Plex streaming issues:

tiernoc

    Good Afternoon all,  I've been having difficulties recently getting Plex to stream to my phone (Moto G6).  The device streams over wifi and on the home / local network ~PERFECTLY~ however when I try to access my home server over an LTE connection it jumps and stutters with constant buffering issues.

     

    I have completely blown away and rebuilt my plex server, and my intermittant connectivity/ buffering issues tells me that my port forwarding on my router is configured correctly.   I have spoken with my ISP (Wave Broadband) and they confirmed they aren't blocking or throttling the ports, and my speed tests show 27.6 mbps down and 5.9 up.  This is within the tolerance for my server bandwidth requirements (easily) and I'm quickly running out of avenues to pursue.  Please help!

      All replies

      • theartiszan

        Re: Plex streaming issues:

        When you do a speed test on your phone on LTE, what speed are you seeing?

        It also depends on what quality. If you have a 4k video or even 1080 that is not compressed, 5mbps up won't be fast enough.

        1 of 1 people found this helpful
        • tiernoc

          Re: Plex streaming issues:

          Sorry, I should have been more clear.  The speeds listed in the original post (27.6 down, 5.9 up) are for my phone on LTE.  My home broadband is 150 down / 12 up on average.

           

          The Plex server / app has transcoding features available, and can downgrade if there are problems buffering.  It was downgraded earlier to 2mbps and still stuttering despite the speed tests showing an available connection of 27 down / 6 up.

            • smplyunprdctble

              Re: Plex streaming issues:

              Have you tried a non-phone connection?  E.g. friend's house or work to test your Plex connection?

               

              I use Emby (it's what I was introduced to instead of Plex), and when I had Comcast, I had difficulties streaming HD content because of the way the pipe works.  This was whether I was using LTE or if I was on a desktop at my employer.

               

              Same setups and when I upgraded to ATT Fiber, any streaming issues went away.

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
              • tmo_amanda

                Re: Plex streaming issues:

                Hey, tiernoc!

                 

                I'm curious - which plan are you on? I'm thinking this has to do with the quality level of the streaming video.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • tiernoc

                Re: Plex streaming issues:

                I'm on the unlimited ~$80 a month plan.  I have noticed that the issue is intermittent although I suspect the issue was due to an issue with the Plex server being an old / corrupted build.  I'm thinking we can close this issue for now, as I don't really have a way to replicate the issue anymore.

                • tiernoc

                  Re: Plex streaming issues:

                  tmo_amanda, I've been narrowing down the streaming issues wherever I can, as I'm seeing regular buffering issues.  Is there a preferred T-Mobile tool for measuring live bandwidth?  I would like to eliminate my phone and connection as potential issues if possible.

                    • smplyunprdctble

                      Re: Plex streaming issues:

                      You can use Speedtest.net (and it's associated apps) to test bandwidth on your device.

                       

                      As I stated earlier, T-Mobile's bandwidth is probably not the issue.  Most ISPs limit your upload speeds (as you said, 12 up).  According to Netflix, you should be able to get away with 5mbps for HD, but it depends on the codec used on your Plex server, and all network activity going on from the router your Plex server is serving through.

                       

                      If I were you, I wouldn't start with troubleshooting T-Mobile (it's the hardest because of the variables).

                       

                      Find a friend with broadband, or go to Starbucks with your laptop and test the streaming there.  See what quality you can stream using the browser player or any native player for Plex.

                       

                      Then, try your phone on the same network's wifi.  See what happens there.

                       

                      If both of those are perfectly fine, then T-Mobile probably has something to do with your problem.  My guess is you'll experience the same problem on someone else's WiFi.

                       

                      My guess as to what's happening (again, based on experience with Emby, Plex's competitor) is:

                      - Your phone sees that it has a high download speed, so Plex is saying "Give me everything you got!"

                      - Plex is trying to stream at a higher bitrate than is supported by your ISP's upload speeds (12mbps doesn't always mean a solid 12mbps - it varies based on any downloads happening at the same time)

                      - Plex isn't getting enough feedback from the phone to try to reduce the bitrate to something streamable.

                       

                      I have experienced this same issue when I had Comcast using Emby.  Sometimes the app would catch up to a proper bitrate for streaming, but it was always hit or miss [usually miss] unless I was streaming something native SD.  You can try adjusting the QoS settings in your router to give priority to the Plex server, but this will probably only get you fractions of a bps.

                       

                      There may be settings that will transcode down to SD for you on the Plex server side.  You'll have to make sure your Plex server can handle the CPU pegging required to transcode this.

                       

                      Also, you might want to try the Plex community.  They're the experts on Plex and how to get things set up with various bandwidth requirements.  There's potentially something you're missing in the setup.

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                        • tiernoc

                          Re: Plex streaming issues:

                          Thanks for the comment and suggestions smplyunprdctble!  I've actually been working a plex support ticket for the past week and a half already (as the issues started there), but figured I should probably work it from every angle I can and eliminate what variables I could.  I'll see if I can't try streaming via a hotspot and see if I have the same issues, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the pathetic upload I'm getting from Wave Broadband is more than partially responsible.

                        • tmo_amanda

                          Re: Plex streaming issues:

                          I definitely agree with smplyunprdctble in this case. Your plan is most definitely not the issue and I don't think your phone is either. The only other cause would be with Plex. I can't think of other steps to try at this point to get the streaming back to what it should be except to continue working with Plex.

                        • nelfar212

                          Re: Plex streaming issues:

                          There are a number of factors that affect streaming via plex while outside the (WLAN) you can try tweeking your transcoding settings. I use plex exclusively, especially since I cord cut. I purchased a laptop for the sole purpose of running plex and 3 usb 3.0 HDD'"s. I have zero issues streaming whike OTG. Then again I have a ton of processing power that can transcode multiple 1080p streams.