However, before choosing any plan, you must ask yourself if the benefits of faster speeds will be utilized by you. Otherwise, you might end up choosing a scheme that you don't actually need.
We are here to help you solve this dilemma - this quick guide will help you understand what internet speed is truly suitable for your needs.
See Also: Surf the Internet Smoothly With These Speed-Enhancing Tips
What is a good internet speed?
For most of us, an internet connection above 25 Mbps is considered decent. This is particularly ideal for households with 2-3 members using the same connection. With a speed of 25 Mbps, you should be able to stream Netflix or YouTube with ease and attend your Zoom meetings comfortably on one or two devices. Also, the wait time for loading most webpages with this speed should be zero.
For larger households, with around 3-5 people, you would need speeds closer to the 100–200 Mbps range.
The Federal Communications Commission currently defines anything faster than 25 Mbps as "advanced service”. However, the internet speed you need depends on a number of factors such as:
* How many devices you have in your home?
* How many household members use the internet?
* How many hours do all of you spend on streaming videos from Netflix, YouTube, or some other service?
* Do you frequently need to download or upload large files for work-related stuff?
* Do you regularly stream HD video or do you need the internet for more general online tasks?
* Do you make use of the internet on an everyday basis and get frustrated with slow speeds?
Our media consumption these days is primarily driven by streaming services and other online content. If you and your family depend mostly on streaming services and use a variety of devices like smartphones or virtual assistants for your internet consumption, it would make sense to go for a speed closer to 100 Mbps. This becomes even more relevant as so many of us are working from home currently due to the pandemic.
Here’s a quick look at the recommended internet speeds you’ll need for a few standard online activities.
Another crucial factor you must consider before choosing an internet plan is how many people and devices will be connected to the internet at any one time. You may be a family of two, but you could be using many devices that rely on the internet such as smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, virtual assistants, or other smart home gadgets. If you are using all these devices regularly, then you would need sufficient bandwidth to cover all connections simultaneously.
Internet bandwidth means how much data can be downloaded or uploaded from your computer, whereas internet speed is how fast can the data be uploaded or downloaded on your computer.
Video streaming, currently, tends to take up the most bandwidth in most households. So choose an internet plan that suits your viewing habits. If you have a family with two adults and two children who all use the internet, particularly different streaming services, then a speed in the range of 100 or 150 Mbps should be good enough. But if you are a family of two and simultaneously use different devices for online activities, then even a speed of 50 Mbps would be good for you.
Use the chart above for a better understanding.
What is the difference between Upload and Download speed?
Now that you are considering speeds, it is also important to understand the difference between upload and download speeds. That’s because when you take a look at the advertised speed of an internet plan from different service providers, you will usually see is the download speed highlighted prominently. However, the upload speed will also be mentioned there.
If you are being confused between the two, here’s a simple explanation.
Download speed: This tells you how quickly your internet connection can pull data from the Internet.
Upload speed: This tells you how fast you can send data from your devices out to the internet.
For the average user, the download speed will almost always be much more relevant as you are more than likely to be using download bandwidth more frequently than upload. That doesn’t mean you should disregard upload speed, especially if you are working from home. This will be important when you are uploading a video or sending vital documents via email, etc. Generally, your upload speed is likely to be around one-tenth of your download speed. Most internet plans usually start with download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps.
If you are already using some internet service, but aren’t sure about your upload and download speed, then you can find out using various speed test tools online. Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or Speedofme.com, are some of the best internet speed test sites currently that will display the average upload and download speeds of your internet. This should give you a good idea of what you’re working with and whether you need to upgrade your current plan.
The Bottom Line
After considering all the factors mentioned above, you should be able to find an internet plan that works for you. Just make sure that you get a plan with at least 25 Mbps download speed. As we’ve already stated, that’s the basic minimum for the average person today.
It’s also important to note that even a fast internet package doesn’t always guarantee fast internet speed. Many factors, like network congestion, poor router placement, the number of people you share the connection with, interference from nearby networks, can affect the speed and quality of your internet connection. So, keep these points in mind before you finally select a plan.
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