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How Much Internet Speed You Need to Work from Home

We’ll cut to the chase: each person working from home needs at least 10 Mbps in download speed and 1 Mbps in upload speed. That’s it. You don’t need a mega superfast connection to work on company documents in your pajamas.

But there are exceptions. We’ll break down how much bandwidth you need for smooth sailing on conference calls, staying on top of emails, and keeping up with the office gossip. We’ll also show you what to do if your internet connection isn’t fast enough.

Do you have the speed you need to work from home?

You probably already do but run our speed test anyway to see where you stand. Who knows. Maybe you need an internet upgrade after all.

Which internet providers are best for working from home?

Fiber internet providers like EarthLink, Google Fiber, and AT&T are the best for working from home. You get equally fast upload and download speeds, which are especially great if you need to transfer large files to a remote server or be on video calls.

Here’s a list of fiber internet providers and the speed ranges they offer:

ProviderSpeedsGet it
Astound Broadband300–940 Mbps
AT&T Fiber300–5,000 Mbps
CenturyLink200–940 MbpsView Plans
EarthLink100–5,000 MbpsView Plans
Frontier500–2,000 MbpsView Plans
Google Fiber1,000–2,000 Mbps
MetroNet100–1,000 MbpsView Plans
Optimum300–5,000 MbpsView Plans
Verizon Fios200–2,048 Mbps
Windstream1,000 MbpsView Plans
Ziply Fiber50–5,000 MbpsView Plans

Our annual customer satisfaction survey shows EarthLink is the best national fiber internet provider in overall satisfaction, price, and customer service. Verizon and AT&T generally hover in the top half of every category, although AT&T ranks in the bottom half for speed.

No fiber in your area? Go with cable internet

If you can’t get fiber internet, cable is your next best option for working from home. Download speeds range from 25–1,200 Mbps, but upload speeds are slower than what you’ll get with fiber internet. For instance, your plan may support download speeds of up to 400 Mbps, but the upload max may be only 30 Mbps.

Here is a list of cable internet providers for working from home:

ProviderSpeedGet it
Astound Broadband100–1,200 Mbps
Buckeye200–600 MbpsView Plans
Cox100–1,000 MbpsView Plans
Mediacom100–1,000 MbpsView Plans
Optimum300–940 MbpsView Plan
Sparklight25–940 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum300–1,000 MbpsView Plans
WOW! Internet50–1,200 MbpsView Plans
Xfinity75–1,200 MbpsView Plans

Our annual customer satisfaction survey shows Spectrum as the best cable internet provider for overall satisfaction. It ranks second in speed, falling one step behind Xfinity, and third in reliability.

Meanwhile, Optimum and Astound Broadband rank in the bottom half of every category. The only category where Optimum outranks Astound is in reliability satisfaction.

Bottom line: EarthLink, AT&T, and Verizon are the best national fiber internet providers. Xfinity and Spectrum are the best cable internet providers based on customer feedback. Enter your zip code below to see if these providers are in your area.

How much internet speed you need for Zoom and other video conferencing applications

For Zoom and Skype, you need 8 Mbps of download speed for each person in your household. Even if you don’t use Skype, 8 Mbps per person ensures that your conferencing application has enough breathing room to function without kicking you off mid-sentence.

Video chat applicationMin. upload speedMin. download speedRec. upload speedRec. download speed
Zoom (one-on-one calling)600 Kbps600 Kbps1.8 Mbps1.8 Mbps
Zoom (group calling)800 Kbps1 Mbps3 Mbps2.5 Mbps
Google Hangouts and Google Meet3.2 Mbps1.8 Mbps3.2 Mbps3.2 Mbps
Slack600 Kbps600 Kbps600 Kbps2 Mbps
Skype128 Kbps128 Kbps512 Kbps8 Mbps
Video chat applicationZoom (one-on-one calling)
Min. upload speed600 Kbps
Min. download speed600 Kbps
Rec. upload speed1.8 Mbps
Rec. download speed1.8 Mbps
Video chat applicationZoom (group calling)
Min. upload speed800 Kbps
Min. download speed1 Mbps
Rec. upload speed3 Mbps
Rec. download speed2.5 Mbps
Video chat applicationGoogle Hangouts and Google Meet
Min. upload speed3.2 Mbps
Min. download speed1.8 Mbps
Rec. upload speed3.2 Mbps
Rec. download speed3.2 Mbps
Video chat applicationSlack
Min. upload speed600 Kbps
Min. download speed600 Kbps
Rec. upload speed600 Kbps
Rec. download speed2 Mbps
Video chat applicationSkype
Min. upload speed128 Kbps
Min. download speed128 Kbps
Rec. upload speed512 Kbps
Rec. download speed8 Mbps

Video calls require you to send and receive real-time video simultaneously, so there are a few internet speed factors you should keep in mind to get the most out of your remote meetings: download speed, upload speed, and latency.

