Whenever the subject of home internet speed needs is asked in a group of people, each one of them has a different answer. All it proves is the fact that everyone has slightly different demands, the obvious reason behind which is the fact that not everyone uses the internet for the same purposes as other people.
The best home Internet speed in each case depends on the number of users in the house, the purposes they need it for, what kind of traffic will be passing up and down the network etc. Hence, the usage of internet service depends on multiple factors.
In this article, we will discuss all these factors that contribute to determining internet usage in a household. On the basis of this collection of data, we will establish your internet needs per month. Following is the list of download speeds required to fulfill various everyday tasks (for one task at a time):
Table of Contents
Summary of Home Internet Speed Requirements
- General Web Browsing: 1-3 Mbps per user
- Movie Streaming:
- SD (Standard Definition): 3 Mbps
- HD (High Definition): 5-8 Mbps
- 4K/UHD (Ultra HD): 25 Mbps
- Online Gaming: 6 Mbps
- File Downloading: 50 Mbps (the higher the better).
General Internet Browsing
This is the most common activity every internet user definitely does once a day. These random activities may include checking of email, searching on a topic, or random surfing over a subject. These tasks alone require around 1-3 Mbps minimum internet speed.
Who does not love watching movies – be it on a Saturday night or any other weekday? And no one likes watching a movie in bad video quality.
The HD and 4K/UHD experience of movies is just out of this world and there is no doubt about it. The internet speed required to watch a movie in HD quality is between 5 – 8 Mbps minimum. For example Netflix recommends 5Mbps for a single stream of HD quality movie. If you have two simultaneous streams then its double that obviously.
Now, for 4K (Ultra HD) video streaming the requirement in bandwidth is increased to around 25Mbps (e.g Netflix recommends this number for UHD streaming).
For the youth – mostly comprising of young boys and girls too – online gaming is the most addictive activity to enjoy a holiday. Online gaming requires mostly low-ping internet connections (below 100ms) to run games without lag and there is no chance one could play games online with a poor internet connection because that will cause interruptions and bad gaming experience.
For that matter, most online Massive Multiplayer (MMO) games recommend at least 6 Mbps internet speed and low-ping rate of around 100-130ms.
Sometimes you are working from home and need to download large presentations and files to finish your report etc. In the background, your Windows laptop and antivirus software started downloading software updates as well. This is where you will notice your Internet connection to feel like crippling.
For such heavy usage needs (large file downloads etc), you should rely on a good internet connection, like Charter internet, that supports speeds up to 200 Mbps so that you can stream 4K content, download files at the same time etc without noticing any slowness. In fact, there are some games that you would love to play only if they stream in a fast working internet. If you are a gamer, this is the speed you need to make most of your gaming time.
Generally speaking, a good internet speed to make file downloading a fast experience is 50Mbps and above.
Difference between Download and Upload Speed
In simple terms, the basic difference between download and upload speed is that download speeds determine how quickly the content will be retrieved from the internet down to your computer or home device. It could be web pages, videos, photos, files – anything that you download.
On the other hand, upload speed measures the sending of data from your home device up to the internet. All sorts of data like videos, documents, files, IoT communication etc.
Whenever you plan to get internet service for yourself, make sure you are not misguided by the internet companies who hide the upload speeds but advertise the download speeds. Download speeds are much more important than the upload speeds for regular users since it performs more functions, however upload speed is also important.
And the reason why companies resist mentioning the upload speeds is that it usually gets slower on the local internet plans. Our suggestion would be that you consider both download and upload speeds before planning to buy internet service. Nowadays, with smart homes, Internet of Things etc, there is a lot of upload activity from the home network, thus upload speed is important too.
Average “Satisfactory” Internet Speed
Now, this is a tricky subject. It really depends on the number of internet users and the devices connected to the home network at a given time.
We would say that for an average household with two kids, the best internet speed would be around 25 Mbps for download speed and 3 Mbps for upload speed.
This is best suited for a family of four members without much heavy traffic but then again, it greatly depends on the usage of the internet by each of the members.
What is “Fast” Internet Speed
Generally, if Internet Service Providers in your area are offering speed rates of above 200 Mbps, this is considered to be fast.
The speed limits that exceed 750 Mbps is referred to as Gigabit (although, strictly speaking, Gigabit is actually 1000Mbps).
Most of us, the regular users, may never in our lives need speeds of 1000 Mbps because let’s face it, we don’t need that much unless we are running a marketing agency, working from home and downloading UHD movies concurrently.
That being said, there are gamers, tech savvy people or heavy streamers who play 4K games that require hundreds of Megabytes of internet bandwidth. Getting such speed helps you do your heavy-weight tasks in less than a minute.
In short, your internet speed is mostly dependent on your personal internet use. Count the family members and see what they do on the internet. Based on that, you can tell how much you need and on what speed.