Is 100 Mbps Fast?

An internet speed of 100 Mbps is fast—but it’s not extremely fast. It’s just above average for most internet users, powerful enough to let you stream videos, play online games, and participate in video chat meetings on a handful of devices with minimal slowdowns.

Although 100 Mbps is a good internet speed for most people, the question of what makes an internet speed truly “good” depends on your needs as an internet user. It also depends on the speeds you can get in your area, since not everyone can access the fastest Wi-Fi speeds possible.

We came up with some helpful guidelines to keep in mind as you weigh your options for internet speeds. Read on to learn how internet speed works and what you’ll need based on what you do online.

Pro tip:

Not sure what internet speed you have right now? Take our speed test to find out!

What is a good internet speed?

Internet speedWhat you can do
0–5 MbpsSend emails, search Google, stream in HD on a single device
5–40 MbpsStream in HD on a few devices, play online games, run 1–2 smart devices
40–100 MbpsStream in 4K on 2–4 devices, play online games with multiple players, download big files quickly (500 MB to 2 GB), run 3–5 smart devices
100–500 MbpsStream in 4K on 5+ devices, download very big files very quickly (2–30 GB), run 5+ smart devices
500–1,000+ MbpsStream in 4K on 10+ devices, download and upload gigabyte-plus–sized files at top speed, do basically anything on lots of devices with no slowdowns

A good internet speed is about 100–200 Mbps. That’s enough bandwidth to let you stream videos, play online games, and participate in video chat meetings on a range of devices. And it will promise a fast and consistent connection even when there are several people on your Wi-Fi.

Granted, you won’t always need internet that fast, especially if you mostly go online to check email, read headlines, and do a bit of streaming in HD. The Federal Communications Commission defines broadband internet as anything that can achieve a minimum of 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds—which is plenty for low-key internet surfers.

Pro tip:

Not sure if your Wi-Fi speed is fast enough? Take a spin through our How Much Internet Speed Do I Need? tool to see if it’s time for an upgrade.

On the other hand, 100–200 Mbps is hardly the max speed you can get from an internet package. These days the fastest internet plans frequently top out at 1,000 Mbps. Xfinity even has a plan that delivers 2,000 Mbps download speeds, which is not necessary for most people. (The plan is also ridiculously expensive.)

Still, plans in the range of 500–1,000 Mbps are useful if you live with a lot of people and everyone is on the internet at the same time. You’ll require a ton more bandwidth as you have more users doing speed-intensive stuff like streaming movies, playing online games, and/or making calls on video-chat apps.

Looking for better internet speeds? Run a search below to see what providers offer in your area.

Will 100 Mbps be fast enough for you?

DownloadTime it takes with 100 Mbps
Small PDF (50 KB)Less than a second
Ebook (2.5 MB)Less than a second
ZIP file of .jpgs (425 MB)34 seconds
HD video file (2 GB)2.7 minutes
Video game (30 GB)40 minutes
iPhone backup (256GB)5.7 hours
Terabyte cloud drive (1 TB)22 hours

An internet speed of 100 Mbps will be fast enough for you to download small files quickly, stream movies in HD, play online games on a handful of devices, and operate a few smart-home devices.

But 100 Mbps won’t be fast enough if you live in a large household and a lot of people are using your Wi-Fi to do high-bandwidth activities at the same time. Also, 100 Mbps speeds will require longer wait times to download large files.

To make sure your internet speeds are fast enough, consider ordering an internet package that sets aside 25 Mbps for each person living in your household. If you’re living alone, then 25 Mbps may be enough. But if you’re living with three others, then 100 Mbps will be right on the money. However, any more roommates than that and you may want to upgrade to 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps or even 1,000 Mbps speeds depending on what you use your internet for.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can do on 100 Mbps:

  • Streaming HD video on several devices
  • Playing online multiplayer games on two or three devices
  • Running three to five smart-home devices
  • Participating in group Zoom meetings with HD video switched on

Here’s a snapshot of activities that will require speeds faster than 100 Mbps:

  • Streaming 4K video on several devices
  • Playing online multiplayer games on 4 to 10 devices
  • Running five or more smart-home devices
  • Participating in group Zoom meetings while three or four housemates are also doing any of these activities

How does internet speed work?

Internet speed is commonly measured in terms of megabits per second, or Mbps.

A “bit” is the smallest unit of data in digital networking, equal to a single 1 or 0 in binary code. Websites, emails, videos, and other online things typically travel over an internet connection in large packets of bits—and a megabit equals one million individual bits.

Most internet connections typically fall in the range of 1–1,000 Mbps, making Mbps the most common measurement you’ll see advertised by internet service providers (ISP). But there’s a pretty wide gulf between 1 Mbps (really slow) and 1,000 Mbps (way fast).

You may notice some other terms too:

  • Kilobits per second, or kbps.

