What Is A Good Internet Speed Mbps?

Internet speed is measured by how fast packets of data are transmitted from the World Wide Web to your home computer or mobile device. It is measured in units called megabits per second, or Mbps.

How do Mbps work?

Every piece of media or content on the internet uses a certain amount of data, most commonly seen measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB).

If you think those terms sound a bit like the “megabits” in Mbps, you are correct; they’re related but not the same.

  • 1 megabyte (MB) = 8 megabits (Mb)
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1,000 megabytes (MB)

Some file types, such as text documents and PDFs, may take only a few MBs. But to download an HD movie can easily take 4 GB.

Even though Mb are significantly smaller than most file sizes, they’re how we measure how quickly those files will download and upload using your internet connection.

How many Mbps do you need?

People who download a lot of HD videos or upload high-resolution photos will need more Mbps than someone who just wants to surf Facebook or send emails.

Obviously, the faster your internet speed is, the better. But how much speed you need depends on your type of usage. People who download a lot of HD videos or upload high-resolution photos will need more Mbps than someone who just wants to surf Facebook or send emails.

Most high-speed internet plans these days start around 5–10 Mbps, which is sufficient for most everyday online activity. But remember, the more people you have using your network, the slower your internet will run, since it’s divided across multiple internet users. So if you’re part of a family of four and everyone’s going to watch Netflix at the same time on different devices, you’re going to want a higher-speed plan.

Required Mbps for online activity

Activity type Minimum speed required
General browsing/email/social media 1 Mbps
Streaming music <0.5 Mbps
Streaming video (standard definition) 3–4 Mbps
Streaming video (high definition) 5–8 Mbps
Online multiplayer game 4 Mbps
Video conference call 6 Mbps

See a longer list of required speeds here.

What does Mbps have to do with your internet speed?

Think of it like filling your car’s gas tank. Your goal is to fill the whole tank with gas, but the pump can dispense only so much at once, so it takes time to get the gas from the pump into your tank.

The internet works the same way—only a certain amount of megabits can reach your computer or device per second, which means it takes time to upload or download content.

The slower your internet speed, (a.k.a. the fewer megabits you have per second), the longer it will take for you to download that PowerPoint presentation for work or be able to watch Netflix without waiting for it to buffer every ten seconds. The opposite is true as well—the more Mbps you have, the less time your iTunes movie will take to download.

Beware that not all speeds are created equal. For instance, many providers may have extraordinary download speeds but their upload speeds are abysmal.

Upload speeds

refer to how fast your PC or device can send data to the internet.

Download speeds

refer to the rate at which your computer can stream or download data from the internet.

Most Internet service providers choose to set their bandwidth in such a way that the majority of speed is available for those downloading rather than uploading. This can be problematic for customers who frequently use cloud-sharing applications for data storage or those who play games online. If you’re a gamer or you live your life in the cloud, you’ll want to look for a provider that offers what is referred to as “symmetrical bandwidth,” where the download and upload speeds are more evenly balanced.

Summary of Speed Recommendations for Common Internet Activities

Online Gaming

Download Speed: 5 Mbps
Upload Speed: 1 Mbps
Max Ping Rate: 150 ms

Streaming Video

Download Speed: 10 Mbps
Upload Speed: 0.5 Mbps (500 Kbps)

Streaming Music

Download Speed: 1 Mbps
Upload Speed: 0.25 Mbps (250 Kbps)

if you want to scroll through social media while streaming video, you’ll want an internet connection with a download speed of at least 13 Mbps. You should also add about 5bps extra speed to your total to compensate for occasional slowdowns.

Factors Determining the Internet Speed you Need

  • Number of Users
    This is a primary factor in determining what internet speeds you’ll need at the point of peak usage.
  • Types of Activities
    Some activities eat up bandwidth more than others. Streaming video in HD is certainly one of them. Our speed tool takes into account how you use your internet speeds and allows for additional bandwidth to accommodate the activities you enjoy the most.
  • Patterns of Use
    You’re downstairs watching the game in HD and the kids are busy gaming, watching Netflix, and chatting online. Estimating the speeds needed to support all those activities simultaneously is going to be a little more complex.
  • Devices
    Today’s average household has a myriad of devices that utilize the internet, including smart appliances. Our speed tool asks you to consider all the items in your home that might be tapping into your bandwidth. These include:

TVs

LCD, LED, HD and more

DVRs

TiVo, Hopper, Genie, etc.

Gaming Consoles

Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Wii U

Streaming Boxes

Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire

Smart appliances

Nest, SmartFridge, and more

The discussion above gives you an understanding of the internet speed  that will meet your needs. And that exactly what you will call a good internet speed.  It may be different for somebody who is using his internet differently.  A broadband speed nowadays is defined as 25mbps download and 3 mbpsupload. A connection around these speeds should satisfy the needs of almost anyone nowadays, provided that it is a good quality connection with little or no interruptions.

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