Ask LH: What's The Best ISP Option For A Saucy Webcam Babe?

Hi Lifehacker, I work from home as a webcam model, so I need a very reliable internet connection. I can't have any delay of any sort or I lose customers. My laptop is a bit old -- is there anything I can do to ensure the best connection? Thanks, Model Citizen

Webcam picture from Shutterstock

Dear MC,

Note to readers: yes, this is a real letter. Note to male readers: no, you can't have her number.

The first step is to run an internet speed test in your browser. A good, user-friendly option is the self-explanatory Ookla Speed Test which performs a scan to determine your connection's download and upload speeds. You can then compare the results to the average speeds quoted by your internet service provider (just keep in mind that the advertised speeds are usually over generous).

If the test results are significantly lower, there could be a problem with your hardware. Reset your modem and router, swap over cables, compare your broadband speed with other computers in the house and adopt a process of elimination to see if there are any kinks in the connection. If you identify the culprit, replace it.

You mentioned that you 'cam' on a laptop, which suggests you may be using a wireless connection. Don't do this. Wi-Fi can degrade your bandwidth in all sorts of ways which may result in frequent dropouts -- this is especially noticeable when streaming video. Instead of going wireless, establish a hard-wired connection directly to your router to maximise performance. Depending on your webcam setup, this may require buying an extra-long ethernet cable but the reliability gains will be worth it.

If you're a BitTorrent user, you're upload speeds could be taking a hit due to video files being 'seeded' by other BitTorrent users. The simplest solution is to turn BitTorrent off whenever you're using your webcam. In fact, you should close any programs that assume an internet connection: having multiple apps updating themselves in the background is obviously a bad idea.

Also check if your specific ISP plan uses internet shaping which could explain seemingly random slowdowns. If this is the case, it might be time to start shopping for a new broadband plan.

Your ideal choice would be NBN, since in this context upload speed matters. Of course, this is only feasible if the NBN is being rolled out in your neck of the woods any time soon. You can check the NBN status in your area by paying a visit to NBN Co's rollout map -- simply type in your address to see whether services are available or in the process of being built.

Failing that, the fastest option available to you will likely be either ADSL2+ or a cable connection (although the latter can be flakey when it comes to upload speeds). If you're keen to shop around, click here to peruse an exhaustive list of "Unlimited" ADSL2 broadband plans. You could also potentially sign up to a business plan which may offer even faster upload speeds.

You can find some additional tips via our Top 10 Ways To Deal With A Slow Internet Connection post. Good luck!

See also: Capture The 'Triangle' With Your Webcam To Look Better On Video Calls | Five Best Webcams | How To Take The Perfect Nude Selfie Maximise Your Speed, Performance And Wireless Signal

Cheers Lifehacker

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    ..well how about her URL then?

    no, you can’t have her numberHell with her number, what's her url...? :)

      I assume the poster will read this article - and the posts. In which case, I encourage Lifehacker to allow him / her to add a URL link in the comments.

      We should see the quality of the current connection, before suggesting improvements. [ahem]

    If you need extra speed and can't get NBN, some ISPs do have the option of annex-m connections, such as iinet:

    A girl who reads Lifehacker/Gizmodo? Guys, it isn't April 1st.

      there's probably girls on here. but one that doesnt know basic internet? highly unlikely.

        I doubt there are sexy stripper type girls on Gizmodo. If there are such girls, they need to make themselves known asap.

    Hi Lifehacker, I work from home as a webcam model

    Nothing there to suggest a female adult-entertainment model at all.

      It could be a sentient webcam, I suppose.

        Or someone showing off various models of webcam, kind of a home shopping kind of thing.

        That or dressing up as a webcam but even I'm not that perverted

        Well, I was considering a male performance artist rather than a sentient camera when I wrote that.

        Come on Chris; strippers, escorts, performance artists are comprised of both of all of our genders.

