What Internet Speed is Right for Me?
While everyone thinks they need the fastest internet speed available to them, that’s not necessarily true. Plus, the faster the internet, the higher cost. You don’t necessarily need to pay top dollar for the swiftest internet speed if your needs don’t actually demand it.
To consider what internet speed is right for you, you must take into account bandwidth. Bandwidth is the maximum rate at which you can download data from the internet onto your computer or device. The larger your bandwidth is, the more data you can download at a time. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second. One byte equals 8 bits, so if you have a 1 megabit-per-second internet connection, a 1MB file would take eight seconds to download.
Your internet bandwidth is shared among all the devices using your internet. If you have multiple people with multiple devices all sharing the internet, you need enough bandwidth to accommodate everyone. If one person is streaming a video while another person is downloading a video game, you don’t want your internet to cut out.
Video streaming uses the most bandwidth. In fact, Netflix recommends a 3 Mbps connection for a single standard definition stream and a 5 Mbps connection for one high definition stream. So, if two people in the same household wanted to stream a movie or television show in HD, you would need a 10 Mbps internet speed.
Most people need at least a 10 Mbps internet speed. Consider that the baseline. Add up how much you might need with this breakdown:
- General web surfing and emailing: 1 Mbps
- Online gaming: 1 Mbps – 3 Mbps
- Video conferencing: 2 Mbps – 4 Mbps
- HD video streaming: 5 – 8 Mbps
While coming up with your personal estimate is important and helpful, figuring out your ideal internet speed isn’t an exact science. For example, while streaming content only requires enough bandwidth to access files in real time, as nothing is physically stored on your computer or device, downloading is a lot more demanding. You can watch a movie on Netflix without having to download the entire thing, but if you’re purchasing and downloading a film, you must download the entire file before being able to watch it. On top of that, if you are frequently uploading content to the internet, you must consider that when deciding on an internet speed.
It’s important to consider everyone’s needs and lifestyles when deciding on internet speed. If you work from home, you’ll likely want a speedier internet connection. If you don’t spend a lot of time at home and rarely stream videos, you won’t need as fast of a connection. Of course, you can always contact your provider with any specific questions you may have regarding your internet speed.