What Internet Speed Do I Need?
When it comes to internet service, speed is one of the most important differentiators when you’re comparing different providers and service packages. Depending on the type of connection – fiber, cable, or other technologies – you’ll find that internet speeds run across a pretty broad range.
Generally speaking, service packages are set up so that you pay more for higher maximum speeds. So how much speed do you actually need? Is it worth paying for the top tier option for the fastest possible connection?
Here are some tips for figuring out how fast of a connection you actually need to do the things you want to do online.
What’s considered a good internet speed?
To start, we should lay out a baseline of what constitutes a “good” speed for internet service.
When it comes to download speeds, most modern internet users tend to need a minimum of around 100 Mbps to handle everything they usually need to do online. Especially for data-heavy activities like video streaming and online gaming, speeds much lower than this can cause tons of lag and slowdown.
In contrast, upload speeds tend to be lower, with a typical baseline of around 10 Mbps with most cable internet packages. This is an area where fiber optic internet actually has a major advantage over any other kind of service – symmetrical upload and download speeds.
Unlike cable internet, fiber lets you upload data at the same lightning-fast speeds as you can download data.
When it comes to speed, fiber is the best option out there
There’s no question that fiber is the fastest type of internet service available. Fidium offers speeds of up to 2 Gigs – in contrast, the faster of the cable packages you’ll find tend to be more like 250 Mbps.
Between the overall speed capabilities, and symmetrical upload and download speeds, you can’t do better than fiber.
How many Mbps do I need for the things I do online every day?
We mentioned 100 Mbps as kind of a bare minimum for an acceptable internet speed in 2023. That said, for many things, you’ll benefit from opting for something faster than that.
Here’s a rundown of the actual speeds you’ll probably need for most routine internet activities.
Video streaming: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, and other streaming providers
According to official recommendations from Netflix – one of the top streaming providers – the following minimum speeds are recommended:
- HD (720p): 3+ Mbps
- Full HD (1080p): 5+ Mbps
- Ultra HD (4K): 15+ Mbps
Now, if you know even a little about typical internet speeds, you may have done a double take there, or wondered if these numbers might be missing a zero!
Oddly enough, those actually are the official Netflix recommendations. And presumably, if you were to have only one device, connected only to Netflix and not using any data for anything else, you might be able to get the stream running okay.
But realistically, you’re going to want quite a bit more data than that. We’ve mentioned 100 Mbps as a sort of general standard minimum, and anything below that could pose challenges for streaming, even in standard definition.
For example, if you’re watching Netflix on your smart TV, you might need a certain amount of data to stream comfortably. But that minimum number is only going to hold – and even then, probably tenuously – assuming you’re the only person in the house using the internet at the moment.
Once you add in a kid playing Roblox on their tablet, another kid streaming kids’ shows on Hulu, and a spouse binging Diablo 4 all day, you’ll end up needing a lot more data than the minimum, or everyone’s video and game streams are going to lag pretty badly.
So basically, take those Netflix numbers with a big grain of salt.
For online gaming via PC or console, you’ll need an absolute bare minimum of 25 Mbps, but realistically, you’re really going to want at least 100 Mbps to actually ensure smooth gameplay.
Along with speed, latency is also a factor for gaming, as it has a tendency to cause lag that could make or break your ability to win. If it’s available in your area, fiber has markedly low latency compared to other types of internet connection.
The more devices you have at one time, the more bandwidth you’ll need to make sure you get decent speeds.
So what kind of speeds do you actually need? This is going to scale with the size of your household, and more specifically, the number of devices connected at one time and the extent to which they’re using a lot of data.
If you have a big family or live with several roommates – all of whom have their own laptops, tablets, consoles, phones, and other devices – you’ll want to opt for a high speed internet package.
And for this, fiber is the most effective option, given that its top speeds are so much higher than cable or even home 5G.
If you work from home, or if you livestream or upload video content regularly, you’ll also want upload speeds as fast as your download speeds
One of the many benefits fiber has over other kinds of internet, is that it provides symmetrical upload and download speeds.
What this means is that you’re able to upload data to the internet at the same speeds as you can download it.
With most kinds of internet, this isn’t the case, and upload speeds are significantly lower than download speeds. For example, typical cable upload speeds tend to be around 10 Mbps – pretty slow by contemporary standards.
Upload speed affects things like Zoom calls, livestreaming on Twitch, uploading large files like videos or 3D renders, and more. For people who work from home, being able to upload at high speeds – with Fidium, starting at 50 Mbps, and ranging up to a gigabyte – is a major boon.
When looking at how many devices you usually have connected at one time, make sure to take your smart devices into account.
Along with the obvious things like laptops, desktops, and tablets, various types of smart devices can also suck up data – something to keep in mind when figuring out what kind of speeds you’ll need.
Things like smart thermostats, smart TVs, and Ring cameras remain connected to your internet, and do contribute to your household’s overall data usage. At this point, internet connectivity, as a technology, has worked its way into just about every kind of basic device or appliance you’re likely to have in your home. You might not think of data usage coming from your security cameras or Nest thermometer, but it’s definitely something to take into account.
With fiber internet, you’ll never have to worry about slow internet speeds again
Fiber is by far the fastest option. Fidium offers speeds of up to 2 Gigs, for both uploads and downloads – far outstripping what other options like cable are capable of achieving.
Ready to make the switch to faster, better service? Click here to find out if Fidium is available near you!