Choosing the Best Internet Speed for Home

While no one wants slow internet, faster speeds can mean paying more. This is why many people want to know the optimal speed to get for their home use without overpaying.

The speed of internet is also referred to as bandwidth. This is the maximum rate that you can download data to your computer. The larger the bandwidth, the faster your speed. It is measured in bits per second and speeds are highly variable between carriers and plans. To give you an idea of how the speed works through, if you have a one mega-bit connection, then a file which is 1 MB will take about eight seconds to download.

How Much Is Needed?

The bandwidth that you have is going to be shared by all of the devices that are on your internet. How much you need simply depends on how you use the internet. For example, if you have multiple people on the internet at one time, then you'll probably need additional speed in order to keep up with the demand.

While not every household needs lightning fast speeds, it may be helpful to consider how you use the internet to decide on your speed. Video streaming tends to use up the most bandwidth so households that stream video or engage in video calls and meetings may need to have a higher speed. The company Netflix recommends that you have 3 Mbps in your connection for one standard stream and 5 for a high definition stream.

Online video games don't actually need much speed in order to play. However, downloading a game or other larger files will take a fair amount of bandwidth. Many people who share files online and download items may require higher speeds. However, if you don't want to pay for a higher speed, then you can also adjust your schedule so that downloads can take place when the bandwidth is free. Many people who have larger file to download will schedule them for late at night when internet usage is low.

If you don't use your internet often and typically just web surf, email, and use social media, then it's likely that you won't need much more than 10 Mbps.

Another consideration is that the speed you sign up for may not necessarily be the speed that you get. Internet providers will tell you that your available bandwidth can be affected by other households that are using the same provider in the area. Your own hardware may also affect speeds. In some cases, when the network demand is low, you might get faster speeds than you purchased but during periods of heavy usage, many people find that their internet is slower than their advertised speed.

While there is no optimal speed, the average households have a speed of 50 Mbps. Since you can change your internet speed as well, you may want to start with a certain speed and then upgrade to a faster speed as needed. This is a fairly simple process and can be done with a quick call to your provider.