You wouldn’t pay for the electricity that you don’t use. Then again, if you were to pay for a certain amount of water, you wouldn’t want to run out before the next billing cycle. The same can be true for the internet.
You want to pay just for the internet speed you need. It’s important to get as close to the right plan as you can because internet plans vary in price from $25-$100.
It isn’t that easy to figure out how fast your internet needs to be because there are a lot of factors
- How many devices connect to the internet/Wi-Fi at the same time?
- What are those devices doing? Streaming 4K video, browsing the web, streaming music?
- How many smart home devices do you have?
- How many people work from home?
- How many Zoom or video conference calls are being made at any given time?
- Are children going to school online?
- Is anyone uploading or downloading files?
Answers to those questions go a long way into figuring out if 100 megabytes per second is enough or if you need lots more.
A megabyte per second is simply how much bandwidth is going from your internet provider to your router and devices. Think of it as a highway. The smaller number of megabytes the less traffic on the highway. The internet “pipe” can transfer a limited number of megabytes at the same time. The more devices and megabytes are being used at the same time, the larger that internet “pipe” needs to be.
So how much do you need? To answer that we need to look at how much bandwidth certain things need.
According to highspeedinternet.com here are a few of the most common actions and how much bandwidth they require:
- Checking email 1Mbps, social media, Web browsing, 3 MBps
- Streaming SD video, 3-5 Mbps
- Streaming HD video, 5-10 Mbps
- Streaming 4K video, 25-35 Mbps
- Online Gaming, 3-25 Mbps
That’s quite a range. It’s important to note that if those devices are in use at the same time, each action is multiplied.
For example, in a household with 4 people, if 3 are watching a 4K Netflix video on 3 different
TVs or devices, that’s 105 Mbps. If one of those people is also browsing social media on another device, that’s an additional 3 Mbps. If someone else is playing a video game online, you need lots more than just 100 Mbps.
Consider all of the smart home devices connected to the internet/Wi-Fi at the same time. Those devices do not require much bandwidth individually, but they do add up.
If you’re ever watching something on Netflix on a TV or mobile device and the picture freezes, it’s because someone else is using the bandwidth you need.
Keep in mind your plan is offering speeds up to the megabyte plan. If your internet plan is for 100 Mbps, look carefully and it will say speeds up to 100 Mbps. If you frequently watch 4k movies on multiple TVs, if you work from home and if someone plays online video games, you more than likely need more than 100 Mbps.
Run an independent speed test at www.speedtest.net to see what you are getting. Just make sure you run that test using your home Wi-Fi and not your mobile plan. If you aren’t getting at least close to what you’re paying for, contact your internet provider