How Much Bandwidth Speed Do I Need?

The Internet has come a long way in recent years.

Think about it, even within the last 5 years, the quality and availability of performing tasks we have come to take for granted weren’t even possible. You have the power to stream video in the palms of your hand with such quality it rivals or defeats traditional television. Speaking of traditional television, have you noticed the immense amount of streaming options that have begun popping up?

Video games have evolved from its niche into a cultural phenomenon ranging from the hype that is eSports, to mobile games that can support multiplayer functionality in real-time, and even battle royale games that connect 50, 60, even 100+ players fighting for first place all at once.

Download times are down, communication is more seamless than ever, we can fulfill grocery store trips from the comfort of our homes, and ironically set the comfort of our homes while fulfilling our grocery runs at the store. So, how are all of these incredible functions made possible in the first place?

The key lies within the bandwidth.

Bandwidth is basically how information is transferred through the Internet and the speed in which that information is exchanged. For many, it’s no secret that speed is a critical factor in not only what can be accomplished but how it can be accomplished when using the Internet, but speed comes at a cost.

Internet providers are continuously looking for innovative methods to create faster speeds and stronger networks for consumers; however, this comes at a cost, which means it can and will be passed on to you when purchasing access. Faster speeds will generally mean higher costs and when trying to budget, it can be important for consumers to understand how much speed they need to produce the outcome they desire and yet not overspend on a product they won’t see the full benefit from.

How fast is too fast? What kind of speeds do you need for your home? Can you use your home’s Internet effectively to __________ if you have speeds of __________?

Determining the speed your home may need derives from a variety of factors, but together, we can examine some of the most popular factors that may affect your experience on the Internet and how much bandwidth speed is needed to support each function.

Streaming Videos Online

Streaming your favorite videos may not take as fast as an Internet connection as you may think.

Popular streaming services such as SlingTV only require 3-5 Mbps from a reliable connection for consumers to enjoy their content. It should be no surprise that streaming in HD will require a stronger connection but even here, 5 Mbps is all that is required. The biggest jump we see is when devices are used to stream Ultra HD such as 4K. Speed requirements rise sharply to a recommended 25 Mbps.

The number of devices in use will, of course, play a part in how much speed is needed because more devices will require more speed to accommodate all of the activity simultaneously. The amount of usage and peak times will also throw in variables into how your speed will perform, but ultimately, streaming videos for some users may require less bandwidth than may be expected.

If you are in a rural area or are a lighter user, 25 Mbps can be enough to support your streaming needs. Typical homes can work with 50-100 Mbps to stream with comfort, using multiple devices. Larger homes with multiple devices and heavier uses may require 200 Mbps or more depending on the number of devices in use. It is also important to consider that other Internet activities will also require bandwidth, so, if your home has heavier users in other areas, additional speeds are recommended depending on your lifestyle.

Playing Video Games Online

The common enemies of any gamer are lagging and a connection that doesn’t stay connected.

From Clash of Clans to the latest PlayStation release, staying connected is critical for a smooth gaming experience. Mobile gaming can take less than other forms of online gaming, 3-5 Mbps, but as networks improve, so do the capabilities of these video games. We have moved into a world where MMORPGs and multiplayer first-person shooters are becoming more and more available, thus, requiring higher speeds to not only play but to download in general.

Whether you’re team PC or team console, a great connection is a great place to find common ground. Both users can get away with using 3 Mbps as a speed to connect online; however, higher connections due to latency issues and the usage from other devices in a home that may slow connections are highly recommended. Unlike streaming video, video games require instant reactions when competing and those moments cannot be replicated by rewinding or pausing. A secure connection of 25 Mbps is a minimum for lower users with homes that use multiple devices at once, particularly gaming devices, better served with speeds of 200-400 Mbps. Larger games in homes with higher speed demands may need to opt even higher speeds to ensure a smoother experience.

Downloading Apps, Files, Games, Music and Videos

The time it takes for a particular item to download will be directly affected by the speeds your connection can reach.

If your Internet speeds are 50 Mbps and your neighbor’s speeds are 100 Mbps, in an ideal situation, they will be able to download an album in half the time it will take your devices.

Generally speaking, speeds of 50-100 Mbps will be enough for most users to achieve decent speeds of acquiring files. But just as with streaming or gaming, it is important to consider how many devices will be downloading at the same time and the other functions that will take place that can hinder download speeds.

If your home has multiple users and frequent downloading, 300-500 Mbps may be a better route. If your home is capable of connecting and downloads at an exceptional rate, 700-1000 Mbps may cost you more monthly but it will help everyone’s downloads occur with far fewer headaches.

Communicating, Online Shopping, and Browsing the Web

Emails from work, checking memes on Facebook and purchasing a needless item off of Amazon all have one thing in common: they don’t require much speed to accomplish.

Sure, faster speeds can provide a better connection, but is it at a level that justifies the higher cost?

In most cases, no. If you are a more casual Internet user and primarily use your Internet for browsing websites and stay on the lighter side of viewing videos, speeds of 15-25 Mbps can not only provide more than enough for your needs but save you money in the process. Many average websites only require a connection speed of 1 Mbps. At 25 Mbps, you’ll have plenty of room for other devices and can even surf while a heavier user enjoys streaming HD movies without any interruption to either experience.

Smart Home Devices

With almost a third of homes in America already in possession of at least one Smart Home device and over half of our homes expected to possess one by 2024, it’s important to remember our digital assistants when considering our home’s broadband needs. 

The good news is that our Smart Home devices only require around 2 Mbps a device. But considering we are currently on a path in which the average home will possess around 21 devices, according to Architectural Digest. These devices can begin to add up quickly and with so many different types, such as televisions, thermostats, security systems, and personal assistants being implemented, it’s no wonder we’re expected to reach such a figure.

It’s important here to remember about activity and how many Smart Home devices and other devices such as smartphones will be connected at once drawing from your connection speed. Many homes will be fine adding 25-50 Mbps to their existing Internet packages. If you’re a heavy user of the Internet and wish to implement several devices, then speeds of 400 Mbps may be in your best interests; however, if you’re a lighter user with fewer devices, even with Smart Home devices, speeds of 50-100 Mbps should be more than enough to power all of your devices.

The Number of Devices in Use in Your Home

Have we mentioned that the number of devices you use will have a direct effect on your connection speeds?

It’s a recurring theme because it is an important theme. It can be easy to consider your Internet speeds covered when you think about your television being used to stream your favorite show on SlingTV and your phone to browse social media. But what about your partner streaming their favorite show at the same time? 

What about your children playing the latest Xbox titles or uploading their attempt at the latest viral dance trend on TikTok?

And don’t forget about those Smart Home devices.

The point is, when using the Internet to any capacity, consider your usage but also remember to not take for granted the number of devices within your home when choosing a plan.

Are you looking to find the perfect Internet plan that won’t break your budget and will keep you connected to a fast, reliable Internet? The experts here at are ready to help you secure a plan that saves you money while providing an appropriate amount of speed for your needs. Contact us for more information or to get started today.