Do You Have the Speed for Your Needs?



Having the right bandwidth helps make your connected devices work to their maximum potential. Home Telecom’s Velocity Fiber helps to deliver speeds up to 1 Gbps (Gigabits per second), which is equivalent to 1,000 Mbps (Megabits per second), the term you are most accustomed to hearing when people are talking about internet speeds. Gigabit internet is approximately 60 times faster than the average U.S. internet connection and allows multiple people to participate in online gaming, stream 4K videos and even transfer large files to the cloud for safekeeping all at the same time.

When it comes to measuring the speed of an Internet connection, two things matter: download speed and upload speed. Download speed is a measure of how fast data from the Internet can get to you. Upload speed, on the other hand, is a measure of how quickly you can send data from inside your network out to other computers or servers. With most Internet providers upload speeds are only a fraction of their download speed, but with Velocity Fiber the download speeds and upload speeds are the same.

When determining the amount of speed you need it is also important to keep in mind that each activity takes up a certain amount of Mbps. This means that you need to take the total of each device in your home’s Mbps usage to come up with a cumulative total of how many Mbps your household needs for both download and upload.

Activity Usage

The following is an estimate of how much Mbps each activity consumes.

  • Videos – Whether you have one device in your home or several that stream videos, it is important to keep the following information in mind, as each online video service varies in the amount of required Mbps.
    • Amazon Prime Instant Video – 3.5 Mbps for HD videos
    • HBO Now – 3 Mbps for HD videos
    • Netflix – 5 Mbps for HD videos and 21 Mbps for 4K videos
  • Email – This generally requires about 0.50 Mbps per device. This does not include receiving large attachments. It is advisable to allocate approximately 10 to 12 Mbps for email if you will be sending or receiving large attachments.
  • Web Browsing – The average person uses approximately 1.0 Mbps to browse websites. If you frequently download information from websites or if the website has content that includes videos, this amount is going to be considerably higher.
  • Social Media – Popular sites like Facebook are increasing in how much bandwidth is needed for optimal performance due to the added auto-play of videos and high-def content. Currently, 2 Mbps is recommended per device. Keep in mind that if you are uploading photos, videos or using Facebook Live that your upload speed is just as important as the download speed.
  • Music Streaming – Estimates show that music streaming takes approximately 0.50 Mbps to 2 Mbps per device.
  • Web Conferencing – Whether it is a business, you work from home or are an independent contractor, web conference services require about 4.0 Mbps.
  • Online Gaming – This activity can take up a considerable amount of bandwidth, and at least 4 Mbps is recommended. Gaming updates can easily exceed 15 GB. Your Internet speed will determine how quickly the update occurs. With a 10 Mbps connection, it will take over 3-1/2 hours to download the update, but with a 1 Gbps connection it would only take about 2 minutes.
  • Cloud Backup – Backing up your entire system takes considerable bandwidth. Experts suggest a minimum of 10 Mbps, but recommend 50 Mbps when available.

Speed recommendations are based on providing a good to great Internet experience. All Internet activities will work at slower internet speeds; however, you will likely experience slower response times, lags and buffering.  Generally, people increase their Internet speed to help make programs, emails or websites download faster or to increase the quality of their video streams. However, it is important to note that a slow or old router, computer or device can dramatically decrease Internet speeds. Additionally, there is higher than average Internet usage between the peak hours of 7 PM and 11 PM.

It is important to calculate your total Mbps per device and then add up the totals for all devices in your household. For example, you may have a four-person family and everyone has a Smartphone. Those devices are regularly checking and downloading emails, attachments and messages. On top of that, you have two laptops and a desktop computer, as well as one PlayStation and a Smart TV. Then three members of your household also have tablets. Having twelve connected devices can dramatically affect your experience if you do not choose a plan with sufficient bandwidth. Based on the data above a four-person household’s data requirements might look like this:

Remember, this is just one calculation for a hypothetical four-person household, and your own calculation could be very different.  It is best to go through the calculations, but for general reference, this can serve as a guide to help you determine how much bandwidth you need for your home.

  • 5 Mbps or Less – Good for email and basic web surfing for single person households.
  • 5-10 Mbps – Sufficient for email, basic web surfing, occasional video streaming or online gaming. Acceptable for two to three connected devices.
  • 10-25 Mbps – Ideal for moderate HD video streaming or online gaming and downloading files. Acceptable for several connected devices.
  • 25-100 Mbps – Excellent for heavy HD video streaming or online gaming and downloading files. Acceptable for many connected devices.
  • 100 Mbps-1 Gbps – Superb for tech gurus, video streamers, die-hard gamers or home offices that require downloading or uploading large files. The best solution for a large number of connected devices.

Choosing a higher Mbps plan will give you the ability to have faster downloads, which means you will spend less time waiting for games, emails and videos to stream or download.

To help you determine the amount of bandwidth you need, click here for our Internet Activity calculator.