How much Internet speed do you need? Internet connectivity is a moving target. Sometimes, you enjoy blazing speeds on your laptop, phone, and other times, you wonder why your connection is so slow. In this article, we’ll walk through how much Internet speed you will need.
Our focus will be on:
First, the Internet speed is measured by how fast packets of data are transmitted from the WWW to your home computer or mobile device. It is measured in units called megabits per second, or Mbps.
What is a “Fast” Internet Speed?
By most definitions, anything above 200 Mbps is considered “fast.” Once you get above 750 Mbps, these are often referred to as “gigabit” services.
If you’re wondering why anyone would ever need a 1000 Mbps + download or upload speed, the answer is pretty simple: most of us don’t.
That said, these sorts of speeds are worth getting for techies, streamers, and large households.
For instance, say you are someone who enjoys streaming 4K movies regularly or playing intensive 3D games in 4K on your PC.
All of these actions require tremendous bandwidth, as ultra-res media can be dozens to hundreds of gigabytes in size.
What would take you hours to download on a lesser connection can be achieved in a matter of seconds over gigabit Internet connections, provided you’re willing to pay the higher premiums associated with these speeds.
What is a “Good” Internet Speed?
It depends on how many devices and family members will be using the connection at any given time? What do they use the internet for on a regular basis? Is your main activity 4K Netflix streaming, or just simple email tasks?
The FCC currently defines a “broadband” internet connection as one that provides at least 25 Mbps for download speed and 3 Mbps for upload. This is a decent benchmark for the average family of three.
How Much Speed do I Really Need?
Here are some general download speed requirements based on everyday online activities:
- Check email and browse the web: 1-5 Mbps minimum
- Streaming HD content: 15-25 Mbps minimum
- Stream 4K content and play competitive online games: 40-100 Mbps minimum
- Stream 4K content, play online games, and download very large files: 200+ Mbps minimum
What Uses the Most Bandwidth?
Your internet speed is ultimately a measure of your bandwidth. If you have a 25 Mbps connection, you can watch five simultaneous 5 Mbps Netflix streams.
With the average Internet speed in the US being close to 100 Mbps nowadays, most people won’t max out their connection.
In general, the streaming video uses the most bandwidth – at least for the average user. Netflix uses around 5 Mbps for 1080p streams and advises 25 Mbps for 4K streams.
YouTube is usually a bit higher, since many videos are filmed at 60fps (twice the bandwidth), and it uses about 7 Mbps at 1080p60fps.
But this isn’t the whole picture. While a YouTube video might average out to be 7 Mbps, that’s not really how much bandwidth it actually uses.
Since it will buffer in advance, YouTube will usually try to max out your connection, peaking in our tests at nearly 250 Mbps (on a 400 Mbps connection).
Why does Internet Speed Vary Per Location?
You may notice a certain company offering fast speeds in the subdivision adjacent to yours…
…only to search your Internet options and find they can’t provide the same speed for your street.
This can be frustrating.
Regardless of which type of service you are interested in, your physical connection has to go somewhere central before it can move on to the wider network that forms the backbone of the internet.
For DSL and cable, this central location is the provider’s office or joining node, and for fiber, a central switch.
No matter the specifics, the physical distance between your home and these meeting points can have an impact on the speed of service a particular company is able to offer.
Remember, though – just because one provider can only offer a certain speed, that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them are limited in the same way.
If you live in an area where there are several services to choose from, check the speeds offered by other ISPs in your area before setting an install date.
1. How much speed do I need?
Good home internet speeds depend on what you use the internet for at home. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends internet speeds of 12-25 Mbps for families with multiple internet users or for frequent online streaming.
2. What is a fast internet speed?
The FCC has defined broadband, or fast internet, as internet with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps since 2015
3. What is the fastest home internet speed?
The current fastest home internet speed is 2,000 Mbps, or 2 Gbps, and is offered by Xfinity in select areas.
4. How do you figure out your current internet speed?
You can measure your current internet speed by taking an online speed test on a computer that’s connected to your home Wi-Fi.
5. Can you use satellite internet for gaming?
It depends on the type of game you’re playing. Satellite internet does not work well with sports games or shooter games because they require rapid data response times.
So how much speed do you need? If you don’t have time to dig into the details, just make sure you get a plan with at least 25 Mbps download speed. For most people, this is “good enough.”
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