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Whether you use internet for casual surfing, streaming, or online gaming, you are at the mercy of internet speed. The internet speed you get has a direct impact on the level of your enjoyment. That is why it is crucial to ensure your download and upload speeds are fast enough for the activities you perform online.

Now, you may be wondering as to how much internet speed do you need to perform modern-day online activities? What is good internet speed? How do you determine if you get adequately fast internet?

In this article, we will try our best to help you learn about how fast an internet connection you must have – we will guide you about how to determine the speed you require by taking into consideration the number of connected devices in your household, and the type of activities members of your family routinely indulge in.

What is considered a good internet speed?

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the minimum download speed of a broadband internet connection is 25 Mbps while the minimum upload speed is 3 Mbps.  

This means that if you are the only internet user at home, and you indulge in online activities like casual surfing, shopping, scrolling social media feeds and watching Netflix, FCC’s minimum recommendation for broadband speed—which is 25 Mbps—would be enough for you. But if you have a big household connected to the same network, you will need higher download speeds for a better online experience. In case, you or family members work from the comfort of your home or have to routinely upload multiple files at once, you will need to ensure the upload speed is enough too.

As we said a little earlier, a variety of things impact the performance of an internet connection, and the speed you get. Multiple users hooked to the same network can considerably slow down the speeds that reach you. Also, demanding online activities such as downloading an HD movie or streaming in 4K, not only affect the overall output of your internet connection, but also make “fast” speeds seem slow.
Here it must be added, if you experience slower download speeds versus what you pay for, you must reach out to your internet service provider (ISP). There may be an issue that needs to be looked into by them.

With multiple devices commonly connected to in-home Wi-Fi networks, and the nature of routine online activities becoming more and more exacting, a fast internet connection, nowadays, is therefore one that offers internet speeds much higher than the FCC broadband standard. Meaning, you have a “fast” internet connection, if you get download speeds in the 100 Mbps range or above, while the upload speed must be around 10 Mbps or higher.

What can a fast download speed do for you?

Well as we said, download speeds in the 100 Mbps range are considered the product of a fast internet connection. If you are subscribed to 100 Mbps-fast internet, it can easily accommodate up to 5 users. Albeit, for a seamless simultaneous online experience, activities may be limited to downloading music or images and light streaming. In case, only one device is connected to 100 Mbps fast internet, more demanding modern-day activities like video calling, HD or 4K video streaming etc. can be conducted without lags and buffers.

Are you looking for speeds that would connect 5 devices simultaneously? Do you want to be able to download large files and stream in HD? Then, you must raise the bar on the download speed of your connection. Speeds in the range of 200-300 Mbps are a must if everyone in the family wants to relax with their hand-held devices connected to the in-home Wi-Fi.  

For speeds that are fast and reliable, your best bet is a fiber-optic internet connection, which usually costs you dearly. If you do not wish to allocate a good chunk of your monthly budget to fiber-expensive internet, you can always opt for high-speed cable broadband. Nowadays, most renowned providers have upgraded to fiber-coaxial hybrid networks that utilize the next-gen DOCSIS 3.1 protocol. They are thus able to provide speeds comparable to fiber optic internet, but not nearly as expensive.

Some providers even furnish high-speed DSL up to 100 Mbps fast over hybrid networks that employ Fiber in the Loop. The High-speed DSL option is not a poor choice by any means, if 100 Mbps fulfills your individual or household needs – its cost effective too.

Here is a list of the renowned U.S. ISPs engaged in provision of high-speed internet services – DSL and cable broadband as well as fiber-optic internet. Explore:

What can a fast upload speed do for you?

Upload speed tells you how fast your internet connection can transfer data from your device to the destination device over the internet. Upload speeds are essential for uploading images and videos, file-sharing, Live video chats, and of course online multi-player gaming.

When it comes to upload speeds, 10 Mbps or higher are generally considered fast internet speeds. The starting 10 Mbps speed is adequate for handling everyday uploading activities for the standard user – inclusive of telecommuters. While upstream speeds in excess of 10 Mbps are pure delight for all online gamers.

