How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?
Use our internet speed calculator to get a personalized internet speed recommendation based on how you use the internet.
How many people in your household use the internet/WiFi on a daily basis?
How many devices in your home connect to the internet, including tablets, gaming consoles, and smart devices?
How many people in your household work from home?
What video quality do you use for streaming TV and movies?
How intensely does your household participate in online gaming?
Does your household download large files from the cloud or via the internet?
Want to find an internet plan that fits your needs? Scroll below to see plans
available in your area and pick the right one for you.
What is a good internet speed?
A good download speed is at least 100Mbps, and a good upload speed is at least 10 Mbps. With 100Mbps, you can stream movies, attend Zoom meetings, and play games online all on several devices at the same time.
Some people can get away with fewer Mbps, and others need more. If 100Mbps doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, use the tool above to get a personalized recommendation. Or you can calculate the internet speed you need using the steps below.
Follow these tips as you determine your ideal internet speed
- Take a speed test to learn what speed you have right now.
- Get at least 25Mbps download speeds if you regularly use streaming services, Zoom, and other popular apps.
- Upgrade to a faster speed if you share your Wi-Fi with lots of users, use lots of Wi-Fi devices, and/or want to avoid excessive slowdowns or buffering.
- Don’t get gigabit internet unless you really need it—you can save money and still get fast speeds with a slower plan. The average household can get by just fine on half of a gigabit plan.
- Keep your router up-to-date to ensure your hardware meets the speed capabilities of the plan you’re paying for.
- Invest in a mesh router system or simply place your router in a central area in your home to make it easier for your Wi-Fi signal to reach devices.
Guide to understanding internet speeds
|Internet download speed
|Ideal number of Wi-Fi users
-Streaming music on one device
-Searching on Google
|-Streaming video on one device
-Video conferencing with Skype or FaceTime
-Online gaming for one player
|-Streaming HD video on a few devices
-Multiplayer online gaming
-Downloading large files
|-Streaming video in UHD on multiple screens
-Downloading files quickly
-Gaming online for multiple players
|-Doing a lot of almost anything on numerous devices simultaneously
|More than 10 people
What is a fast internet speed?
Fast internet is a connection with speeds of 100Mbps and up.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband internet speed as 25Mbps for download and 3Mbps for upload speed. Although that’s enough speed for basic internet use, it’s actually a bit slow by today’s standards, since many internet service providers offer 100Mbps speeds as basic-level plans. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has advocated for raising the baseline definition of broadband speed to be 100Mbps.
On the high end, residential internet speeds can reach up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) of download speed, or 1,000Mbps. Several providers—including AT&T, Google Fiber, Verizon, Frontier, and Xfinity—offer multigigabit plans with speeds ranging from 2Gbps to 10Gbps.
What are the fastest internet providers?
According to our Fastest Internet Providers report, Google Fiber consistently gets the fastest internet speeds. Verizon, Xfinity, Cox, and Metronet also rank in the top five fastest providers.
Google Fiber’s customers get average download speeds of 176.19Mbps from April 2022 to April 2023. You can order an internet plan with speeds of up to 8,000Mbps. In our report, we give the provider an integrated speed score of 176.16.
We calculate speed-test results every three months to generate integrated speed scores for the top-performing internet providers. We make the ISS by adding 90% of a provider’s average download speed to 10% of the provider’s average upload speed, a blend that reflects the relative importance of these different speeds to a user’s needs.
Tested speeds vs. advertised speeds
Even when you have a really fast internet plan, you often don’t get the same speeds that an internet provider advertises on your plan.
Internet providers usually sell plans capable of hitting speeds “up to” a specific bandwidth. But when you actually test your internet speed, you likely end up with much slower speeds. That’s because factors like the type of router you have and the instability of wireless signals can impact on your overall speeds. A provider also has issues on its side of the network that can bring down speeds as well.
As you can see below, users’ average speeds are often much slower than advertised max speeds. See the table below for more info.
Fastest internet providers, April 2022–April 2023
|Integrated speed score
|Max advertised speed
|Up to 2,000Mbps
What are the fastest internet connection types?
|Availability (for % of US population)*
|View providers online
|10,000Mbps (5 Gbps)
|1,200Mbps (1.2 Gbps)
|1,000Mbps (1 Gbps)
Data as of 5/23/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Percentages are based on internet availability data from the Federal Communications Commission.
