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iamshishir   , 29

from Los Angeles


Assessing Your Need for Internet Speed


When you venture out to look the right Internet service provider for your home, the sheer number of options that are available today might overwhelm you. Every service provider is offering higher speeds at competitive rates. Bleeding edge technologies like Fiber to the Premises and DSL Vectoring are on the horizon.

They promise higher speeds than ever. But, at the end of the day, it’s not what an ISP is offering you, but what you need that really matters.It boils down to how much Internet speed you need to carry on with your everyday online activities. There are so many factors that can affect how much speed you need and here are the most important of them.

What are You Doing on the Internet?

You can use the Internetfor an endless number of reasons, from communicating to entertainment to education. The Internet speeds you need will depend on what you do online. Browsing the net, sending emails, chatting, and going through social media sites are all light activities. For instance, a 0.5 Mbps speed connection is enough if you want to browse through your News Feed on Facebook.

This goes for a toss if you want to stream video content online, want to download music, chat on Skype, and so on. If you want a smooth experience with all of these, then you need a speed of at least 1Mbps. The need for speed goes higher as you start streaming videos from Netflix or Hulu or want to download movies.

At this point, you need an Internet connection that can get you a speed of about 5Mbps. At this speed, you can download a DVD quality movie in 15 minutes or so. Increase or decrease the speed and the required time for download will change accordingly. As you opt for better quality of videos like HD and UHD, your requirement for the Internet speed will shoot up.

Do you stream, download, or upload?

This is the most important question you need to ask yourself while zeroing on an Internet plan. Different people use the Internet for different purposes and that has a huge bearing on how much Internet speed you need. There are basically three ways in which people can use data.

They can download, upload or stream content. Downloading means you are transferring the data from the Internet to your device. Uploading is the opposite of downloading, where you are transferring the content from your device to the Internet.

Both of these processes usually use high bandwidth over a short time. This way, a movie can be downloaded at a fasterrate than you can watch it.On the other hand, streaming is live. You are watching the content as soon as it is getting streamed from the Internet. Also, you are not storing any of the content on your device. Streaming uses the bandwidth needed to watch a video online. You are not downloading the entire video at one go.

If you have higher speeds, then you can download more content in less time. But, if you have low speeds, streaming can become a really painful experience, because the content will pause to buffer. No one wants to watch their favorite movies in installments, right?

How Frequently Are You Online?

This is an important question that you need to ask yourself before committing to an ISP. If you are someone who comes online foronly an hour or two a day to check mails and chat with friends, do not opt for high speed plans. You will never use them to their full potential. However, if you are a cord-cutter or an online gamer who are virtually on the net 24X7, then go for higher plans, especially broadband plans with no data caps.

How Many Devices Are Connected Simultaneously?

This is one of those factors that are usually neglected while choosing an Internet plan. People tend to overlook the fact that the more is the number of devices connected to an Internet connection, the higher is the speed you need. It’s that simple.

It is possible that you use the Internet to mostly chat with your friends online. But, another family member could be using the connection to stream a TV show. Someone else could be browsing through his or her social media accounts, while someone else might be downloading a movie.

The point is that when all of you are using the Internetsimultaneously, the speeds experienced by each of you will go down. The reason is simple. The Internetspeed is now fractioned. Everybody is using a part of it. Undoubtedly, it is going to slow down the browsing, chatting, streaming, and downloading.

Keep this in mind when you are out shopping for an Internetplan. Make sure that you consider the average number of devices that will be simultaneously connected to that one connection. Your service provider will be able to offer you a good plan accordingly.

Where Do You Live?

The area where you live has a huge bearing on the kind of speeds you receive. If you live in a remote location, chances are that the ISP in your region may not be able to offer you their best plans with highest speeds. So, instead of paying for a plan first and repenting later, do your due research. Call their customer care and talk to your neighbors and friends, who have used the service. This will give you a better idea of what to expect from the ISP.


Internet speeds are constantly rising. But,that does not change how much speed you need. Do not fall into the rat race. Sit back and assess your and your family’s usage patterns, and come to a rational decision. Internet service providers usually give you an option to upgrade your plan. So, just in case your plan is not fulfilling your requirements, you can always level up.