Here’s more on each:

  • Download speed affects how well your connection receives video from other people on the call.
  • Upload speed affects how well your connection can send your video stream to others.
  • Latency affects how well your connections synchronize with each other, and high latency can distort calls and cause lag.

Most video conferencing applications work best with less than 150 ms of latency. You can’t control your connection’s latency as directly as you can change your speed by upgrading, but know that lower latency is better. Moreover, certain types of internet connections (like fiber) tend to have lower latency than others (like satellite internet).

The speeds necessary for many video calling apps aren’t very high. Most households with an internet connection can manage at least the minimum requirements. That’s great because it means we can all stay connected.

If you run into video conferencing issues, your upload speed is most likely the culprit. Cable and DSL internet providers give customers much less upload speed than download. So even if your download speed is safely in the clear for video calls, your upload speed might not be up to par for big group calls. Turn off your video or switch to a wired connection for better results.

Pro tip:

Looking for more Zoom-specific information? Check out our guide on how to do anything on Zoom.

How much internet speed you need for email and chat applications

You need only about 1 Mbps of internet bandwidth per instance for chat and email

However, you may need more bandwidth when you share photos or videos in your conversations, and when downloading larger assets (like images and attachments) from emails. But you don’t need to worry about basic text conversations hogging your bandwidth. 

Thankfully, you can carry on with your chat and email conversations while you work on other projects without worrying about internet interruptions. That’s because Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and similar applications usually don’t use a lot of bandwidth.

How much internet speed you need for web browsing

We recommend about 5 Mbps of download speed per person for heavy web browsing and jumping between sites.

Browsing the internet doesn’t take too much data unless you’re visiting pages with a lot of uncompressed images or video content. But if you’re scrolling through social media, we suggest that you go slightly higher than our recommendation, especially if you have video autoplay enabled. 

The average web page uses about 2 MB (megabytes) of data. That translates to 16 Mb (megabits) because there are eight bits in one byte. So if you want a whole web page to load within a second, 16 Mbps of download speed would be great. 

But you often don’t need to load the entire assets of a web page to start getting to the content you want, and loading a web page doesn’t take a continuous stream of data—you just download the content once, and that’s all you need for as long as you’re on that page.

How much internet speed you need to stream media

We recommend 5 Gbps of download speed at a minimum per person for streaming media.

If you stream music or have a show streaming in the background while you work (or someone else in your house is binge-watching all of Sailor Moon on Hulu), make sure to factor that into how much internet you need to work from home effectively. This is especially important for video services like YouTube or Netflix because video can be a bit of a bandwidth hog.

ActivityMin. upload speed
Streaming music on Pandora or Spotify1 Mbps
Streaming music or video on YouTube2 Mbps
Streaming video on Netflix, Hulu, etc.5 Mbps

If you want to use YouTube or a streaming service like Netflix while working from home but run into bandwidth issues like buffering, check your video quality settings. YouTube videos can run on as little as 0.7 Mbps at 360p, but they can use up to 20 Mbps if you’re watching in 4K.

Similarly, standard-definition Netflix can work with as little as 0.5 Mbps, but Netflix in 4K uses up to 25 Mbps. And if you’re using it only as background noise, you don’t need 4K.

How much internet speed you need for sharing large files

We recommend at least 10 Mbps of download and upload speeds for sharing large files.

While there are certain requirements around most things you do online, when it comes to jobs that necessitate a large amount of file sharing, the faster your internet is, the better. That’s not to say you absolutely need fast internet speeds to download and upload large files, but it makes things go much faster and more smoothly.

Here are a few examples of how long it would take to transfer various sizes of files using common internet speeds.

