How Much Internet Bandwidth Do You Really Need?


How Much Internet Bandwidth Do You Really Need?

By Contributing Author

It can be challenging to determine how much internet you need for your home and how fast should my internet be because internet connectivity is a moving target. Someday your internet is fast on your devices, and then other days, it can have you scratching your head as to why it so slow.

If you have multiple devices connected and are trying to stream a movie on Netflix, it can start buffering if too much is on the network. So what is the bandwidth you need for your internet services? Below are some quick tips.

  • Typically most, families can make do with a 20 Mbps download speed and 5 Mbps upload speed. This amount allows for surfing on the web and streaming video with 20-Mbps download speeds.
  • For Netflix, it states you need 10 Mbps to stream full content and 25 Mbps for 4K Ultra content. But, if you plan on connecting more devices at once, you will need to have faster speeds.
  • If you are planning to stream 4k video content and have multiple devices connecting your network, consider investing in faster download speeds, such as 200 Mbps, which should be more than enough for most users.
  • Conduct speed tests to check your internet speed to determine whether you’re getting the use out of the bandwidth you are paying for.

Understanding Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the highest rate at which you can download data from the internet to your computer. The larger your bandwidth is, the more data you can pull down at any given time. Bandwidth is measure by bits per second, and bits are different than bytes, the standard measure of file size. If you have one megabit-per-second connection, a 1 MB file will take eight seconds to download.

Streaming videos tend to use up the most bandwidth, so households that are running a few streams need higher internet speeds. Frequent file sharers or downloaders might need more top speed for downloads.

How Many Mbps Do You Really Need?

The bandwidth you need for your internet speed is determined by how many devices you need.

  • If you are using only a couple of devices for web surfing, email, social networking, and moderate video streaming, your recommended download speed is up to 25 Mbps.
  • If you use your internet for all of the above functions, plus sharing files and streaming live videos, and have more than five devices connected to your network, you will need internet download speeds of 150 to 200 Mbps.

The more bandwidth you have, the greater your internet speed is, and the more devices can be connected. As more and more internet users turn to streaming their TV and movie services through there networks, it means the more bandwidth is needed.

Having smart home devices brings in new demands for bandwidth, and it only takes a few accessories, such as a smart speaker, thermostat, and smart to for your home’s speeds connectivity speeds have an impact on your network. It would be best if you thought of these devices when deciding your bandwidth needs. It’s a good rule of thumb to add an extra 5 Mbps to your plan for every ten smart devices that will connect to the network.

Cost of Connectivity

Internet service providers benefit from your need for faster internet speeds, but they can also give you some insight into how much speed you need by listing any devices that might connect to the network at any time. Costs for your internet service provider can vary depending on your plan and usage needs.

Keep in mind you do not always get the speed you have signed up for. You can get up to listed rates, or your available bandwidth can be affected by the demand of your household. Also, hardware and quality of network modem and router, play into the cost of bandwidth speed, and packaged plans.

Be Cautious of Pitfalls

When you need to choose your internet connection speed, you need to measure what you’re hoping to get versus how much you are willing to pay for services. Most internet service providers offer internet packages with warnings like “up to.” Which means internet service providers are’ t guaranteeing a specific upload or download speed. So, for example, if you are paying for a 25 Mbps package, you could get that speed, but could at times get less than that speed.

Are Speeds Changing?

Internet speeds are improving, which is good news, and now more households have access to gigabit-speed connections. However, before you can make any decisions about your internet speed, you need to find out how much speed you actually are getting right now. Use a bandwidth calculator to determine the speed you need.

Final Thought

To determine the amount of speed or bandwidth you need varies depending on the size of your household, the number of users, and planned activities. When talking to an internet service provider, discuss the number of devices that connect to the network at any given time. Also, consider what each device is doing, is it just streaming and web surfing? Are you looking to stream 4K video, play online games, or connect multiple devices? Then you may need more bandwidth, which then means a more expensive plan.

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