Your home internet does a lot. It connects to your laptop, your cell phone, your lights, your home security system, your kid's PlayStation®, maybe even your Peloton®. So when your Wi-Fi starts sputtering, it makes you wonder: Is something broken, or do I just need faster internet?
At Asurion, we don't just fix and protect your tech, we help you stay connected to what's important. Here's our guide to what kind of internet speed you need—whether you're a gamer or someone who works from home.
How do I know if my internet is too slow?
Your internet should be fast enough for you to do everything you want online—with a little room for your friends and family to connect without slowing anything down. If webpages won't load quickly or videos lag when you watch them online, your internet speed may be the problem.
One way to test your internet speed is with an app. Download a speed-test app, like Cloudcheck® or Speedtest®, to a device connected to your network, and run a speed test. Another tried and true test is to stream a video at 1080p If you notice a lot of buffering or lag, that means your network is struggling with video at your current speed.
How's internet speed measured?
Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The higher the number, the faster your internet service should be. If slower internet is common in your home, your current speed might not be sufficient.
What kind of internet speed do I need?
The question depends on who you are and how you use the internet. Here are a few factors to consider:
- What do you plan to do online? Needing fast download speeds for reading emails and streaming videos is different than needing to upload videos to YouTube™ quickly.
- How many devices do you plan to connect to it? You can't expect the basic internet plan to carry multiple phones, laptops, and smart gadgets at fast speeds. The more devices you connect to, the slower it's going to be.
- What's your current budget? The fastest internet should be one you can afford. The cheapest option might not be the best depending on how you use it, but it's also possible to buy more speed than you need.
What kind of internet speed do I need for everyday use?
Basic data plans—usually starting at 75 Mbps—are meant for people with no more than four devices who browse the internet and occasionally use video services like YouTube. Most webpages require 1 Mbps to load and longer videos need about 3 Mbps of download speed.
What kind of internet speed do I need for working at home?
If you work from home or have a lot of connected devices, you need more speed than someone casually using the internet. Good internet speed for videoconferencing, sending emails, and sharing large files suitable when you're working from home start at 5 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed. For most work-from-home tasks you'll need no more than 30 Mbps of download speed and 20 Mbps of upload speed. If you have more than one person working from home, double the Mbps so you both can work comfortably.
What kind of internet speed do I need for gaming?
Gamers need higher download and upload speeds—and a larger data plan. Most gaming console manufacturers recommend at least 5 Mbps of download speed and 5–10 Mbps of upload speed. For online gaming enthusiasts, choose a plan that has at least 50 Mbps for download and 30 Mbps for upload speed.
Do I need fiber internet?
Fiber-optic, or fiber, internet is a newer, faster form of internet that uses fiber-optic cables. Whereas the average speed for internet via coaxial cable usually ranges from around 20 Mbps to 100 Mbps, fiber offers speeds starting around 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), which is the equivalent of one thousand Mbps.
Sounds cool, right? It is. But it's also expensive, and you probably don't need it unless you're using the internet to upload 4K videos and other large media files. The average person is probably fine with a basic plan.
Need a new computer to push your internet speeds to their limit? Check out our guide on what to look for in your next laptop.