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What Internet Speed Do I Need?

internet speed

A question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another, and one that seems to change day to day based on our actual needs or perpetual frustration with our underperforming internet connection.  Slow internet can really test our patience even when the task at hand is a simple one like checking the weather. If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself on more than one occasion waiting for a webpage to load. Now imagine you’re a student trying to upload a paper on a deadline or trying to pay your bills online or waiting endlessly for a video to buffer. It can be incredibly stressful having to deal with this.

In order to break this subject down into more bitesize chunks we’ll cover the most common customers’ needs as well as some of the problems they may come across if they don’t have the correct internet speed to support their usage.   In this article we hope to explain how internet speed may not be the be all and end all of your requirements and offer solutions around this too. 

What Is a Good Internet Speed for surfing the web?

From basic tasks such as sending emails and general browsing of the internet you will not require a superfast broadband connection, nor great bandwidth either. When we move into social media and specifically video streaming a slightly larger faster connection may be preferable however. 

When choosing a broadband package take into consideration what it is you will be using your internet for, will it be simple occasional tasks such as those mentioned above, or will you be streaming, video and music, gaming or using Zoom for work meetings, all of these should be considered. 

To put things into perspective a typical web page might require 1 megabyte (MB) to load, audio streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music typically use about 51MB per hour, streaming standard-definition videos uses around 500MB per hour and streaming high-definition video uses up 1.6 gigabytes (GB) per hour.

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The best speed for your home will depend on a couple of things: predominantly how you use the internet and where you live.  The benefits of a faster broadband speed will allow for quicker uploads and downloads, as well as uninterrupted audio and video streaming, furthermore it will help to reduce the problems caused when multiple family members are using the internet at the same time.

What Is a Good Internet Speed for Streaming Video?

When it comes to video streaming or video conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom you will require higher broadband speeds in order to keep a smooth and lag free connection. If you’re currently working from home, spending a lot of time on video calls or simply streaming YouTube videos then a fibre optic connection may be your best choice.

Usage will vary from medium to medium, for example streaming one minute of standard-definition video uses approximately 11.7 MB, whereas high-definition video streaming uses 41.7 MB, and 4K UHD video eats up 97.5 MB, which is roughly the equivalent of 5,000 emails.

Fibreoptic broadband consistently offers low rates of data loss and the lowest latency to make the most of a smooth service. 

What Is a Good Internet Speed for Multiple Devices?

The best internet service providers for multiple devices, should provide at least 11Mbps download speeds, this will increase to a minimum of 25Mbps for a household of four or more. 

That being said for households with heavier internet usage, specifically video content it would be advantageous to get speeds of at least 100Mbps. 

To get the most out of your internet speeds use a wired connection where possible, for example your TV / gaming setup or work laptop, this will eliminate interferences and provide the most stable and lag free connection possible. 

What Is a Good Internet Speed for Working from Home?

With more and more of us working from home now, we need to take into consideration what sort of demands need to be met or our internet service providers. You will need a stable, reliable and fast connection for sharing files, video conferencing and downloading and uploading work documents, all of which use considerable bandwidth. 

Video meeting software platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets only work well when connected to fast internet.  When taking this into consideration both platforms recommend at least 5Mbps to start using their videoconferencing capabilities. 

What Is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?

When it comes to gaming we need to factor in what is really important, are you playing online or offline. If it’s the former then low lag, as well as high upload and download speeds are essential to your success.  I would recommend looking for Hyperoptic broadband packages and having a direct wired connection to your computer or console for the best experience. 

If you play offline then downloading games with file sizes of 100GB could take as long as 2 days if you don’t have fast enough speeds. 

Lag issues play a big part in online gaming success, especially in multiplayer scenarios where your reaction time is affected by delays in connection. This lag is commonly referred to as the “ping”, which is the time it takes the signal to reach the gaming server and come back to you. This can be managed with higher speeds, but location does affect this too.

Conclusion

Long story short, think about your specific needs and behaviour on the internet to get a general idea of whether you might want to up- or even down-grade your current plan.

If you are stuck on a slow broadband deal with exit fees, find out what you could do to help out your internet speeds at home.

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