How Much Internet Speed Do You Really Need?

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Choosing the best internet plan can be challenging for many of us, whether you’re moving to a new place or simply looking for better options. Most internet plans are charged based on the internet speed and capacity, which begs the question, how much internet speed do you really need? In this article, we’ll help you determine how much internet speed you need, preventing you from spending more money on internet bills than you should.

Like anything you purchase, you don’t want to pay for something more than you need. For example, a hardcore gamer or streamer will necessarily need higher speeds and data. But an older couple who only connects to the internet from time to time will not need that much. So, let’s dive into our simple guide and determine how much internet speed you really need. 

What speed is fast enough?

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), anything faster than 25 megabits per second (Mbps) is considered an “advanced service.” However, 25Mbps is just enough or so-so for their everyday internet activities for many households. Early March 2021, a group of four US senators called the attention of the FCC to change its definition of high-speed internet by setting minimum speeds at 100Mbps.

It honestly makes sense that if you use the internet on a daily basis, you’ll likely need more than 25Mbps. With the growing population of remote workers and students, the increasing number of smart gadgets, and our increasing media consumption from gaming and streaming TV shows and movies, the need for at least a 100Mbps internet plan is becoming prevalent. But unfortunately, many areas in the country still have little to no access to a reliable internet connection. 

You also have to understand that paying for high-speed internet does not guarantee fast internet. Various factors will also be considered, such as poor router placement, network congestion, unreliable internet service provider, and different kinds of interference. Therefore, you should check your internet speed frequently if you notice that your internet speed has slowed down for quite some time. This way, you can document it and raise it to your internet provider if it doesn’t improve with time. 

How much internet do you consume?

With so many people working and studying from home, a lot of households have been using the internet more frequently. However, it’s not always the case for every house in the United States. You always have to consider your household’s internet usage every time you look for an internet plan. 

If you work or study from home, love watching high-resolution movies and shows, and play online games, you might benefit from fiber internet deals, which have ultra-fast internet speeds and unlimited data. If not, then you might opt for a different internet plan that doesn’t include much speed and data allowance. 

We have broken down some of our recommended speeds for every activity that many people usually use the internet for. Check out the small chart below.

Activity Required Usage Recommended Speed
4K Streaming 25Mbps 35Mbps
HD Streaming 5-10Mbps 10-20Mbps
Online Gaming 3-6Mbps 25-35Mbps
Social Media 3-5Mbps 10Mbps
Video Calls 3-5Mbps 10-20Mbps
Web Browsing 3-5Mbps 5-10Mbps
Email 1Mbps 1Mbps

How many devices are connected to your home network?

Another essential factor you need to consider in your search for the best internet plan for your needs is the number of people and devices on your network every day. However, the number of people does not equate to the devices that are connected to the internet. You could be living by yourself, but you have more than six devices using the internet, may it be your laptop, phone, smart TV, tablet, and more. 

You also have to think about your internet activities, especially if you love streaming movies. Video is considered the biggest bandwidth hogger, so you should get an internet plan that can accommodate your internet habits without affecting your overall connection.

Download Speeds, Upload Speeds, and Data Caps

If you’ve started your search, you might notice that most internet service providers offer different download and upload speeds. The difference between the two is simple—download speeds determine how fast your network can pull data from the internet, while upload speeds dictate how fast you can send data to the internet. If you work from home and frequently participate in video calls or send large files, you might want to look for higher upload speeds.

Data caps, on the other hand, are ISP-enforced data limitations. Not all internet service providers have data caps, especially with fiber internet. However, with other internet connections, like DSL or satellite, you’ll likely encounter data caps for almost every provider. You should track your household’s data consumption to determine if you need to opt for an unlimited data plan or something with lower data allowances. 

Begin Your Search Today!

Now that you know how to choose the best internet plan for your needs, you are ready to begin your search. If you have questions about a particular internet plan, don’t hesitate to reach out to your prospective internet provider for clarifications.

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