There are a lot of internet providers today with each claiming to have a good connection speed.
But what does a good connection speed mean? And how much of it do you really need?
This article will discuss the various factors that go into determining the amount of internet you need. But first, let us look into the most common lingo used by your service provider and what it means.
What is Ping?
This refers to the test carried out to determine whether a certain server is reachable. Ping works by sending a data packet to a server and waiting to see whether it comes back. If it does, then it is reachable.
What is Ping Time?
This is a measure of the speed the data packet takes to travel to the server and back. This time is measured in milliseconds. Thus, if your connection does not register the request within a few seconds, you are likely to experience a lag in your online processes.
What is Latency?
Latency is the measure of the time taken for data to be transferred from one point to another. It is not, to be confused with ping as the latter refers to signaling a server to determine whether you can establish a connection while the former refers to the time taken to send data between two places.
What is Mbps?
This is the standard measure of internet speeds, and it means megabits per second. Essentially, it is a measure of how much data can be transmitted each second.
The Difference between Upload Speed and Download Speed
Download speed refers to the rate at which your internet connection can transmit data from the server to you. As such, it is very important when it comes to loading a website, downloading files, or streaming music and videos. Upload speed refers to the rate at which your internet connection transmits data to servers. As such, this metric is an important consideration when sending files or emails, gaming, and video chats.
How to Figure Out Your Current Internet Speed
Your service provider will charge you based on the speed of your WI-FI network. The faster, the costlier. As such, it is important to know whether what you are getting what you are paying for.
Here’s how to tell your actual internet speed:
- Connect your computer to your router via an Ethernet cable.
- Open your web browser.
- Go to www.speedtest.net
A speed test will indicate your download and upload speeds. Chances are that they are either going to be slightly below or above what you pay for, and that is okay. However, if they are significantly below what you are paying for, then it is time to have a talk with your provider. Nevertheless, as internet speeds tend to fluctuate throughout the day, carry out the speed test at different times of day and see whether the average is close to what you pay for.
What Internet Speed Do I Need?
The amount of internet speed one needs varies between individuals as it is determined by many factors. For instance, you have to consider the number of people who will be using that Wi-Fi network, the activities they will be involved in, the bandwidth required for those tasks, and how many of them will be using the connection simultaneously. The hardest part lies in figuring out what bandwidth each process consumes.
Best Internet Speed for Online Gaming
Generally, you will need download speeds of at least 3mbps and upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps just to get most games to play. These also happen to be the minimum required internet speeds for online gaming on Xbox One and PS4. Nevertheless, as these are the minimum requirements, you might need a faster connection depending on the following factors:
Wired vs Wireless
Your computer communicates with your router in using either a wired or a wireless connection. Wired connections typically offer a faster and more reliable internet connection. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that you will be having problems with your wireless connection if you are close to the router and have no walls separating you from it.
As expected, the farther away you will be from the server, the higher your latency shall be. Your latency rate generally depends on the quality of your connection, especially if you are playing peer-hosted games.
As such, the lower your latency, the better. Moreover, it should not be higher than 150 Mbps as you and the other players are going to experience a noticeable lag.
Best Internet Speed for Streaming Videos
As with online games, video streaming websites such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon also have their own minimum internet speed requirements. You know that you have a poor connection or subpar internet speed if the content has to load every minute or two while streaming.
As a rule of thumb, in order to enjoy a smooth standard definition video, you should have internet speeds of at least 2 Mbps. However, if you want to watch the video in HD, 3D, or 4K, you will need a much faster connection.
The average range of internet speeds for the different video qualities across the various streaming platforms include:
1.0 – 2.5 Mbps for standard definition content
3.0 – 4.0 Mbps for high-def videos (720p and 1080p)
6.0 – 9.0 Mbps for 3D HD movies
Over 11 Mbps for 4K streaming
Obviously, these are just averages, and certain streaming sites will require more bandwidth and internet speed than others.
Best Internet Speed for People Who Work From Home
The type of speed you need for your home office largely depends on the tasks you carry out and the number of people using the WI-FI.
Email and Basic Browsing
If the purpose of your internet connection is to primarily use email, browse websites, and download files occasionally, then you do not need an ultrafast internet connection. In fact, 2 Mbps will be more than enough reliable internet for basic tasks on your web browser.
Standard Quality Video Streaming
If you are streaming short videos regularly, such as those on YouTube and Facebook, you also do not need a very fast internet connection. However, 2 Mbps may not be sufficient especially if you are using multiple devices.
High-definition videos require a lot of Mbps. Thus, if your office regularly watches HD videos via multiple devices or computers, you will need an above average internet speed of around 10 Mbps. This kind of speed allows you to watch and download HD content without delays.
If your line of work revolves around projects that involve huge file downloads and uploads such as video editing and programing, or you have many people using the connection, then consider having speeds of above 10mbps.
What is Internet Throttling?
Internet throttling refers to the intentional slowing down of internet speeds by internet providers as a way of regulating network traffic and minimizing bandwidth congestion so as to reduce the risk of the system crashing. This, of course, will lower your speeds.
How to Bypass ISP Throttling
You can bypass ISP throttling by using a VPN service. A good VPN service works by collecting all your information, encrypting it, and sending it through a secure pipeline. This data is undetectable to the ISP, therefore, ensuring that the ISP does not know what you are up to. As such, they cannot throttle your surfing experience.
The kind of speed you need depends on the kind of activities you do on the internet. Additionally, your location also plays a role in the kind of speeds you can enjoy as rural areas may suffer from low internet speeds. For example, 2 Mbps is about the average speed in many rural places while urban centers can enjoy speeds of over 10 Mbps. These are not the only internet speeds you are limited to as some providers offer gigabit internet service. The gigabit internet service provides you with speeds of up to 1 Gb/s which is the equivalent of 1000 Mbps.