How much
Internet speed do I need?

Tell us how you use the Internet and we'll recommend an appropriate Internet speed

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How much Internet speed do I need?

If you’re trying to figure out what Internet speed you need for your connected household, you’ve come to the right place. Our speed tool will help you identify which speed is ideal for your home given the way you use the Internet. But before we dive into the details, let’s define exactly what Internet speed is.

residential internet speeds

Internet speed is measured by how fast packets of data are transmitted from the World Wide Web to your home computer or mobile device. It is measured in units called megabits per second, or Mbps.

Beware that not all speeds are created equal. For instance, many providers may have extraordinary download speeds but their upload speeds are abysmal.

upload cloud

Upload speeds
refer to how fast your PC or device can send data to the Internet.

download cloud

Download speeds
refer to the rate at which your computer can stream or download data from the Internet.



Most providers choose to set their bandwidth in such a way that the majority of speed is available for those downloading rather than uploading. This can be problematic for customers who frequently use cloud-sharing applications for data storage or those who play games online. If you’re a gamer or you live your life in the cloud, you’ll want to look for a provider that offers what is referred to as “symmetrical bandwidth,” where the download and upload speeds are more evenly balanced.

Slower faster image

Type of service

Another consideration is that the type of service available in your area will dictate your Internet speed. There are four basic types of Internet service and the technology each utilizes can limit the amount of speed you can receive in your home.



Satellite and DSL Internet connections tend to be much slower than cable and fiber connections. Satellite Internet bounces signal from a satellite to your home and the transmission of data can be slowed by weather and other users. DSL connections, widely available in rural areas, utilize phone lines but the technology limits how much data can be transmitted at once.



Cable is one of the fastest high-speed Internet connections, but it too can slow depending on the amount of use occurring as it routes data through your neighborhood hub. Some metro areas of the United States offer fiber and this type of Internet delivers high-speeds efficiently. Some fiber networks offer speeds of 1 Gigabyte or more (1,000 Mbps).

What Factors Determine the Internet Speed I Need?

Speed test

Speed tests like these measure the Mbps transmission of data from a server on the World Wide Web to your computer or device.

Speed tests are widely available across the Internet and they can help you identify the speeds you are currently receiving. Our speed tool, however, is much more than a standard speed test. Through a series of questions, we’ll assess what your current household Internet usage is and based on that information, we’ll make recommendations about the speeds you actually need. It may be more or less than what you’re currently receiving, and it’ll give you some idea of how to strike a balance between affordability and speed. Nobody wants to pay for speeds they don’t really use.

Here are just a few factors our tool considers when providing recommendations about your ideal connection speed:


Number of Users
We factor in how many users in your home might be on the Internet utilizing different devices at one time. This is a primary factor in determining what Internet speeds you’ll need at the point of peak usage. We want to assess when you use the Internet the most because that will determine the maximum speeds you might need to ensure an enjoyable Internet experience without lag or latency issues.


Types of Activities
Some activities eat up bandwidth more than others. Streaming video in HD is certainly one of them. Our speed tool takes into account how you use your Internet speeds and allows for additional bandwidth to accommodate the activities you enjoy the most.


Streaming video

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube

Low-definition: 1.5 Mbps

Standard: 3 Mbps

HD (1080p): 5 Mbps

Ultra HD (4k): 25 Mbps

Streaming Music

Spotify, Pandora


HD

2 Mbps

Playing Games

PS4, Xbox, PC



2-10 Mbps

Video Calls

Skype, Facetime


Standard: .5 Mbps

HD: 1.5 Mbps

Downloading large files

HD movies, Torrents


Slow: 5 Mbps

Fast: 50 Mbps

Email browsing

Gmail, Facebook



.5 - 5 Mbps


Patterns of Use
You’re downstairs watching the game in HD and the kids are busy gaming, watching Netflix, and chatting online. Estimating the speeds needed to support all those activities simultaneously is going to be a little more complex. That’s why our tool helps identify what your peak usage looks like so you can select a provider and a package whose speeds won’t lag behind your needs. A recent Doloitte Digital Democracy Survey reported that more than 90% of people multi-task while watching TV or streaming video so our focus on simultaneous use is an important factor in determining speed.


