the video stream.
In this second scenario, a local machine is used to view the video streams from the NVR, so the path from camera to user is shorter. Again, any of these connections can be the cause of low bandwidth. Check what the speed of each one is to determine if one of them is the cause. Typically, we find step 4 to be the culprit: make sure to check your WAN upload speed with your internet provider.
Step 2: Camera Troubleshooting
In the vast majority of cases, the Low Bandwidth warning is related to upload speeds and would become evident once the investigation mentioned in the section above is performed. In rare cases the issue will be related with the cameras. There are three ways this error could appear:
- On one camera stream
- On multiple camera streams
- On all camera streams
One Camera Stream
If symptoms only exhibit on one camera, it's most likely a connection issue, or camera firmware issue. Try the following:
- Reboot the camera.
- Make sure the camera's firmware is up to date.
- Try swapping the camera's ethernet cable, port, and uplink switch to cover all bases.
Multiple Camera Streams
1. If the same cameras present symptoms every time, it is likely a camera connection, or camera firmware issue. Try to establish a commonality between the cameras:
1.1 Are they on the same Switch? Test one of them on another switch or compatible POE injector.
1.2. Are they on another LAN? Make sure ports 7442 and 6666 are open to the NVR.
1.3. Are they on the same firmware? Try manually uploading a new firmware from our Downloads page on one of the cameras.
2. If symptoms appear on different cameras every time, it’s most likely a client-side processing issue. In other words, the computer used to view the video stream. To verify: open Task Manager (Windows) or the Activity Monitor app (macOS) and view the computer's CPU usage. You should be looking at the stats for the browser used to run UniFi Video. Mobile devices don't always include a CPU monitor, you may have to install an app that functions as one. Alternatively, you can test on a computer to verify if the Low Bandwidth message appears, if it doesn't, then the issue is with the mobile's CPU is very probable that the phone's CPU usage is at a very hione, or you can test the connection on a computer first to determine if the mobile's speed is the problem.
All Camera Streams
In most cases this is indicative of a poor connection or a slow client-side CPU. Make sure to check the client's CPU usage using the same instructions shown above, both before and after opening the video stream.