How Much Internet Speed You Need to Work from Home

Facing a global pandemic shifted the way we work. More people are working remotely than ever before. But do you have the internet speed you need to keep up?

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—plus what you can do if your internet connection isn’t up to snuff.

Here’s how much internet speed we recommend for one person working from home:

  • At least 10 Mbps download speed per person
  • At least 1 Mbps upload speed per person

Again, those recommendations are minimums per person working from home, and there are exceptions. Keep reading for more specific recommendations.

Do you have enough speed to keep business running smoothly?

Before you keep reading, take an internet speed test to see where you stand.

Take a speed test.

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

Video conferencing has become the backbone of working from home. It allows you to have conversations with your coworkers and run meetings as usual.

Besides working remotely, video calling is also great for keeping up with long-distance friends and family. But distorted or out-of-sync video calls can get frustrating fast. Here are the internet speeds you need to keep the conversation going.

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 sending and receiving real-time video simultaneously, so there are a few internet speed factors you should pay attention to in order to get the most out of your remote meetings. These are download speed, upload speed, and latency:

  • 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 the lower latency, the better. And 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 do run into issues with video conferencing, your upload speed is most likely the culprit. Internet providers generally give customers much less upload speed than download speed (except most fiber internet providers). So even if your download speed is safely in the clear for video calls, your download speed might not be up to the task for big group calls.

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

For chat and email, you need only about 1 Mbps of internet bandwidth per instance.

You may need more for sharing photos or videos in your conversations, and downloading larger assets from emails—like images and attachments. But you don’t need to worry about basic text conversations hogging your bandwidth.

Thankfully, email and chat applications like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and GroupMe don’t take up too much internet speed. So you can carry on your conversations while you continue to work on other projects without worrying about internet interruptions.

How much internet speed you need for web browsing

Browsing the internet doesn’t take too much data unless you’re visiting pages with a lot of uncompressed images or video content. We recommend about 5 Mbps of download speed per person for heavy web browsing and jumping between sites. If you’re scrolling through social media, we say go with a little more, especially if you have video autoplay enabled.

The average web page uses about 2 MB (megabytes) of data. That’s 16 Mb (megabits), because there are eight bits in a byte (we know it’s weird, but it’s how it is). 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

If you stream music or have a show on 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

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?

A lot of 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 meant to be general. 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 1,000 Mbps.

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 the speeds you pay for.

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 few different connections at the same time without interruptions.

Some people can get by with less internet speed, and many want more speed for things like photo or video uploading. The number of people and devices using your home network is also a key factor in determining a good internet speed for you.

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 is however 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 high-speed 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 4 people using the same connection.

What is the average internet speed in the US?

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

Take into account 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 for the audio of a conference call to work better. If you’re running into connection issues during your video calls, participating members who don’t necessarily need to be seen can stop sharing video to lighten the load on everyone’s internet connections.

Why does my internet slow down at certain times?

Many types of internet service 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 at the same time, you could see slower speeds in your home network.

Author -

Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.

Share This