If you consider the price an important factor when buying an internet connection, you will look into something that would fit your budget and go no further. On the other hand, if good internet speeds are important to you, your budget won’t matter. You would subscribe to the fastest internet service like Xfinity in your area and be done with it. But, the fastest doesn’t always mean the best. Unless you know your internet activities and bandwidth needs, you can’t chance upon the right internet speed.
A good internet speed has different meanings for different users. Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines a good internet speed as having at least 25 Mbps downtime and up to 3 Mbps uptime. Does this suffice your internet needs? What are internet speeds, anyway, and what counts as a good internet speed? Let’s explore these questions below.
Internet speeds are mostly referred to in terms of download speeds, but it is important to pay attention to the upload speed. The internet speed is measured in megabits per second, and it is how fast your internet connection downloads or uploads data on your devices.
- Download Speeds refer to the time it takes to transmit data onto your devices. For instance, as far as streaming movies go, your device continuously receives streaming data in the form of small packets interpreted into readable video content for you to stream. The shorter time it takes for your device to receive packets, the faster your download speed, and vice versa.
- Upload Speeds refer to the time it takes for your device to send data over the internet. If we take YouTube live streaming as an example, upload speed refers to how fast or slow streaming data or packets transfer online from your recording device.
A good download speed is important for most households since it reflects how smoothly you can stream your favorite movies or play your games without any interruption. Upload speeds are mostly needed to send data packets over the internet in scenarios like videoconferencing and uploading files onto the cloud or server.
Now that you have an idea about how internet speeds are estimated, let’s look at some numbers.
Measuring Internet Speeds
As mentioned earlier, internet speeds are measured in megabits per second. Kilobits are the slowest internet speeds that used to be offered through a dial-up internet connection. One megabit per second is equal to one thousand kilobits per second (1 Mbps = 1000 Kbps) and one gigabit per second is one thousand megabits per second (1 Gbps = 1000 Mbps).
Gigabit is the fastest internet speed that is now offered through the fiber internet connection. However, mostly, the standard which is used to measure internet speeds is Mbps.
You should consider a cable or fiber internet connection if you opt for a fast internet connection.
Online Activities for Different Internet Speeds
The kind of internet speed that works for you depends on your online activities. Let’s break down some of the internet speeds for particular online activities:
- 0-5 Mbps will work to check your emails, stream music, browse social media, and navigate through the Google search engine.
- 5-40 Mbps will let you stream videos and make video calls on Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp.
- With 40-100 Mbps, you can stream HD movies on multiple devices, play multiplayer online games, and also be able to download large files.
- You will be able to stream UHD movies on multiple devices, download files more quickly, have the best multiple online gaming experiences with 100-500 Mbps.
- 500-1000 Mbps are the fastest internet speeds where you can perform any number of online activities on several devices.
Keep in mind that the number of devices is also an important factor to consider for a good internet speed.
A basic internet plan will more likely have a speed of up to 25-50 Mbps, which will work for several devices with light online activities. However, as the online activities and number of devices using the internet simultaneously increase, you will have to sign up for a mid-tier internet speed to meet all your browsing needs. As your online activities get heavier, demanding more speed for faster execution, you will need to find an advanced internet package to meet these needs.
How Do Internet Speeds Slow Down?
There are multiple factors to consider for this particular scenario. The time of the day when you use the internet can determine peak hours, and peak traffic is when everyone in the household goes online simultaneously, slowing down your internet. The kind of service you sign up for and where you live can tell whether this service is reliable or widely available around your residential area. The number of devices using your internet connection can also take up all the bandwidth, hence resulting in a slow internet connection. Each of these issues has its solutions and ways around it.
Also, your ISP might have installed a data cap, limiting the amount of data being used in a month. If you are about to reach the limit or have crossed it, your internet connection might get throttled. To deal with that, you will have to apply for more data to use the internet again. There could be any number of reasons.
So, What is a Good Internet Speed For You? To sum it up, a good internet connection depends on your online activities being carried out and the number of devices using the same internet connection. Adding these factors will help you decide what internet speed will suitably meet your browsing needs. You can always upgrade to a newer and faster internet plan if your current one isn’t working out for you.
Randall Zane is the Senior Editor at TechyHost and covers TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR, and streaming devices. He’s written for TechRadar, GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he’s not using if anyone wants it.