Devices
Today’s average household has a myriad of devices that utilize the Internet, including smart appliances. Our speed tool asks you to consider all the items in your home that might be tapping into your bandwidth. These include:


TVs

LCD, LED, HD and more

DVRs

TiVo, Hopper, Genie, etc.

Gaming Consoles

Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Wii U

Streaming Boxes

Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire

Smart appliances

Nest, SmartFridge, and more

What Will the Speed Tool Tell Me?

Our speed tool is going to estimate the maximum speed you would need to accommodate all the people, activities, and devices being used simultaneously in your home during the time of peak Internet usage. We’ll assess your needs based on the following questions:

  • What is the maximum number of devices that could be using the Internet in your home at the same time?
  • During your busiest hour of Internet usage, how many devices would be streaming video at once?
  • How many devices might be downloading large files or torrents?
  • How many devices in your home would be playing games? (PS4, Xbox, PC, etc.)
  • How many devices would be browsing the Internet, using social media, or checking email at the same time? (Facebook, Gmail, etc.)
  • How many devices might be conducting video calls? (Skype, Facetime, etc.)

We’ll take that data, crunch the numbers, and determine the optimal speed for you along with recommendations for providers in your area that offer the Internet speeds you need. Since Internet providers are organized by zip code, you’ll be asked to enter yours so we can provide the best answer based on your household Internet usage and the speeds available near you. You’re one step closer to getting your ideal Internet package at a price you can afford.

Business men icon

How Much Speed Do I Need for My Business?

Our speed tool is also available to business owners looking to assess how much Internet speed they might need to accommodate their employees and the various online activities conducted daily. We’ll assess your business Internet needs based on the following factors.

Factors That Determine Business Internet Speed

Number of Users or Employees
We’re looking to determine how many of your employees might be conducting activities online at once to determine your peak Internet needs.


Types of Activities


Video Calls

Skype, Cisco, JoinMe, Webinars, training


Standard: .5 Mbps

HD: 3 Mbps

Downloading large files

Torrents, cloud sharing


Slow: 5 Mbps

Fast: 50 Mbps

Email browsing

Gmail, Outlook, e-commerce



.5 - 5 Mbps

Streaming video

Youtube, Pluralsight, Lynda.com

Low-definition: 1.5 Mbps

Standard: 3 Mbps

HD (1080p): 5 Mbps

Ultra HD (4k): 25 Mbps

Streaming Audio or VOIP

VOIP Phones, music


.1-.3 Mbps,

ping rate


Position for Growth
In addition to assessing your current Internet needs, you’ll also want to position yourself for growth. As your business expands, you’ll add employees and potentially require more bandwidth for additional activities. Nielsen’s Law of Internet Bandwidth applies the rule that in general, Internet usage doubles every 12 months.

In additional to determining speeds, many businesses consider reliability a primary factor when choosing a provider. If your business delivers services online or utilizes web-based platforms consistently, you’ll want to carefully consider the reputation of a provider before you choose a speed package.


What Will the Speed Test Tell Me About My Business Internet Needs?

Before you begin using our business speed tool to assess your needs, track your actual Internet usage at your place of business for a few days. You’ll want to have a clear idea of your online platforms and activities, as well as the number of employees who might be using the Internet simultaneously. Our speed tool will assess your business Internet needs based on the following questions:

  • How many of your employees might be on the internet at the same time during hours of peak internet usage?
  • Think about your busiest moment for internet usage. How many employees would be streaming video at once? (YouTube, Pluralsight, Lynda.com, etc.)
  • How many employees would be browsing the internet or checking email at the same time?
  • How many employees would be on video calls? (Video conferencing, Skype, etc.)
  • How many employees would be streaming audio, listening to music, or using VOIP? (Internet calls, Spotify, Pandora, etc.)

We’ll take this data, crunch the numbers, and determine the optimal speed for you along with recommendations for providers in your area that offer the Internet speeds your business needs. You’ll be asked to enter your zip code so we can provide the best answer based on your business Internet usage and the speeds available in the area in which you conduct business.

An affordable, reliable Internet connection that meets your employee’s needs and supports all your online business activities is just a click away.