**Figures not currently available.
Is gigabit internet worth it?
Gigabit internet is worth it if you use a large amount of bandwidth on a regular basis. It’s also worth it if you share your Wi-Fi with a bunch of roommates or family members. But it’s expensive and faster than most people need, so it’s not worth it for the average user.
It’s not necessary if you spend most of your online time doing things like checking email, streaming video in HD, and video conferencing over Zoom or Skype, since those activities require much less bandwidth. But other activities take up more bandwidth and thus require much faster speeds.
Activities that benefit from gigabit internet:
- Streaming video in 4K
- Hosting livestreams
- Downloading large files
- Uploading large files or backing up hard-drives to cloud servers
Do you need a 2,000Mbps internet plan?
There’s no reason to have an internet plan in the range of 2,000Mbps or faster right now.
Having internet that fast is like owning a lifted 4WD work truck. You likely don’t have any opportunity to use all that power unless you’re involved in some industrial-grade internet activity, like mining cryptocurrency with dozens of computers all on the same Wi-Fi.
What is a fast upload speed?
A fast internet upload speed is at least 10Mbps. But some internet plans give you much faster uploads, and fiber connections can deliver gigabit upload speeds.
Uploads involve loading data onto the internet. People spend the majority of their time downloading data from the internet, not uploading it, so traditionally uploads have been set at much lower speeds. In many cases an internet service provider’s download speeds will be up to 15 times faster than the uploads.
However, fiber internet providers usually deliver symmetrical speeds, giving you uploads that are just as fast as downloads—with uploads hitting 1,000Mbps or higher on the highest-tier plans.
How do you calculate the internet speed you need?
You can calculate your internet speed requirements by considering the common types of activities you do online, the number of people who use your Wi-Fi, and how many Wi-Fi devices you tend to use in your home.
Here are a few main principles to keep in mind:
- You don’t need fast internet for simple tasks (like checking email and streaming music)
- You need faster speeds for complex tasks (especially streaming video and downloading large files)
- You benefit from faster speeds when multiple people use your Wi-Fi
- You get better performance with faster speeds if you have many Wi-Fi smart devices in your home
How many Mbps you need per device for common internet activities
|Streaming SD video
|Streaming HD video
|Streaming 4K video
|One-on-one video calls
|Video conference calls
|Streaming SD video
|Streaming HD video
|Streaming 4K video
|One-on-one video calls
|Video conference calls
How many people use your internet connection?
You want fast internet to cover the total number of people and devices that connect to your Wi-Fi. If you live with a roommate, for example, you need enough speed to support each of your own laptops, smartphones, and gaming consoles. You also want bandwidth to support devices that are connected in the background, like smart home tech.
A good target to aim for is 25Mbps for each person in your household. So if you live with three people, then 100Mbps is perfect for your home Wi-Fi.
How many smart devices do you have?
The average American household has 25 smart devices connected to Wi-Fi, according to a 2021 survey by Deloitte. Not all of those smart devices take up a lot of bandwidth individually, but together they can have a significant impact on your internet connection. Smart TVs, tablets, and security cameras use up the most speed because they’re often used to stream video. Consider getting a faster plan if you or your roommates use a lot of smart devices at home.
Find the speed you need in your area.
Troubleshooting a slow internet connection
Even if you’re paying for fast internet, you can still experience problems with network congestion, throttling, and equipment bottlenecks—any one of which can slow down your speed and lead to long load times, buffering, and other issues. Here’s a few ways to troubleshoot a slow connection and improve your speeds.
For more detailed suggestions on how to improve your network speed and performance, see our guide to getting faster speed.
Restart your equipment
Sometimes a simple restart of your computer, modem, or router is all you need to get your internet speed back to normal. Restarting clears out the bugs of a fatigued machine and sets things back to normal.
Move your router to a better location
Your router distributes internet signals to devices throughout your house. So the best place for a router to be is somewhere centralized, away from too many obstacles like walls, furniture or metal appliances. If the router is hidden away in your bedroom closet, try moving it to the living room.
Upgrade your router
Routers get outdated after many years of use as firmware standards improve and faster speeds become more readily available. Aim to get a router that’s certified for Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)—you can check the standard by looking on the router’s back label or on the box it came in.