These are the slowest internet speeds possible, covering everything under 1 Mbps. You’ll see kbps only in reference to the slowest DSL connections and older systems like dial-up.

  • Gigabits per second, or Gbps.

These are extremely fast speeds, covering 1,000 Mbps and up. The fastest internet plans, which run over cable and fiber networks, usually top out at 1 Gbps. Internet experts often refer to 1,000 Mbps–plus speeds as “gigabit internet.”

What’s the difference between upload and download speeds?

Connection typeDownload speedsUpload speeds
Fiber internet100–2,000 Mbps100–2,000 Mbps
Cable internet25–1,000 Mbps5–50 Mbps
DSL internet0.5–100 MbpsUp to 1.5 Mbps
Satellite internetUp to 100 MbpsUp to 3 Mbps

Upload and download speeds refer to different types of internet activities you do and how fast you can do them.

A download is anything you get off the internet, while an upload happens when you load something onto the internet. Here’s a quick breakdown of examples:

Downloads

  • Reading articles on news websites
  • Downloading files from email
  • Watching videos on Netflix

Uploads

  • Posting on social media
  • Uploading files to Google Drive
  • Sharing your screen over Zoom

In almost all cases, download speeds are a lot faster than upload speeds. Most of what we do online involves downloading data, so cable, DSL, and satellite internet providers have put a lot more effort into boosting download speeds while upload speeds have straggled far behind. Sometimes your upload speed could be as much as 10 times slower than your download speed.

The one exception is with fiber internet providers like AT&T and Google Fiber, which deliver symmetrical speeds. That means your upload speed will be just as fast as your download speed, making it an ideal choice if you depend heavily on using things like Google Drive and Zoom, post a lot of stuff on TikTok and YouTube, or frequently host livestreams.

What is a good download speed?

Anything in the range of 100–200 Mbps is a good download speed.

A slower download speed than 100 Mbps can still be good. But a faster speed might be necessary if you live with a lot of people and everyone frequently uses the internet on multiple devices all at once—a common occurrence in this day and age.

What is a good upload speed?

A good upload speed is 5 Mbps or faster.

Since most of what we do online involves downloading data, you don’t need to worry too much about whether you have adequate upload speeds. Many DSL internet plans give you a max of just 1.5 Mbps for uploads, which is enough to support activities like Zoom group calls with your video switched on.

However, consider upgrading your upload speed if you struggle with long loading times or disconnections while you’re uploading files, attending a Zoom meeting, or hosting a livestream. You can also switch to a fiber package, if it’s available, which will give your uploads a Superman–style speed boost.

You can see what kinds of speeds internet providers offer in your area by searching with your zip code below.

Is 100 Mbps good for gaming?

Yes, 100 Mbps is a solid speed for online gaming. But you may need faster speeds depending on how often you play and what else you do online between runs on games like Fortnite and Overwatch.

A lot of online games still work well even when you have relatively slow internet speeds. But having a plan that’s 100 Mbps or faster leaves enough bandwidth for downloading big video game files, chatting on gamer-friendly apps like Discord, and doing other tasks while you’re playing games.

Gaming and latency

Connection typeLatency (in ms)*
Fiber5–12
Cable18–24
DSL27–55

While speed is important for online gamers, low latency is also central to having a good gaming experience.

Latency refers to the slight delay (measured in milliseconds) when a signal is sent back and forth between a device to the network’s servers. Higher rates of latency lead to lag, which will cause headaches in fast-paced games like Call of Duty or Halo, slowing your controller’s response time as you fire weapons and maneuver your player.

Having a faster internet speed also often correlates to lower latency, but the best way to really reduce your latency is to get a fiber internet plan. A fiber-optic connection reduces the amount of interference you can get over a connection, bringing down your latency significantly.

Pro tip:

Take a look at our best internet for gaming guide for recommendations on the most gamer-friendly Wi-Fi plans. It’s also got tips on how to ensure a speedy and responsive connection during your gameplay.

FAQ about 100 Mbps speeds

Is 100 Mbps fast enough for me?

An internet speed of 100 Mbps is fast enough for a household of up to four people if they’re streaming videos in HD, participating in video chat meetings over Skype or Zoom, and playing multiplayer online games. You’ll likely need a faster speed if you have more people in your household or more Wi-Fi devices that you’re using all at once.

How fast do I need my internet?

You need your internet to be at least 25 Mbps (for download speed) and 3 Mbps (for upload speed) to do things like streaming, gaming, and attending video-chat meetings on one or two devices with minimal slowdowns. You’ll probably need your internet to be at least 100 Mbps if four or more people use your Wi-Fi on multiple devices at the same time.

Author -

Peter Holslin has spent more than a decade writing for Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless other publications. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008. Since then, he has roved from city to city and lived overseas, mastering his craft as an editor, staff writer, and freelancer while also acquiring ninja-like skills to address feeble Wi-Fi speeds and other internet challenges.

Editor - Aaron Gates

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