Low Latency Streaming



Watch the video »

Low-latency streaming has been at the core of Wowza streaming architecture from the beginning. Wowza technology provides fine-grained controls to help you deliver the optimal low-latency experience for your customers.

How Wowza Powers Low-Latency Streaming for Your Use Case


Designing for Low Latency


Delivering low-latency streaming experiences involves balancing three main factors to find the right mix for your purposes.



Encoding protocols, viewing endpoint capabilities, software stack, and other workflow elements all introduce quantifiable latencies. However, an unmanaged network (such as the Internet) will introduce the greatest degree of uncertainty in delivery speed. A common method of reducing latency is to reduce buffer requirements throughout the controllable workflow, but doing so can also make network fluctuations much more visible to the viewer.



As audience size, geographic distribution, and the number of streams increase, network variability also increases, requiring more buffering and/or increased infrastructure complexity.



As the amount of data in your video, determined by resolution, effects, overlays, etc., increases, the corresponding encoding, transcoding, and transmuxing tasks either need more power and bandwidth to process and transmit the extra data in near real time, or will inherently increase latency.

The Streaming Latency and Interactivity Continuum

Live-streaming media is a balancing act between playback quality and interactivity. For use cases involving higher degrees of interactivity, lower levels of latency are required to provide a positive user experience. Based on your use case and corresponding latency requirements, you can choose an encoding format and streaming protocol that meet your needs. To read our complete guide to low-latency streaming, click the button below.

low latency continuum


Latency Scenarios for Every Use Case

Two-Way and Chat

Real-time streaming (<1 second) is necessary for use cases with high interactivity, such as two-way web conferencing, telepresence and real-time device control.


Low latency (1-5 seconds) is needed for use cases with medium or optional interactivity, including UGC live streams, game streaming and e-sports.

Broadcast Experience

Reduced latency (5-18) is required for use cases with low interactivity, where the experience must match that of broadcast TV—for example, OTT providers and live-streaming news and sports.

No Time Constraints

Default HTTP latencies of 18-45 seconds are sufficient for use cases with low degrees of interactivity, such as one-way streams of live events to large audiences or linear programming.

latency for every use case

low latency protocols

Choose the Right Protocol

Traditional Streaming Protocols

RTSP and RTMP are traditional protocols used for very low-latency streaming, but they don't scale well, and are not natively supported on all endpoints (e.g., iOS devices). They work best for streaming to small to midsize audiences from a single media server.

HTTP-Based Adaptive Streaming Protocols

Protocols such as HLS, HDS, HSS and MPEG-DASH work well for streaming to large audiences on a wide range of devices at once, and are easily scalable. They can be tuned for low-latency delivery, but not ultra-low or real time, so aren't suited for two-way and chat.

Emerging Technology

The WebRTC protocol is designed for real-time audio, video and data delivery, even over less-reliable connections. It's easily scalable and doesn't require plug-ins, thanks to native stream encoding and playback in HTML5-compatible browsers.

Key Features of Low-Latency Streaming With Wowza

Mobile Encoding App & SDK





 Low-latency WOWZ protocol for stream ingest

 Optimized bitrate encoding to suit available network conditions

Cloud Service





 WOWZ, RTMP, and RTSP low-latency protocols for incoming streams




 Cloud platform delivering in-region transcoding resources worldwide

 Workflows available to achieve lower latency (Contact us for more information.)




 Lower-latency delivery options available (Contact us for more information.)

Server Software





 WOWZ, RTMP, and RTSP low-latency protocols for incoming streams

 WebRTC low-latency browser-encoded incoming streams (Read more about Wowza WebRTC software preview)




 Scalable, extensible architecture for cloud deployment and transcoding-workflow optimization

 RTMP, RTSP, and WebRTC delivery for low and ultra-low latency

 Adjustable chunk sizes and key frames for HTTP (Apple HLS) workflows to achieve lower latency at scale




 WebRTC implementation for live stream and bandwidth optimization

 Support for delivery via stateful protocols and chunk-size-reduced HTTP-based protocols 

Want to Learn More?

Download Our Guide to Low-Latency Streaming

Free Wowza Guide to Latency Scenarios for Every Use Case