Solving Remote / What is Low Bandwidth Video Streaming?

The Role of Low-Bandwidth Video Streaming in Unstable Network Environments

Low bandwidth video streaming has become a crucial technology enabling the efficient transmission of video over the internet, especially in applications characterised by unstable connections. This technology is particularly significant in remote operations where the need to communicate and share real-time visual data can be challenged by bandwidth limitations.

Video streaming is a data-intensive process. The size of video files and the need for continuous delivery for a seamless viewing experience make it a heavy consumer of bandwidth. However, not all remote operations have the luxury of high-speed internet, making low-bandwidth video streaming a critical solution for communication and data sharing.

When streaming video, the more bandwidth available the better. However, access to these high volumes of bandwidth is not always feasible and operations are often confined to low-bandwidth networks due to resources, cost and availability.


Satellite communications are a common way of providing internet access in these areas. While some offer impressive download speeds, their primary challenges are insufficient upload speeds, high cost and high latency, particularly when remote operations rely on real-time interactions.

Although advancements are being made, with the deployment of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations such as Starlink, upload speeds remain a significant challenge for satellite-based communications. This is an inherent limitation of satellites, being primarily designed to provide fast download speeds to access content from the internet. As a result, the available bandwidth for uploading data from remote locations is typically much lower, creating a bottleneck for applications that require significant data transmissions in both directions.

Adequate video quality is important to obtain key visuals for remote operations however is reliant on bandwidth availability. The higher the quality and larger the file size, the more bandwidth is required. Different use cases require different quality streaming, one operation may need high quality footage for remote inspection, whereas another can use a lower quality picture for remote monitoring.

Video compression is utilised to produce efficient quality video streaming over low bandwidth networks. These technology solutions work by compressing video, audio and data formats for transfer across low bandwidth networks, maximising the available pipeline.

Bandwidth efficiency and optimisation for satellite networks will be essential moving forward as demand for network access and data exchange increases. As more applications for data transfer exist and are demanded in remote areas, the pressure on already constrained networks will increase.


One of the growing industries through digitalisation is maritime and shipping. As vessel fleets steadily grow, maritime operators need situational awareness on board for improved decision making and security. Video surveillance offers significant operational efficiencies and cost saving benefits with the ability to stream high quality video at a reasonable bandwidth. This facilitates better monitoring of crew and operations, improves communications between the crew and onshore teams during troubleshooting and enhances understanding of vessel operations for decision making. 

Remote support for technical or telehealth assistance while at sea is another way low bandwidth streaming can be used in maritime environments. This involves sharing video and collaborating with subject matter experts to ensure accurate responses onboard. This increases the efficiency of operations by reducing unnecessary downtime and ensuring technically expert personnel are available remotely to manage onboard situations without the need for delays or travel costs.

Another first mover in remote operations and managed autonomy arena is the offshore sector. As businesses future-proof operations and transition to more sustainable practices, streaming real-time data from uncrewed assets such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs) is vital. The amount of data required to obtain situational awareness from these assets is vast and requires low bandwidth streaming solutions over already constrained networks.

Streaming plays an important role in supporting uncrewed assets by providing real-time video transmission and enhancing their functionality. Remote monitoring and control of uncrewed assets removes humans from hazardous environments, bringing them back onshore and giving them the ability to support multiple projects at once.


Integrating low-bandwidth video streaming into Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is an emerging field and has a wealth of applications to enhance data collection, enable remote monitoring and improve decision making. These include defence intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, infrastructure inspection, environmental monitoring and disaster response.

Video streaming allows UAVs equipped with cameras and sensors to transmit data in remote areas where network connectivity is limited. With Harvest’s technology, UAV footage can be streamed live to team members for review, monitoring and collaboration.

Video streaming can also support the latest in UAV advances like Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drones, which facilitate longer flights, beyond the pilot’s visual range. These are increasingly being used with satellite terminals to collect data, survey and monitor large areas, allowing drones to collect more sensory data in fewer deployments.

In the ever-evolving landscape of remote operations, where connectivity is often a challenge, low-bandwidth video streaming emerges as a transformative technology. As bandwidth constraints persist in remote areas, the demand for efficient data transfer solutions grows. The integration of video compression techniques and the optimization of networks will continue to be instrumental in shaping the future of data transmission in challenging network environments

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