Arthur Dellea is a freelance PC expert who enjoys adventures with his wife and children, playing drums at church, and investigative writing.
What Is Internet Speed and Why Does It Matter?
One of the most important factors to take into account when selecting an internet service provider is internet speed. It impacts how many jobs your network can do at once in addition to how quickly you can complete tasks online.
The amount of data and information that may be carried over the internet at any given time on a single connection is referred to as internet speed. Unless you live alone and exclusively use Facebook, you might require more speed than the minimal. This is crucial since your internet speed affects both the kinds of online activities you can engage in and the number of concurrent devices you can connect.
You can choose the speed you need from your provider by knowing how you use the internet.
How Are Internet Speeds Measured?
The speed of your internet connection is determined by how quickly data can be downloaded and uploaded (bits). Megabits per second (Mbps) and gigabits per second (Gbps) are units of measurement for this speed; one Mbps equals 1,000,000 bits sent per second, and one Gbps equals 1,000,000,000 bits transferred per second.
Your internet speed will increase as the Mbps or Gbps figure rises. Just keep in mind that the speed you select will depend on your own internet requirements. Because many people do not require the extreme speeds of Gigabit internet, it is more typical to see internet speeds indicated in Mbps; yet, this is an excellent option for busy smart families with gamers and inhabitants who work from home.
Terms You Should Know
- Bandwidth: The entire number of frequencies, or capacity, that a network connection can support at any given time is measured by bandwidth. More data can be sent across a particular network at once with increased bandwidth. This has an impact on how many devices can connect to the network concurrently.
- Bit: Bits per second are used to gauge internet speed (bps). Megabits per second are a common term used to describe internet speeds because they are the smallest unit of computer information (Mbps).
- Download: This report reveals how rapidly your router receives data from outside sources.
- Latency: You may determine how quickly data travels from a source to a destination by measuring the latency of data transfer. When it comes to latency, internet connection types differ greatly. For tasks like Zoom meetings, 100 Mbps with a fiber optic connection will have significantly fewer delays than 100 Mbps with a satellite connection.
- Mbps: We measure internet speed in megabits per second. The bandwidth of an internet connection, or the amount of data that can be transferred per second, is represented by this number. Read more to learn how Mbps and MBps differ from one another.
- Upload: This report reveals how rapidly data from your network is transmitted to outside networks. Find out more about the distinction between downloading and uploading.
- Wi-Fi: With Wi-Fi, devices may connect wirelessly to the internet, eliminating the need for hardware connections like Ethernet cables.
How Much Speed Does One Person Need?
There is a lot of advertising for upload and download speeds by internet service providers. These figures aren't always precise, though. Always do your homework and find out what their actual internet speeds are. You may experience difficulties with online activities like streaming videos, playing video games, or uploading files if your internet speed is too slow. You can be overpaying for internet services if it's too fast.
The FCC now defines high-speed internet as 25 Mbps, but this definition is mostly out of date, especially when used to describe residences with several occupants. A speedier plan is required if you are connecting many devices at once.
How Much Speed Does a Whole Family Need?
It is more practical to divide the number of devices in your home by the speed plan you are considering rather than using the FCC's definition of high-speed internet. The answer to that equation should be between 25 and 40 Mbps. The ideal plan will be about 100 Mbps if your family of four only uses one device at a time (100/4 = 25).
However, you might think about a somewhat faster plan if everyone in your household uses numerous devices at once. Consider a package between 200 and 300 Mbps if your family of four uses two devices concurrently (300/8 = 37.5).
Which Activities Require More Bandwidth?
Having a fast upload speed is crucial since some internet activities, such as sending emails and video chats, need you to upload data to another server rather than download it. You need a minimum of 3 Mbps in order to stream videos. For 4K streaming on your computer or Ultra HD-capable devices, you need at least 25 Mbps, while some streaming providers recommend faster rates. For online gaming, you want a minimum of 4 to 8 megabits per second (Mbps), but 10 to 25 Mbps are typically the sweet spot.
Because you do a lot of uploading and downloading when you play games, it's also critical to pay attention to ping time. Aim for a ping time of 20 milliseconds or less, though 20 to 100 milliseconds will do.
How Much Bandwidth Is Needed to Work From Home?
When it comes to working from home, there are no universal solutions; it all depends on the type of uploading and downloading your position requires. You will require a package with at least 100 Mbps if you have several staff working and learning remotely. You'll need internet speeds of at least 50 Mbps if you routinely download and upload huge files. You may get by with merely 3 to 4 Mbps for smaller computer programs, including word processing.
You should choose a spot in the middle with at least 10 Mbps if you plan to participate in a lot of video conferences.
Do You Need a Faster Type of Internet Connection?
You must take your internet connection type into account in addition to your choice of internet plan. Fiber optic, cable, DSL, fixed wireless, and satellite are the most popular choices. These choices are not created equally, though. If fiber optic is not an option in your location, choose cable as it is the second-fastest and most reliable connection type.
Living in a more remote place increases your chances of getting DSL, fixed wireless, or satellite service because fiber optic providers typically only deploy such services in high-density areas.
What Are the Most Common Types of Connections?
- DSL: Copper cables, which are used in digital subscriber lines and are used in phone lines, can support a broadband connection but its maximum speed is only 3 Mbps. The majority of DSL internet service providers use ADSL, generally speaking, download speeds outpace upload times.
- Cable: This kind of internet connection is known for its high-speed capabilities and employs coaxial wires (the same ones used for cable TV). Copper wires cannot transport data as quickly as coaxial cables. You might be particularly vulnerable to slower speeds during peak hours because multiple families may share the same wires, especially in densely populated locations.
- Satellite: Cables and wires are not necessary for satellite internet. Instead, information is broadcast into space, where satellites pick it up and relay it back to the intended location. Despite being widely accessible, even in rural places, this type of connection can be slower due to the great distances that information must travel. In general, satellite is rather rapid and capable of reaching broadband rates, although it can experience problems in inclement weather or other situations that might impede data transport.
- Fiber: Fiber uses fiber-optic cables, which can carry more data at once, in place of phone lines, coaxial cables, or copper wires. It is the fastest internet connection currently offered as a result. The technology is the most recent and least commonly used.
Which Internet Providers Are Available in Your Area?
There are numerous websites that will show you a list of service providers in your area. However, you will find that many of them may be affiliated with specific providers and earn kick-backs when you buy through their sites. That said, the best non-biased search is provided by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC provides the Fixed Broadband Deployments search, a database of internet service providers that you can look up based on your physical street address. Entering your street address here will provide you with an accurate, non-biased list of ADSL, Cable, Fiber, Fixed Wireless, Satellite and other providers that deliver speeds of at least 25 Mbps in your area.
You may find a much faster internet service at a significantly lower cost for your household.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2022 Arthur Dellea