The lowdown on internet speed and data packages

The lowdown on internet speed and data packages

The internet is now being used for work, entertainment and socializing. Consumers used to be largely reliant on ISPs to handle service packages and internet speeds. Now, there is more of a requirement to learn exactly what we need in terms of data packages and speeds and picking the right provider.

Usually, Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and there is no such thing as the perfect speed as everyone’s situation is different, however the higher the Mbps, the better off you are.

The speed that you will require is dependent on what you use the internet for, how many people and the types of devices that will be connected at one time.

As an example, checking your email takes up far less bandwidth or needs less speed that downloading files or streaming a video.

In today’s world and particularly in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, people do not use the internet for one activity at a time or even one device at a time. With the working from home culture in full swing, people are requiring higher speeds for video conferencing or uploading files on a frequent basis. 

Average internet download speeds range from 12-25 Mbps. Most people in the United States run on this scale. However, there are other options with more basic services running from 3-8 Mbps, as well as an advanced service that exceeds 25 Mbps.

Despite uniform speeds, most providers have a variation in standards for upload and download speeds. Download speeds on the whole, tend to be higher. It’s worth researching both download and upload speeds to figure out your best option.

The FCC sets the minimum upload speed for fast internet at just 3 Mbps. Upload speeds typically run from 1 Mbps to 15 Mbps.

When assessing what internet speeds you need, you should be aware of how you use the internet and how that breaks down in the grand scheme of things.

Light use: You only use the internet for basic things like email, reading news, basic video, voice calls, and music streaming.

Moderate use: You use all the things included in the “Light” use category, as well as one of the following — streaming HD video, multi-party video conferencing, online gaming, or telecommuting.

High use: You do all of the things included in the “Light” use category, and more than one of the “Moderate” uses.

If you plan on moderate use, it is best to go with average speeds in the 12 to 25 Mbps range.

If your home consists of a single user using one device at a time, and you fall into the moderate use category, you could probably get away with basic service speeds. 

On the other hand, if you have four or more users or devices at a time, or you frequently stream 4K video or transfer large files, you should probably upgrade to more advanced service speeds.

Even if you stick to a particular usage category, you may still wish to go for more speed in order to gain more freedom in the way you use the internet. The larger your download speeds, the more noticeable the change in your experience. 

If you are stuck between two options that are only a difference of say, 10 Mbps, you probably won’t see much difference between the two. But if you were to go with a fiber-optic connection, you may find speeds ranging from 100 to 2,000 Mbps, so the difference will be considerable. 

Fiber-optic internet is also less susceptible to slowdowns, so you may also want to factor that into your decision.