New tool could reduce video buffering on crowded Wi-Fi signals

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to watch videos more smoothly on an internet connection that is being used by many people.

The tool called the Minerva analyzes a video before it plays and checks it to see the impact of it being streamed at a lower quality, Engadget reports.

Typically, the available bandwidth is split between the number of people using the Wi-Fi signal. So, for example, if a child is watching a cartoon and an adult is watching an HD sports match, the bandwidth would be split between the two streams.

Minerva analyzes to see what video requires more bandwidth and decides what content can be viewed at a lower quality. The tool then assigns the video the amount of bandwidth to play without affecting its quality.

Engadget noted that in real-life tests, the tool was able to reduce rebuffering time almost by half, and “in one-third of cases was able to offer improvements to video playback quality that were the equivalent of going from 720p to 1080p.”

The researchers also note that video providers don’t need to change hardware and can drop-in the replacement protocol.

Source: Engadget