10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up
Downloading a hi-res image file (5 MB)4 seconds1 secondLess than 1 secondLess than 1 second
Downloading a small video file (300 MB)4 minutes, 24 seconds1 minute, 45 seconds26 seconds2 seconds
Downloading a large video file (10 GB)2 hours, 30 minutes1 hour15 minutes1 minute, 30 seconds
Uploading a hi-res image (5 MB)44 seconds14 seconds4 secondsLess than 1 second
Uploading a small video file (300 MB)44 minutes14 minutes, 40 seconds4 minutes, 24 seconds2 seconds
Uploading a large video file (10 GB)25 hours8 hours, 20 minutes2 hours, 30 minutes1 minute, 30 seconds
Downloading a hi-res image file (5 MB)
10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up4 seconds
25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up1 second
100 Mbps down/10 Mbps upLess than 1 second
1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps upLess than 1 second
Downloading a small video file (300 MB)
10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up4 minutes, 24 seconds
25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up1 minute, 45 seconds
100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up26 seconds
1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up2 seconds
Downloading a large video file (10 GB)
10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up2 hours, 30 minutes
25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up1 hour
100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up15 minutes
1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up1 minute, 30 seconds
Uploading a hi-res image (5 MB)
10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up44 seconds
25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up14 seconds
100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up4 seconds
1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps upLess than 1 second
Uploading a small video file (300 MB)
10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up44 minutes
25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up14 minutes, 40 seconds
100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up4 minutes, 24 seconds
1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up2 seconds
Uploading a large video file (10 GB)
10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up25 hours
25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up8 hours, 20 minutes
100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up2 hours, 30 minutes
1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up1 minute, 30 seconds

What else affects how much speed you need to work from home?

Many factors play into your internet connection needs, including your job, the applications you use for work, and, most importantly, how many other people are using your home internet.

You’ll need more internet speed if, for instance, your kids, partner, or roommates are also online playing games, watching Netflix, or working from home. And you’ll want faster speeds if you handle a lot of large files and media (like uploading video).

Our internet speed recommendations are generalized. You may need less or want much more. Many internet service providers (ISPs) offer customers speeds much higher than this recommendation—all the way up to 6,000 Mbps.

Need more speed?

If you’re looking for more internet speed recommendations for online activities like gaming or streaming video, check out our How Much Speed Do I Need tool.

Beyond the speeds you get from your internet provider, older home networking equipment, your network layout, and inefficient connections in your home can also affect your internet speeds. If your internet speed woes stem from something in your network rather than the speeds from your provider, check out our guide to faster internet in your home.

What to do if your internet speeds aren’t fast enough

If you’re running into problems with your internet connection and slow speeds are to blame, the first thing you should do is run a few internet speed tests on the devices you use for work to make sure you’re getting close to your plan’s advertised speeds.

If you’re not getting speeds that meet your expectations, try repositioning your Wi-Fi router’s antennas for better coverage—or, better yet, connect your work device to your router with an Ethernet connection—and try again.

Sometimes the only things you can do to fix your internet speed woes are rationing your internet bandwidth or upgrading to a faster connection. You can free up some bandwidth by limiting non-essential internet traffic during work hours, but if that’s not practical, check out the internet providers in your area to find a plan that better fits your needs.

FAQ about internet speed

What is a good internet speed to work from home?

You want at least 10 Mbps of download speed and 1 Mbps of upload speed of dedicated internet bandwidth for each person working from home. That’s enough internet speed to allow for a couple of different connections at the same time without interruptions.

If you have more people working (or learning) from home, you’ll need more speed. For example, a household with one work-from-home parent, a child who is distance learning, and another parent (who does not work from home) might want a 25 Mbps or higher plan to make sure everyone can use the internet effectively.

Some people can get by with less internet speed, and many want more speed for photo or video uploading and so on.

Pro tip:

Get a personalized internet speed recommendation based on what you need to do online with our How Much Speed Do I Need? Tool.

What is a fast internet speed?

A fast internet speed depends on how much bandwidth you need to do what you want online without interruptions like buffering or slow load times. The FCC classifies anything above 25 Mbps as broadband internet, but ISPs offer speeds ranging up to 1,000 Mbps or more.

We recommend about 30 Mbps per household as a good place to start if you’re looking for a plan for regular internet use. But you may need less or more if you work from home, stream a lot of Netflix, play online games, or have more than four people using the same connection.

What is the average internet speed in the US?

According to our internet speed test results, the average internet speed in the US is 42.86 Mbps.

Keep in mind that this average spans internet users across different speed tiers and in different areas of the country. And just because it is the average doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good internet speed for you.

Does shutting off video help meetings?

Disabling your video can free up some bandwidth to improve a conference call’s audio. Moreover, participants can turn off their camera feed to lighten the shared load, especially if they don’t need to appear on the screen.

Why does my internet slow down at certain times?

Many types of internet services are affected by network traffic, including cable and DSL. So, if a lot of people in the same area are on your provider’s network simultaneously, you could see slower speeds in your home network.

Author -

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.