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During live streams some viewers experiencing problems with the stream like dropouts and artifacts although they have a 100MBit line what makes me assume the problems are caused by packet loss.

Could a VPN to the streaming source network improve the connection?

Probably not since the packets still can choose their routes through the net and can get lost on the way, right?

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If the issue is packet loss, then no, VPN will only make the issue worse.

One instance where I have noticed VPN helping things, though, is an instance where the site router is under-provisioned or misconfigured and is bumping up against the max size for its NAT state tracking table. Since VPNs encapsulate everything into a single TCP stream (or they just use UDP), once you establish a connection, you tend to keep it, even if the router is refusing new connections due to full state table.

Probably not since the packets still can choose their routes through the net and can get lost on the way, right?

Packets don't get to choose their own routes. That's what routers do. The internet would be a disaster if devices were able to choose their own routes.

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A VPN won't help here. Network conditions are the same either way. The VPN may improve error recovery, but won't change error handling. Dropouts and artifacts will still occur, however straight up failures may be less common.

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A VPN to a network with a better connection to the streaming source network could help. –  David Schwartz Mar 30 '12 at 19:05
    
@DavidSchwartz - I believe it depends on where the packet loss is happening. If loss is happening both on the path to the stream as well as on the path to the VPN, it's not going to help. If the loss is far enough down the "pipe", though that it doesn't affect packets to the VPN endpoint (and if there's no loss between the VPN endpoint and the stream source), then I could see this helping. –  EEAA Mar 30 '12 at 19:06
    
The classic example where it would help is if the stream source has two Internet connections, one of which is overloaded. If your path takes the bad connection, a VPN to an intermediary whose path from the stream source takes the good connection can make a big difference. Of course, in the more likely case that the problem is your link, and you only have one, it won't help. –  David Schwartz Mar 30 '12 at 19:32

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