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Let’s keep it a buck: fast internet is no more a luxury but a necessity in our lives, keeping everyone connected at home and work.

With that said, it seems like almost every internet service provider nowadays is promising you the fastest internet speed. So, what exactly is fast? The head-spinning variety of choices to take your pick from often makes the process too overwhelming as you try to figure out what really is a fast internet speed.

What is Fast Internet?

For all practical purposes, an internet speed of more than 100 Mbps is considered fast as it can handle numerous online activities for multiple users simultaneously—without a major drop in connectivity. While at the other end of the spectrum, anything close to 1,000 Mbps via a Gigabit service, is labelled as ultra-fast.

Now, if you are thinking why someone would ever demand a download or upload speed as high as 1,000 Mbps, the answer is quite simple. Most people do not need it, but perhaps they do not understand that. Such fast broadband speeds are essential only to large households where people indulge in heavy-weight internet activities in addition to routine tasks like working from home, virtual learning, shopping and banking. And smart home devices are kept connected at all times—such as video cameras, motion sensors, security alarms etc.

When are Download Speeds Important?

Most household internet usage is geared towards downloading more than uploading. Download speed is key to all online activities such as browsing the web and social media, streaming TV or music, online gaming etc.

  • 50 Mbps: For streaming movies in HD, light-weight online gaming, downloading large files on 2 to 3 devices at once.
  • 100 Mbps: For light to moderate usage and a seamless online experience on up to 4 devices at once.
  • 1,000 Mbps: For 10 devices simultaneously engaged in heavy-weight online activities such as streaming 4K UHD or competitive 4K gameplay.  

Here is a list of common download speed tiers on offer in the market from high-speed internet providers. Get an idea of which tier maybe suitable for your needs:

  • 100 Mbps
  • 200 Mbps
  • 250 Mbps
  • 300 Mbps
  • 400 Mbps
  • 500 Mbps
  • 600 Mbps
  • 1,000 Mbps

When are Upload Speeds Important?

Upload speeds are vital for common online activities like uploading large files, cloud backup, video conference calls, sharing media on social networking platforms, and competitive gaming.

  • 10 Mbps: Upload heavy files or make high-res video calls.
  • 50 Mbps: Upload large files and broadcast live video streams on multiple devices.

Generally speaking, upload speeds of 10 Mbps are considered fast as they can handle regular uploading activities of an average internet user.   

What Types of Internet Connections Are More Likely to be Fast?

Things change pretty rapidly in the internet industry?an internet service which worked perfectly for your home last year may not be the ideal option for you now. So when you to take your pick from a range of internet service providers, it is always a smart approach to keep an eye on what technologies ISPs in your area are utilizing. It is also good to know which of these service types offers download and upload speeds fast enough for your needs.

For fast internet, Cable and Fiber services are definitely your best bet. If you are also looking for consistency in speed, fiber optic internet is a great option, as it has the least potential to slow down during peak usage times.

Which Providers Offer the Fastest Internet?

Well, this mostly depends on your exact location. You can use this tool to explore the best internet options available in your area by ZIP. Here is a list of noteworthy internet providers offering the fastest internet plans across the US.

Each of these providers offers a range of speed tiers as well as a Gigabit service. Xfinity is an exception with its 2,000 Mbps fast fiber broadband plan which is available in select areas.

Do I need Fast Internet?

In general, an internet speed of 100-200 Mbps is pretty good for standard household usage with up to 6 users. Streaming videos, playing competitive games in addition to routine daily tasks such as working from home, virtual learning, shopping, and banking?all of that can be done with ease. You can enjoy the Call of Duty: War Zone video game without any trouble?now that’ll give you a good idea of what download speeds ranging from 100-200 Mbps can achieve.

If however you work from home with heavy-weight online tasks and engagements?spending a couple of hours in Microsoft Teams or Zoom meetings?faster speed tiers of up to 500 Mbps can be a big plus as that would totally save you from running into connectivity issues.

How Much of a Difference Does a Fast Internet Speed Make?

Take a look at the chart below to understand better what you can do with different connection speeds:

Internet Speed

Online Activities

50 Mbps – 100 Mbps

Streaming HD video & music, online gaming, working from home, virtual learning, shopping, banking, video calling?on 2-3 devices at a time

100 Mbps – 200 Mbps

Streaming 4K UHD content, running a home office, kids attending online school, online gaming, video calling?on 3-6 devices at a time

200 Mbps and above

Running any creative profession, sustaining a smart home, streaming 4K video, 4K gameplay, using smart home & security devices.

 

What you will notice is the difference in speed does not as much reflect in the nature of online activities you can perform, but the number of devices/users that are likely to connect. The faster the speed, the lesser the quality of each connection is likely to dampen down. So, where 8 Mbps maybe the minimum speed suggested for a single video stream, 24 Mbps would be required for 3 concurrent streams.

What is Considered Slow Internet?

Ever experienced a meeting situation where you can hear the audio but the video lags? Well, it happens because of slow internet speed.

Anything less than 25 Mbps is considered too slow by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be categorized as broadband. With speeds slower than 25 Mbps, you are likely to face difficulty as you increase the number of connected devices?for instance, buffering while streaming video and similar infuriating connectivity issues.

Think Your Internet is Slow? Take a Speed Test.

One of the best ways to find out if your internet connection is slow or fast is by taking a speed test. It hardly takes 10 seconds to check the speed of your internet. The test will inform you about both your upload and download speeds as well as give the jitter and ping readings.

There You Are!

Fast internet is amazing, but paying for faster speeds than you’d actually use will not make any difference to your online experience. For this reason, we would suggest you pick an internet provider and plan that perfectly meets your maximum internet speed requirements. And, save yourself from paying additional bucks for speed that you are not even going to use.

FAQs

What Is Good Internet Speed?

Good internet speed means 25 Mbps and above according to the FCC benchmark. 25 Mbps fast download speeds are capable of supporting standard online activities, including gaming, HD streaming, downloading music, and web browsing. If you are looking for a seamless connectivity experience for multiple devices at once, fast speeds starting at 100 Mbps are recommended.

How Fast is 25 Mbps?

A 25 Mbps plan is a great option for a smaller family with standard household usage. It lets you stream Netflix and YouTube at 1080p on up  to 2 devices, play most games online, and load webpages fast.

How is Internet Speed Measured?

Internet speed is measured in bits per second. It is determined by how much data your connection can upload or download per second:

  • 1 Kbps = 1,000 bits per second.
  • 1 Mbps = 1 million bits per second.
  • 1 Gbps = 1 billion bits per second.