          The 'webcam model' profession is heavily skewed towards female performers -- a lot more than strippers or even escorts. I don't think its sexist to make this assumption. I was just using the laws of probability. :-P

          There is also a higher proportion of transgender people in those professions than is represented in the general population.

    One of my weirder moments at uni...

    "Damn check out this webcam chick. Doesn't she look like your friend X?"
    "That IS my friend X."
    "Let's drop some bucks, see what we can get her to do..."
    "No. No, let's not. :( I would like to be able to look this person in the eye later."

      haha lame

      i wouldve paid 5 bucks for her to get her top off

      Haha. Oh man, I know that feeling all to well. I have a few friends in the adult industry, I just can't bring myself to checking their work out, they're great friends and what they do to earn $$ is their decision, which I support!

        That awkward moment if you did see where you'd be talking to them and the only thing going through your mind is "people paid you to get undressed for them"

        You should supporting them by doing business with them.

      hahaha yeah.. i used to live with a stripper (we were just good friends house sharing - nothing else). friends of mine wanted to take me to a strip club.. the same one where she worked. i balked hard.. that's a line i didn't want to cross

      Wait, was that you offering to drop a couple bucks, Transi??

        Hahaha. Nah.
        (Edit: Yes. It totally was.)

        Last edited 15/04/14 8:34 pm

    Mr Abbott, this is exactly why Australia needs a fast and reliable NBN. The old copper lines just won't cut it anymore mate.

      That's a very good point: this is somebody working online as a private contractor from home, who would benefit greatly from improved and reliable internet speeds. She's practically an NBN poster child!

        Won't Malcolm please think of the stripper poster-children?

        I'm not sure his conservative mindset could grasp that argument any better than "throwing good money at bad copper is a stupid idea you goose"

    On topic - Consider the following option - might need 2x copper to deliver and not available to all locations, however if/when available could provide better upstream for a webcam -

    I've had nothing to do with the industry for a while, but here's some general tips (some covered partially already):

    -You don't mention whether you're using the built-in laptop cam. Don't. Forking out for a pricier logitech is worth it. The cleaner and less noisy the raw video is, the better compression will work.
    -Make sure the area you're working is fairly well lit,
    -Latency and bandwidth are different things. By dropping the video quality a little (fiddling with the settings) you might be able to increase the responsiveness.
    -The company/site you're running your cam through probably hosts their servers in the US, which means your video is streaming half way around the world before they send it to the viewer client. The time it takes your video to hit their server can have a serious impact on how quick you seem to respond. I'd advise picking a site that either has servers near your customers, or servers near you.

    Upload bandwidth is obviously a big factor, which is why in some areas they run 'cam girl farms' - you basically pay for a small room with great bandwidth by the hour. One probably doesn't exist near you, but you might be able to rent a small office somewhere (see: all of lifehacker's office share articles) . If it has a fibre connection to the building and a lock on the door, it could work.
    -If you can get NBN, get NBN. Go for at least a 25/5 plan, preferably a 50/20.
    -If you're on cable, measure your upload speeds at different times of day. cable congestion is a bitch and hard to fix, so you might just want to schedule around it.
    -If you're raking in money, you might want to consider a midband ethernet/bonded DSL connection. They're quite expensive, but sometimes the best available option.
    -If you're using DSL on an exchange that supports annex M, you might be able to get double your upload speed. it's worth calling up a few of the providers t see if you can:
    -Business plans. they cost more, but if you're suffering DSL congestion they will make a huge difference. Basically if your line-sync rate and real-world download rates are completely off, a business plan will probably help.
    -QoS, especially if you share a house with other people. A router that supports QoS can be set to prioritise your cam traffic above everything else, so that gamer/torrenter doesn't affect you.
    -No mobile data. even if you get amazing reception where you are, the constant variations in latency and bandwidth will make it unusable.

    I think that covers the basics. Good luck with the business venture.

    You could test your ISP speed here too


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