This is merely meant as a thought experiment, because I reckon it's generally a bad idea with regards to scalability, security, etc., BUT:

Imagine a person wanted to start streaming videos from his home network to an international audience, instead of using YouTube or somesuch. Given average conditions: What would generally be their maximum reach with regards to number of simultaneous viewers before the network restrictions start to give problems? What bandwidth options would be suitable and how would internet providers handle matters, if traffic starts going over certain acceptable levels?

What type of hardware and software may be useful to consider for an average person with an average budget, far below that of a larger business?

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    Depends on the video quality and the number of streams you are sending. But home networking is off topic here. You can ask this on Super User. But be aware that request for resources (hw, sw) are off topic there as well.
    – Ron Trunk
    Dec 19, 2019 at 14:02
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    "Imagine a person wanted to start streaming videos from his home network to an international audience" That would violate the residential ISP terms of service, and the ISP connection could be shut down by the ISP. Running services to the Internet is prohibited by the residential ToS, and it requires a business account.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 19, 2019 at 18:27
  • @RonMaupin Well, can't someone with a home business do it then? Dec 20, 2019 at 8:16
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    If the person buys a business account from the ISP, but read the answer you got. You have all types of options in business accounts (even 100 Gbps, assuming you could afford it, but you will need some very special, expensive equipment that is maintained in a suitable environment for that), but as the answer points out, you do not do this from one site, and it is not as simple as you may think.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 20, 2019 at 8:22
  • OK, thanks for the pointers, guys! This was really interesting to ponder, even if it was off-topic. :) Dec 20, 2019 at 8:25

1 Answer 1


Much of the quality/cost economics of video distribution are about putting large-enough content caches near large-enough populations of viewers. For live streaming you need encoding engines in the right places, to convert to whatever is optimal for a given viewer's output. Very little of it is to do with what's near the video source. That said, there is a huge difference between sending some mass viewership stream (election result: millions of viewers in one country) and a narrow one (quarterly investor report: might be a small as a hundred, in different financial centres).

My suggestion would be to read up about content distribution networks and the encoding mechanisms. Both You Tube and AWS have excellent documentation materials which probably cover what you're interested in, but of course there are many others.

  • Video distribution as an industry is both capital- and knowledge-heavy. You need to be right up to date with video encoding formats, which can be extremely CPU-expensive to encode. And then have the capital to have big CPUs available in the appropriate viewing regions at the right moments, ideally with a network you can multicast though. Altogether factors which given enormous benefits to larger operators, who can know pretty accurately how many total viewers there will be in a given place and time, even if they don't know what they will be watching.
    – jonathanjo
    Dec 20, 2019 at 12:11

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