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BLOG: Do You Have the Internet Speed You Need?

4/4/2018

In today’s modern homes and offices, the internet has become more than a luxury. We need fast connections throughout our daily lives for not only the online surfing and searches that first sparked our reliance on the internet, but also for things like streaming TV shows and music, keeping our homes and workplaces secure, and in some especially advanced settings, even for controlling the lights and air conditioning, locking the doors, answering the doorbell, and starting the coffee maker with our smartphones.

Further, the growth in the Internet of Things — the ever-more-varied collection of home and office devices that we connect to the internet these days, which can range from the traditional computers and cellphones to washing machines, watches, dog collars, cat feeders, you name it — isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. In fact, according to market intelligence firm IDC, approximately 80 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2025, when 152,000 new devices are expected to be connected to the internet every minute. (That’s up from approximately 11 billion connected devices in 2016, when nearly 5,000 new devices were being added per minute.)

Common burdens on bandwidth

Needless to say, having fast internet speeds in your home is becoming more and more important, and the number of internet-connected devices you’re using at one time matters. Consider the amount of bandwidth required and speeds recommended for the following common internet uses — and keep in mind that the amounts of bandwidth used are cumulative when multiple devices are connected:

  • Video streams:According to Netflix, the bandwidths recommended for video streaming can vary widely depending on the video quality. The video-streaming service requires a minimum broadband connection speed of .5 Mbps, with at least 1.5 Mbps recommended. It recommends 3.0 Mbps for SD-quality videos, 5.0 Mbps for HD-quality videos, and 25.0 Mbps for Ultra HD-quality videos.
  • Streaming music:Music streams are a substantially lighter burden on bandwidth, with the average online radio streams requiring less than .5 Mbps, and the highest-quality audio requiring about 2 Mbps.
  • VoIP calls:These phone calls placed via your Internet connection land in the same bandwidth ballpark as Internet radio — requiring less than .5 Mbps.
  • General browsing, email, social media:According to the FCC, a minimum download speed of 1 Mbps is recommended for general internet surfing, emailing and social media usage.
  • Videoconferencing:The standard personal video call (e.g. a Skype call) requires about 1 Mbps, while the same call in HD requires about 1.5 Mbps, and HD video teleconferencing requires about 6 Mbps.
  • File downloads:File-download times are dependent on your internet speed, with higher speeds enabling faster downloads. For example, for a two-hour movie that is 2 gigabytes in size — it would take about 1.25 hours to download the file at a speed of 4 Mbps, but only about 15 seconds with 1 Gig internet speed.
  • Gaming:About 3 Mbps is recommended for connecting a gaming console to the Internet, while 4Mbps is suggested for online multiplayer games. 

How much bandwidth do I need?

In general, the more devices you have connected to the internet, the greater your bandwidth requirements — and higher speeds/increased bandwidths are especially big performance boosters for activities like video streaming and HD videoconferencing that involve large amounts of data transfer.

Need help determining which internet speed is right for your home or office? Check out our new interactive tool — the Internet Speed Evaluator! By allowing you to select the number of devices you have connected, along with the various Internet activities they’re engaging in, it can calculate your ideal internet speed. To learn more, visit ftc-i.net/services/internet/rates-packages.

SOURCES:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkanellos/2016/03/03/152000-smart-devices-every-minute-in-2025-idc-outlines-the-future-of-smart-things/#4605a0ea4b63

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306

https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/guides/broadband-speed-guide

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