Determining how much internet you need can be a pretty straight forward thing if you understand how the internet works. Some Internet provider like Comcast give you plenty of limited internet packages to choose from. Other internet providers such as Spectrum (which is inclusive of Time Warner Cable, Charter and Brighthouse Network) have a starting speed from either 60mbps or 100mbps depending on the area. There a few factors to consider and unfortunately most people do not look into it and they end up paying for an internet speed that is way beyond their usefulness. Researching how much internet is needed in your household can save you a lot of money.
Here are some factors to look into when deciding on how much speed you should get for your household;
- The total number of Internet users in your household.
- What online activities your household engages in.
- The bandwidth necessary for those activities.
- The number of users who will be using the Internet at the same time.
To give you a rough idea on the average internet usage of a 4 person household:
- Mom may use the internet for Streaming Video on Smart TV (4.00 Mbps) and Social Media (0.03 Mbps)
- Dad may Stream Hi-Def Movie on Smart TV (5.30 Mbps) and Sending Email (0.08 Mbps)
- Teen Child may use it for Streaming Music (2.00 Mbps), Playing online game (0.02 Mbps) and Audio call with other players (0.30 Mbps)
- Middle School Age Child may use the internet for Social Media (0.03 Mbps) Skype with Friends (0.30 Mbps)
- And putting into consideration other Devices such as Home Security 1 device (1.2 Mbps), Smart Phones 3 phones (3 Mbps), Kindle, or Other Tablet3 devices (3 Mbps)
This will bring everything to a total of 19.00 Mbps
Most homes use their internet mainly for streaming and downloading. A 2-hour movie is about 2 gigabytes of data, and with 4 Mbps service it would take about an hour and 15 minutes to download. By increasing your Internet speed, you simply reduce the amount of time it takes to download the content. That same 2-hour movie would take half the time to download with an 8 Mbps connection.
Streaming is a bit different. According to Netflix, for streaming a movie, you need somewhere between .7 Mbps to 5.3 Mbps. High-quality audio and video will require more bandwidth or speed in order to stream properly. Based on Netflix calculations, for the best quality streaming Hi-Definition (HD) video, you’d need more than the basic 4 Mbps down. However, non-HD best quality streaming could be achieved with a 4 Mbps connection.
Streaming music is far less taxing on an Internet connection as it requires about 2 Mbps for the highest quality audio.
Regarding e-mail, estimates are that an average email without attachments is about 75 kilobits, which is 0.075 megabits, in size. An e-mail with a file attached increases by the size of the file.
Bandwidth usage estimates for online gaming are around 150 Mb / hour or about 1/20 Mbps. The real culprit is the usage for updates to the games and that can exceed 100 Mb for each update, or the audio calling services gamers use to talk to one another.
For a 2-way video call, Skype recommends 0.3 Mbps as a minimum upload and download speed.
Facebook users average about 0.03 Mbps when browsing the site, but requirements increase significantly when streaming videos from the site. Internet-connected Home Security and Automation devices use more than 1 Mbps
Smartphones and devices like Echo, when idle use 1 Mbps each.
So before you make a choice on what Internet speed to go for, make sure you are choosing a speed that is really necessary for your usage to avoid paying extra for something you will not be using.