A reliable and fast internet connection is essential to live streaming to YouTube, Facebook, or even your website.
If your speed is low, you will only be able to stream in lower qualities, and your viewers may experience frequent buffering and errors. We cover a lot of details of what you need in our article How to Test and Improve your Internet Connection for Live Streaming.
But what if you are already using the best internet connection from your internet service provider, and it isn’t good enough for high quality, reliable live streaming?
4G Mobile Internet, also called Mobile Broadband, is a technology that offers fast internet speeds without the need to connect by cable to your internet Service Provider (ISP). In this article, we will cover everything you need to start live streaming with a 4G internet and share some valuable advice to ensure you can add live streaming to your digital worship services.
Check 4G Coverage in Your Area
Different mobile phone operators offer different coverage, so it’s essential to check which operator has the best signal in your area. Previously you would visit each phone operators website separately and try to navigate through an unintuitive menu system to see where they can cover.
But now Ofcom has developed a great tool that allows you to check the coverage from all operators in one place. Using the Ofcom tool is simple and can be done in a few easy steps:
- Using a phone or computer, visit the Ofcom Mobile Coverage website
- Type in the postcode of your Church and click “Set Postcode.”
- To get more accurate results, select your address from the drop-down list that appears.
- Scroll down on the page and click the map button “View map of available services.”
- A new “Network” drop-down field will appear above the map. Select the first option from the list.
- The map will now show a coloured overlay of the coverage with that network. Below the map is a legend.
- Go through each network by changing the selection in the “Network” drop-down box. Find the network with the most substantial amount of dark green (Likely to have good coverage). This network will most likely give you the best coverage in your area.
It’s crucial to find a network with a good signal covering most of your area. If the coverage of 4G is patchy, it could mean that the signal is not strong enough to penetrate the walls of your building. Once you have discovered the network, ask your staff or members of your congregation if they are on that network. It will be best to test the connection within the building before getting a new line from the operator.
Speed Testing 4G Internet
Testing 4G internet speed is almost identical to testing your WiFi speed. In our article all about the internet, we shared what steps you need to take to see if your internet is fast enough for live streaming. The same steps apply for 4G internet:
- Use a mobile phone on which is on the network you want to test.
- Stand where you would usually deliver your message, sermon or service. This can be at the pulpit or on a stage.
- Using the phone, visit the Faith Online Speed Test and click “Go”.
- Note the upload speed from the results screen.
- Run the speed test three times, varying your position each time and record all the results.
Once you have the results, you can test and improve your Internet connection for live streaming to discover how good your connection is for 4G for live streaming.
If several networks offer good coverage, we will recommend repeating the test with each and using the network with the best average upload speed.
How Much Data Does 4G Live Streaming Use?
Live streaming can use a lot of data, so it’s essential to be able to estimate how much before using a 4G connection. Using the numbers below, you can determine how much monthly data you need to live stream your digital worship services.
- Streaming in Full HD 1080p
Between 2GB and 3GB of data per hour
- Streaming in Standard HD 720p
Between 0.8GB and 2GB of data per hour
We recommend aiming to stream in Full HD, so using the upper amount of 3GB per hour, you can calculate how many hours per month you expect to stream and reach a total data usage amount.
The Different 4G Internet Devices
Networks offer different options for devices to be used with the 4G Mobile Broadband connection.
Mobile WiFi, MiFi or Mini Router
These devices are the size of a credit card (about 1cm thick) and contain an internal battery. These are great for when you only need to use the connection for a shorter period as the batteries are designed to last a couple of hours. You can use them for more extended periods by keeping them plugged into a wall socket. Due to their size, they have a weak antenna which could mean that they don’t have the greatest of coverage when used indoors.
These devices can vary in size but are usually similar in dimensions to a standard internet modem or router. Due to their size, they typically have a superior antenna to their smaller counterparts, offering a better and faster 4G signal. 4G routers are more expensive, adding one to your contract could increase your monthly costs by £10-£20
Sim Only Deals
Most mobile operators will offer a Sim-Only deal that lets you choose whichever device you want. If this option is available to you, it could be a great way to save on monthly expenses. You can pick up an excellent 4G Router for less than £100. We recommend the TP-Link TL-MR6400 from Amazon. It has two external Antenna which will ensure you get the best WiFi signal from your 4G connection.
After working out which network is best in your area and getting a connection from them, it’s time to go live. We have a great selection of articles that will help you on your journey of delivering digital worship services to your congregation.
Not convinced about live streaming? Check out this article about how live streaming can help to take your message further.
Wondering what kind of camera you need? Visit our guide about all the different types of cameras, including their strengths and weaknesses.