What Speed do I Need?
One of the main questions you are likely to face when choosing an internet plan or picking out internet equipment is what kind of speed you need in order to use the internet without disruptions. This guide will help answer that question.
The Bandwith Buffet
As we’ve become hungrier for information, so have our devices. From smart TVs and tablets to security systems and thermostats, many households now have dozens of devices all competing for bandwidth. In this section, we’ll focus on understanding what types of internet-connected devices are common these days, and how much bandwith they use.
Streaming video includes content library services like Netflix or Amazon Prime and live TV streaming services like OPEN View TV or YouTube TV.
SD – 3Mbps download
HD 1080p – 6Mbps download
Ultra HD 4k – 25Mbps download
Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things devices (also commonly called smart devices) are micro-computers which allow you to control household tasks via an app. IoT devices include smart thermostats, smart doorbells, security systems and more.
Smart Thermostat – 0.5Mbps download + upload
Security Cameras – 2Mbps/camera upload
Smart Speaker – 1Mbps download + upload
There are two elements to gaming: downloading games and playing games. Downloading games does not have any strict bandwidth requirement, but with many games not excceeding 100GB in size and updating frequently, the fastest connection is preferable. Playing games does not use as much bandwidth, but does benefit from a stable low-latency connection like fiber.
Downloading games – fastest download speed possible
Playing games – 5Mbps upload + download
This broad category includes a lot of the most common computer use going back decades like e-mail, word processing, internet research and basic social media usage. The prevalence of cloud storage and backup options like OneDrive and DropBox add an additional variable.
No cloud backup – 2Mbps/device download + upload
With cloud backup – 5Mbps/device download + upload