Nobody wants slow internet, but improved connections may become prohibitively expensive in the near future. You’ll want to find a happy medium between “still buffering” and “How much does Comcast cost?”
How much download speed do I need
Broadband, in general, refers to the fastest rate at which data can be downloaded from the internet to your computer.
Think of bandwidth as a water hose. Assume you have a 100-gallon tank in need of filling. Filling the tank will take 20 minutes if your garden hose only generates 5 gallons of water per minute. A gigantic firehose, on the other hand, that sprays out a gallon of water every second, will fill the tank in less than two minutes.
Bandwidth is analogous to hose size. The larger it is, the more data you can retrieve in a given amount of time.
Bits per second are used to measure bandwidth. It is important to note that bits are not the same as bytes, which are the most commonly used unit of file size. Because one byte equals eight bits, one megabyte (MB) equals eight megabits.
A 1MB file will take eight seconds to download if you have a 1 megabit per second connection.
An MP3 file of roughly 6MB will take about 48 seconds to download on a 1 Mbps connection. A 5 gigabyte (5,000MB) movie will take approximately 11 hours to download.
How much bandwidth do you require?
How much bandwidth are you looking for?
All devices on your network share the bandwidth that is provided to you. How you use the internet determines how much you need.
If one person is downloading a video game, another is streaming a movie, and yet another is reloading Instagram on his phone, you’ll need enough bandwidth to keep everyone happy.
Because video streaming requires the most bandwidth, households with several streams may prefer to pay extra for faster rates. Netflix recommends 3 Mbps for one standard-quality video and 5 Mbps for one high-definition stream. Two simultaneous HD quality streams would require around 10 Mbps, and so on.
You don’t need a lot of bandwidth to play online video games. Downloading a video game or other huge file, on the other hand, consumes a significant amount of bandwidth.
Frequent file-sharers and downloaders may prefer faster speeds, but it’s simple to schedule your downloads when network demand is low and more bandwidth is available, such as late at night.
If you only use the internet for regular web browsing, email, and social media, you won’t require much more than 1 Mbps.
The bandwidth estimations in the chart below are based on one user performing one activity at a time. You’ll need to account for extra bandwidth if you have numerous users on the same connection.
What internet speed do you need?
If you want …
You’ll need about…
General web surfing, email, social media
Standard-definition video streaming
High-definition video streaming
Frequent large file downloading
50 Mbps and up
*A connection with low latency, the time it takes your computer to talk to the game server, is more important than bandwidth for gaming.
**You’ll want at least a 1 Mbps upload speed for quality video conferencing.
Remember that the speed you sign up for is not usually the speed you receive. Rather, you can reach the indicated speed; your available bandwidth is affected by other households’ network demand, your own hardware, and the quality of your provider’s infrastructure, among other things.
In rare situations, such as when network demand is low, you may even receive faster speeds than you signed up for.
While download speed is the most crucial factor to consider, upload speed is also important, especially if you’re recording video for others to stream. Upload speed is typically indicated as the second figure following download speed — for example, 4 Mbps/1 Mbps — it is frequently less than your download bandwidth.
Obtaining the desired bandwidth
If you reside in a metropolitan region, you may expect fast and dependable internet service from a cable company, as well as slightly slower speeds from a phone company’s digital subscriber line, or DSL, service. Fiber optic cables, the quickest route to deliver internet service, are available, although they are rare. Satellite internet providers cover almost everyone, whether in rural or metropolitan regions, although these connections can be slow and fussy.
According to Akamai, a major internet security and content delivery provider, all 50 states and Washington, D.C. have an average connection speed of 10 Mbps or higher. Idaho has the slowest average speed, 10.2 Mbps, while Washington, D.C. has the fastest average speed, 24.3 Mbps.
Is 100 Mbps fast enough?
A 100 Mbps internet connection is fast, but not very fast. It’s just over average for most internet users, with enough power to enable you stream videos, play online games, and participate in video chat meetings on a few devices with minimum lag.
What is a good download speed and upload speed?
While most users are satisfied with a download speed of 25 Mbps, power users and streamers should consider significantly faster rates. Any internet connection that exceeds 25 Mbps is considered fast. The FCC now defines a “broadband” internet connection as having a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps.
Internet speeds are typically expressed in terms of download speed—for example, a plan with our recommended download speed of 25 Mbps and upload speed of 3 Mbps would simply be referred to as a 25 Mbps internet speed. We’ll keep an eye on this trend, but it’s also crucial to keep an eye on internet upload speeds.
With 25 Mbps, you can stream Netflix or YouTube, participate in Zoom meetings, and play the majority of online games on one or two devices.
If that doesn’t seem like a good fit, use the tool above to get a tailored recommendation, or use the steps below to calculate the internet speed you require.
How much should my download speed be?
A good download speed should be at least 25 Mbps, and an upload speed should be at least 3 Mbps. Some people can get by with fewer Mbps, while others require more—but for the most part, that is adequate internet speed.
How can I boost my download speed?
- Download Speed: 15 Ways to Boost Your Internet Connection Today
- Experiment with a different modem/router.
- Switch your modem on and off again.
- Scan your computer for viruses.
- Examine the system for on-system interference.
- Make use of a Fast VPN.
- You should relocate your router.
- Safeguard Your WiFi Network.
- Use an Ethernet cable to connect.