What internet speed I need? Discover here!

Frequently asked questions on internet speeds

What Speed Do You Need?

If you’re a gamer, Netflix binger or someone who works from home, you know that your Wi-Fi speed matters. But what internet speed do you need for online gaming? What speed do you need for Netflix? What is a good internet speed for working from home? If you’re trying to figure out what internet speed you need for your connected household, you’ve come to the right place. Our speed tool will help you identify which speed is ideal for your home given the way you use the internet. But before we dive into the details, let’s define exactly what internet speed is.

Internet speed is measured by how fast packets of data are transmitted from the World Wide Web to your home computer or mobile device. It is measured in units called megabits per second, or Mbps.

Beware that not all speeds are created equal. For instance, many providers may have extraordinary download speeds but their upload speeds are abysmal.

Most providers choose to set their bandwidth in such a way that the majority of speed is available for those downloading rather than uploading. This can be problematic for customers who frequently use cloud-sharing applications for data storage or those who play games online. If you’re a gamer or you live your life in the cloud, you’ll want to look for a provider that offers what is referred to as “symmetrical bandwidth,” where the download and upload speeds are more evenly balanced.

What are good home internet speeds?

Good home internet speeds depend on what you use the internet for at home. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends internet speeds of 12-25 Mbps for families with multiple internet users or for frequent online streaming.

What is a fast internet speed?

The FCC has defined broadband, or fast internet, as internet with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps since 2015.  Download speeds of at least 25 Mbps accommodate many families’ needs, but the best download speeds and upload speeds for you depend on how you use internet at home. More than 80% of MoveStub readers who took our internet speed quiz stream TV daily, and more than 20% stream Ultra HD daily, which means fast internet speeds to them are closer to 100 Mbps.

Best internet speeds for gaming

You need minimum speeds of 4-8 Mbps to game online, but for a consistently good gaming experience, 10-25 Mbps tend to be best. As you search for the best internet for gaming, keep in mind that download speed isn’t the only factor in a good gaming experience.

Speed is important because it’s how quickly your device transfers information from the gaming server. However, ping time and latency also matter.

What internet speed do you need for streaming?

To stream most videos in standard definition, you’ll need internet speeds of at least 3 Mbps and to stream videos in 4K, you’ll need much faster speeds of 25 Mbps or more.

What internet speed do you need for 4k?

You need at least 25 Mbps for 4K streaming video on your computer or Ultra HD enabled devices. Some streaming services suggest faster speeds, such as Fubo TV which suggests minimum speeds of 40 Mbps.

Type of service

Another consideration is that the type of service available in your area will dictate your internet speed. There are four basic types of internet service and the technology each utilizes can limit the amount of speed you can receive in your home.

Satellite and DSL internet connections tend to be much slower than cable and fiber connections. Satellite internet bounces signal from a satellite to your home and the transmission of data can be slowed by weather and other users. DSL connections, widely available in rural areas, utilize phone lines but the technology limits how much data can be transmitted at once.

Cable is one of the fastest high-speed internet connections, but it too can slow depending on the amount of use occurring as it routes data through your neighborhood hub. Some metro areas of the United States offer fiber and this type of internet delivers high-speeds efficiently. Some fiber networks offer speeds of 1 Gigabyte or more (1,000 Mbps).

Enjoy high-speed internet at home

What internet speed do I need for working from home?

The best internet speed for working from home depends on what kind of work you do. If you frequently download and upload large files, internet speeds of at least 40 Mbps are recommended.

  • Email and basic computer programs: 3-4 Mbps is recommended
  • Skype group video calls: 10+ Mbps is recommended
  • Large file transfers: 40+ Mbps is recommended

What Does Mbps Mean?

Megabits per second (Mbps) is the most common measurement of consumer-grade Internet connections. It’s not important to understand what a “bit” is, so long as you’re familiar with the range of speeds on the market.

Internet plans can be anywhere from 1 Mbps all the way up 1,000 Mbps or more. Anything above 25 Mbps is considered usable for modern applications. Speeds below 200 Mbps can be challenging for a large household. Use the tool above to calculate what speed range you should be looking for when shopping for Internet service.

What will the speed tool tell me? 

Our speed tool is going to estimate the maximum speed you would need to accommodate all the people, activities, and devices being used simultaneously in your home during the time of peak internet usage. We’ll assess your needs based on the following questions:

  • What is the maximum number of devices that could be using the internet in your home at the same time?
  • During your busiest hour of internet usage, how many devices would be streaming video at once?
  • How many devices might be downloading large files or torrents?
  • How many devices in your home would be playing games? (PS4, Xbox, PC, etc.)
  • How many devices would be browsing the internet, using social media, or checking email at the same time? (Facebook, Gmail, etc.)
  • How many devices might be conducting video calls? (Skype, Facetime, etc.)

We’ll take that data, crunch the numbers, and determine the optimal speed for you along with recommendations for providers in your area that offer the internet speeds you need. Since internet providers are organized by zip code, you’ll be asked to enter yours so we can provide the best answer based on your household internet usage and the speeds available near you.