Connect to your router via Ethernet
Most people use Wi-Fi to get internet on their devices, but you can get slightly faster speeds by plugging your computer directly into your router using an Ethernet cable. That reduces the chance of signal interference and creates a more direct link.
Get a mesh router system
Living in a large home can pose challenges for a single router, with lots of rooms and long hallways making it hard for a Wi-Fi signal to reach your devices. So it’s worth investing in a mesh router system if your abode has a big layout, or if you want to extend your Wi-Fi signal outdoors to a garage or patio area. Rather than a single device, a mesh router uses multiple nodes (which you plug into a wall) to cover a much wider area.
Upgrade your speed
If you’re constantly dealing with buffering and slowdowns, then it may be time to boost your bandwidth. Run a speed test to see what you’re getting and ask your provider if a faster package is available.
Change internet providers
It’s possible that your internet provider simply can’t deliver on the speeds and performance you need. You might be limited to a slower connection type (like DSL or satellite instead of fiber or cable) or there might be a cap on the bandwidth you can get. In that case, you’ll want to see what your options are and consider taking the leap to a new, better internet provider.
Take a look at what’s available in your area by searching your zip code below.
Should you switch internet plans if you have slow speeds?
You shouldn’t switch internet plans just for having slow speeds. But you should consider switching plans if you haven’t been able to improve your speeds in any other way. Here’s a guide on what to do if you feel stuck with slow internet.
If you’re experiencing slow speeds, make sure you’re getting close to the speeds you’re paying for as part of your monthly internet package. If that’s the case, you may just want to upgrade to a better plan if your speeds are too slow.
Shop around, though. Most people in the US have access to at least two internet providers in their area—and you may be able to find a faster speed from a different provider than what you have now.
Keep in mind that there are ways to improve a slow connection without investing in a more expensive plan. You can also cut down on bandwidth use to streamline your most important connections.
Upload speed vs. download speed
When internet providers advertise internet speeds, they most often refer to download speeds, or what you use to receive data from the internet. Our speed recommendations are given in download speed as well.
Both upload and download speed are important, but most people use more download bandwidth than upload bandwidth. Internet providers generally give customers much less upload speed than download speed—usually 1Mbps of upload bandwidth for every 10Mbps of download bandwidth.
But you want faster upload speeds if you do things that require a lot of upload bandwidth. To get faster uploads, sign up for a faster internet plan or get fiber internet, which gives you symmetrical upload and download speeds.
Activities that use upload speeds:
- Making a Zoom call
- Uploading large files to cloud servers
- Uploading videos to social media
- Hosting a livestream
Latency is the amount of time it takes for a piece of information (called a ping) to travel from your computer to the network server and back. In practical terms, latency is how long it takes from when you click a thing to when you see the results of that click. It is measured in milliseconds, and lower latency is better. High latency causes things like lag in video games.
Internet speeds are usually marketed as “speeds up to” a certain number. That means the speed listed on your plan is the top speed you’ll likely see, not the average. With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to sign up for a little more bandwidth than you think you’ll need if it’s available and you can afford it. If you have a speed buffer, network slowdowns are less likely to paralyze your Wi-Fi when your ISP’s network gets sluggish.
Get the best internet speeds for what you do online.
Internet speed FAQ
What is the average internet speed in the US?
According to data collected from our internet speed test, the national average internet speed is 42.86Mbps. Of course, this average is always changing, and that number might not reflect your internet experience.
What is Mbps?
Mbps stands for megabits per second. Internet providers use Mbps to measure bandwidth. One megabit is a million bits, each of which is a single unit of data. When your internet speed is 25Mbps, for example, that means your connection is capable of transferring 25 megabits of data per second. The faster your internet connection is, the more data you can get in a given timeframe.
Because tech language is weird sometimes, a megabit (Mb) is not the same thing as a megabyte (MB). One megabyte is actually eight megabits. Bytes are usually used to refer to file sizes, while bits are used to discuss data transfer rates.
What is a good internet speed for Wi-FI?
An internet speed of at least 25Mbps is good for Wi-Fi. That will make sure that multiple people get adequate bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network while multiple devices are being used at the same time.
For larger households, a speed of 100Mbps is even better. Generally, aim to get 25Mbps download speeds for each person who uses your Wi-Fi. So if you live with three other people, 100Mbps is perfect.