These days your options for high-speed internet fast enough start at just a few megabits per second and go all the way up to gigabit speeds or even more.
Now, of course, the ISPs want you to fork over as much of your money as possible for a higher speed connection with vague wording about how it’s good for gaming or multiple devices or what-have-you.
But how much should you really be paying for Your Internet Fast Enough?
Well here’s the thing part of the reason that Internet service providers offer so many access tiers is that not everyone needs the same size pipe coming into their home. You shouldn’t buy a 10 seat minivan if you’re single with no kids and in much the same way it’s probably a waste to have an insanely fast internet connection if you live alone with one computer and a phone.
This means the $64,000 question when choosing an internet plan is
- What are using the service for?
- And how many gadgets will be accessing it at once?
After that, the process mostly becomes a matter of simple addition you see it turns out that predicting how much speed each common task requires is fairly straight forward.
Suppose you want to stream HD video and I would assume you do. For sites like YouTube and Netflix, you’ll need between a 5 and 10 megabit per second connection if you want your experience to be reliably smooth.
How much speed do you need?
Now of course if you want to stream 4k or HDR your data rates are going to be quite a bit higher most of the popular streaming platforms recommend anywhere from 15 to 25 megabit per second and we would suggest going a fair bit higher than that somewhere in the 40 to 50 megabit range.
This will account for any dips in your service speed during heavy load times or if a Windows Update is running in the background somewhere.
The thing to keep in mind though is that this is on a per video basis so if you wanted to stream on more than one screen you need to multiply that speed times the total number of videos that you foresee your household playing on your connection at once.
That way your tech quickie stream won’t cut out because your inconsiderate roommate is trying to watch his rebooted 90 sitcoms in 4k.
Gaming and video chatting
It might surprise you though to know that you don’t need insane speeds to have a great gaming experience in fact typically if you can have at least 10 megabits per second free on whatever device you’re gaming on it’ll probably be enough.
The more important consideration for gaming is going to be latency now you can learn more about latency up here. But, in short, it’s the delay between your computer or your phone requesting something from the server and the server sending the data back to you and vice versa.
It’s actually possible nay common to have a service that boasts high speeds but also suffers from high latency which can result in weird leggy behavior while you’re gaming and the really tricky thing here is that as you pay more for a higher speed tier your latency may not improve at all.
So, if you have several ISPs to choose from reading reviews and see if there are any in your area where gamers have specifically recommended it for its lower latency also keep in mind that low latency is equally important for other real-time applications such as video chatting with your long distance love interest.
One more gaming and video chat specific consideration is that unlike web browsing it’s important to make sure that you’re getting a decent amount of upstream speed for these applications. A solid 10 to 15 megabits per second per device should be fine for high-quality video calls and streaming to twitch in high definition.
Transferring Large Files
Now aside from applications the other most common reason that you might want a faster connection is if you are often transferring large files like game installers or large video files.
For example, if you are trying to download a 2-gigabyte movie that would take about 2 minutes and 40 seconds on a 100 megabit per second connection so it’s a simple matter of doing the math for how long it takes you to prepare a bucket of popcorn and going from there.
Finally, although I know the title of this episode is how much speed you need we should probably also mention data caps. Those are those nasty little limits that some ISPs slap onto your service where if you exceed a certain amount per month you’ll be looking at consequences like throttling or extra charges.
Now data caps shouldn’t be too much of a concern for web browsing but you can quickly run up against them if you’re gaming streaming or watching a ton of video.
So, have a look at the above chart to see how much data per hour these activities usually consume and then you can use some quick math to see how high of a cap you might need every month.
The bottom line is that there’s no point overpaying for either speed or data that is unless you’re that person that likes to leave your Wi-Fi unsecured because you’re just feeling really generous towards your whole neighborhood.
Read this: – Oppo, Xiaomi Under Display Camera – First Look!!!