While choosing an internet service provider (ISP) for your home network, you may find it difficult to understand your speed needs. The speed you choose determines how much time it will take to perform an online task. You need to check if your network connection can handle multiple tasks at the same time or not.
We will explain to you why internet speed is crucial for your online activities and how much speed you will need to carry out certain online tasks.
What is Internet Speed and Why Does It Matter?
Internet speed measures the rate at which data transfers over the internet at a certain time interval.
Internet speed matters a lot because it determines the kind of tasks that can be performed over the internet and the number of devices that can connect to the same network simultaneously. Once you understand the internet usage of your household, you will know how much internet speed you need from your internet provider.
With a slow internet speed, you are likely to encounter issues while carrying out a task, such as playing online games, uploading large files, or streaming videos. However, if your internet is too fast, you may end up paying extra dollars for something you don’t need. On the other hand, some internet providers may advertise theoretical upload and download speeds that differ from the speeds in reality.
What Is Bandwidth and How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?
The term bandwidth refers to the number of frequencies handled by a network connection at a certain time. The more bandwidth you have, the more data you can transfer through your network at a given moment. In short, it determines the number of devices that can be connected to the network at the same time.
Your internet usage determines how much speed you will need. If you want to connect multiple devices to the same network, you will need a faster plan. Each device connected to your home network requires the following speeds for specific tasks:
|Online Activities||Minimum Download Speeds Required|
|Streaming videos||3-40 Mbps|
|Checking emails or browsing the web||1 Mbps|
|VoIP calls||Less than 0.5 Mbps|
|Working from home||25 Mbps|
|Checking social media||1 Mbps|
|Online learning||25 Mbps|
|File downloading||10 Mbps|
|Attend Zoom calls||1.5 Mbps|
You can also determine what speeds you need based on your online activity and the applications you use to do your online tasks:
You need at least 3 Mbps of download speed to stream videos. If you want to stream in 4K, you will need up to 25 Mbps on your laptop or any Ultra HD-enabled device. However, if you are using a streaming service, you will need the following speeds, which may be faster than the average download speeds you get from your internet provider:
Netflix: 15 Mbps for 4K or UHD, 5 Mbps for HD, and 3 Mbps for standard definition
Amazon Prime Video: 5 Mbps for HD, 1 Mbps for standard definition
Fubo TV: 25 Mbps for 4K, 10 Mbps for 1080p, 7 Mbps for 720p, and 3 Mbps for 480p
DirectTV Stream: 2.5-7.5 Mbps for HD on mobile, 2.5 Mbps for standard definition on mobile, 8 Mbps on home internet connection
Hulu: 16 Mbps for 4K, 8 Mbps for Live TV, 3 Mbps for on-demand
Overall, you need average speeds of 3-4 Mbps for streaming in standard definition (SD), 5-8 Mbps for streaming in high definition (HD), and 25 Mbps for streaming in Ultra HD or 4K.
For online gaming, you need to have at least 4-8 Mbps of speed. But, if you like to play competitive games frequently, you will need 10-25 Mbps.
Since gaming requires a lot of uploading and downloading, you will want to consider ping time as well. For a smooth gaming experience, you need a ping time of 20 milliseconds or less, but you won’t face any issues with 20-100 milliseconds.
For game consoles that need to connect to the internet, you need a download speed of 3 Mbps at a minimum. Similarly, for online multiplayer gaming, you need to have at least 4 Mbps of download speed.
Working from Home
If you are working from home, it depends on your online tasks to determine how much upload and download speeds you will need. For example, if you have multiple roommates or family members who are working remotely while connected to the same network, you need to subscribe to a plan that provides 100 Mbps at a minimum.
Similarly, if your work or learning requires you to upload and download large files daily, it is best to have at least 50 Mbps. However, if your online tasks depend on simple programs, such as a word processor or spreadsheet, you will want 3-4 Mbps only. On the other hand, video conferencing on Zoom may require at least 2 Mbps.
Now that you have learned how much speed will be required to carry out your daily tasks, it’s time for you to choose which type of internet connection fits your needs. If your work asks for ultrafast speeds and unlimited data, your best bet is to get a fiber internet connection. However, if you don’t want to pay a hefty price for high-speed internet, you can get rural internet for your basic tasks.