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How Much Internet Speed Do You Need?

internet speed
image source Unsplash.com

If you’re in the market for new internet service, trying to figure out what kind of internet plan your family needs can be more complicated than you thought. Afterall, it’s not often we shop for internet service. Whether you’re moving to a new home, unsatisfied with your current internet provider or there’s a new provider in town; let’s figure out what speeds you need that’ll make everyone happy at home.

Choosing Your Download Speeds

Download speeds are the speeds at which you receive information from the internet. This is where your internet speeds really matter. To determine which download speeds are right for you, you’ll need to assess what you’ll be doing on the internet and how many devices will be online simultaneously to get workable internet speeds for you without breaking the bank. 

Here are the most popular online activities to give you an idea of what download speeds you should be looking for:

Online ActivityRequired Internet SpeedsOur Recommendation
Web Browsing1 Mbps1 Mbps
Checking Emails3-5 Mbps10 Mbps
Social Media3-5 Mbps25 Mbps
Listening to Music3-5 Mbps25 Mbps
Video Calls3-5 Mbps25 Mbps
Working From Home5-10 Mbps25 Mbps
HD Streaming5-10 Mbps25 Mbps
Online Gaming10-20 Mbps100 Mbps
4K Streaming25-35 Mbps100 Mbps

It’s also important to remember that the more devices you have connected to Wi-Fi, actively working or not will require faster internet speeds to maintain a fast connection for everyone in your home.

Knowing Your Upload Speeds

Upload speeds are the speeds at which you can send out information to the internet. Whether that be uploading a photo, sending an email or video chatting; all these activities require decent upload speed. However, in most cases you’re going to be using more download speeds than upload, but it’s important to recognize both while shopping for the internet. Internet providers know this and don’t outwardly advertise their upload speeds. If you already know ahead of time that you need the very best in internet upload speeds, you’re likely looking at fiber internet providers like Verizon FioS, MetroNet, Frontier and others depending on where you live. Fiber internet providers have plans with much higher upload speeds than DSL, cable or satellite internet providers. Some even have symmetrical upload speeds like Verizon FiOS and MetroNet do.

Beware Of Data Caps

Another thing to look out for when you’re searching for your next internet provider is data caps. Data caps are internet usage limits that are enforced by your internet provider for a specific amount of data. It’s really important to know if your next internet provider has them and how big your data limit is before subscribing to them. 

If you enjoy streaming video, online gaming or uploading many photos to social media; an internet provider with data caps may not be for you. These activities eat up some major data and once you hit your cap most providers will charge you extra fees to keep you on and slow your internet speeds down. You’ll also run the risk of being cut off completely if you regularly use too much data every billing cycle. Fortunately the internet plans with the faster internet speeds will have higher data allowances, but tracking your usage could cause more headaches and more money than you’re willing to spend.