As you can see, in case of upload speeds too, the ideal benchmark for multi-device usage is higher than the FCC standard of 3 Mbps. Yet with 3 Mbps, a single modest uploader may not face any hiccups. You must therefore, assess what is the extent of your uploading activity and how many users would be engaged at any given time. This evaluation will tell you what upload speed you must look for.

What are slow internet speeds?

Download speed is how quickly your internet connection can retrieve data (videos, web pages, photos, etc.) from a server to your device. Download speeds are crucial for loading a website, streaming a video, downloading files, or streaming music.

The minimum download speed standard is set at 25 Mbps by FCC, because it allows comfortable access to the internet for routine modern day utilities. You can set up a decent Wi-Fi network too; and connect more than one internet enabled device – the nature of usage and number of connected devices will however remain limited. If you have a big family and many devices to be connected, 25 Mbps download speeds would prove slow – since it is basically a minimum recommendation by the FCC.

Yet again, we circle back to the fact that your usage is key to defining what are slow internet speeds. For some 25 Mbps would be fast, and for others slow. As we said earlier, you must know what you need the internet for, and how many users would connect to the network.

Technically speaking, from the FCC viewpoint, anything less than 25 Mbps would be deemed slow internet!

What are “slow internet” speed options?

By any chance, if you are in search of internet service type that comes with speeds lower than 25 Mbps, DSL is the best option. Some cable internet service providers too offer slower speeds at lower prices – in addition to more popular high-speed tiers, that are pricier.

In case you use the internet only for causal surfing or to access social media accounts and email, then internet speeds slower than 25 Mbps might be right for you. Here, you can explore reliable and cheap DSL options too.

Do you think you are not getting the speed you pay for? Take a speed test!

Are you experiencing issues with internet speed even though you have subscribed to a pretty good internet plan? Maybe you have a big household or your family is involved in downloading or streaming more than you think. This is something that would slow your connection down.

A quick internet speed test is one of the best ways to figure out whether you have a fast or slow internet connection. It only takes a few seconds to test the speed of your internet. The test will show both your download and upload speeds and even the ping and jitter readings.

If your speed is slower than what the internet plan you are paying for must bring you, it would not be able to keep up with all your online activities. If however the speed test gives you a reading close to the speed you must be getting, then you need to upgrade to a higher speed tier, because the issue is not with the connection rather the usage level.

What is the estimated time of downloading a video?

The internet speed you need for downloading music, movies, and pictures depends on the file size. A movie can range from 1 to 7 GB based on the length and video quality. To give you an idea of the speed required for downloading, here is the estimated time it would take to download a file 4 GB in size at various speeds.

1 Mbps

10 Mbps

25 Mbps

50 Mbps

100 Mbps

200 Mbps

400 Mbps

1000 Mbps

9:32:39

0:57:15

0:22:54

0:11:27

0:05:43

0:02:51

0:01:25

0:00:34

What is the estimated time of uploading a short video?

It is important to keep in mind video files vary in size. Here’s how long it would take to upload a short video about 0.5 GB in size at various upload speeds.

1 Mbps

3 Mbps

5 Mbps

10 Mbps

30 Mbps

50 Mbps

100 Mbps

500 Mbps

1:09:54

0:23:18

0:13:58

0:06:59

0:02:19

0:01:23

0:00:41

0:00:08

Another crucial thing to remember is that internet providers offer higher download speeds than upload speeds. Only with a fiber-optic connection you tend to get symmetrical speeds, meaning both download and upload speeds would be the same.

Finally!

Now that you have learned in great detail about upload and download speeds, and also about what helps determine how fast an internet connection you require, it’s time to pick an internet plan accordingly. Whether you are a Netflix binger, gamer, or someone who works from home, check out the fastest available internet in your area here. If you choose the right plan in line with your needs, you’ll be able to fully enjoy what you love doing online.