Personal media devices (iPads, iPods, Kindles, etc.) are becoming very common these days on an average home network. Chances are the majority of households have at least one of them per family member, if not more. With this comes an increase in demand for available bandwidth. The true test to see this potential bandwidth is to plug directly into your router and run a speed test (not wirelessly as this has limitations and will not provide an accurate reading most times). This will take all other devices off of the network to see what your true speed potential is. Now, when we start adding in every device to the network you have to start “sharing” this bandwidth. The larger the bandwidth the more potential devices you can have on your network without noticing network slowdown.
When you access a streaming media service such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime the speed is highly dependent on multiple network bandwidths. From your home network, the traffic has to go through multiple networks, through the internet, to reach its destination. If one of these networks is experiencing network slowdown, you will also experience this. If you have verified your network is operating as normal and you are experiencing buffering (slowness on a streaming video for example) then it could potentially be a speed issue somewhere along the path to the streaming service you are using or the streaming service network. Millions of devices are accessing what they have set up all at the same time and they can have potential bandwidth issues at times.
What you can do to ensure you have your end covered is to make sure your router can handle the load of the devices on your network, have adequate bandwidth (or more than you need in most cases), and make sure the device accessing the service can handle the application it is trying to run (some older devices simply do not have the processing power to handle some apps out there).