This is part 1 of the blog post about Internet Speed. In the next blog post, Check Your Internet Connection and Make it Faster, we will share how you can improve your Internet connection and the free tools you can try.
Internet speed is something we all have come to rely on in our daily lives. With 93% of American adults using the Internet and many with increasing reliance on it, you may have asked one of these questions:
- Why is my Internet so slow?
- How fast is my Internet connection right now?
- Is there a way to improve my Internet speed?
And, of course, the fundamental question, “How fast of an Internet connection do I actually need?”
Internet Speed 101
Do you know how Internet bandwidth works?
When you surf the web, stream movies, listen to a podcast, or do anything online, you are downloading and transferring data. Internet speed measures how long it takes data to get from the Internet to your connected devices. When we talk about Internet speed, we refer to the download and upload speeds in megabits per second (Mbps).
Most Internet service providers offer several service plans with different speeds. Depending on the number of devices you connect to the Internet, the number of people using the Internet in your household, and how you use the Internet, you can pick the plan that works for you.
Based on the definition set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a reliable high-speed broadband Internet should have a minimum speed of 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. This is why the lowest Internet plan you can find with any Internet service provider is always 25 Mbps or faster. A 1 Mbps connection usually takes less than 1 second to load a web page and about 40 seconds to download a five-minute song. With a basic Internet plan of 25 Mbps, the same web page loads instantly and only takes 1.5 seconds to download a song.
Is it better to get an Internet plan with a higher Mbps?
The truth is, not always.
People don’t always use the full bandwidth of their plans. Research shows that most households use less than 10% of the bandwidth for which they pay. You can read more about this finding in our previous blog post. The speed you need depends on how you use the Internet. You should always get a plan that fits your needs and budget.
If you are a single-person household that mainly uses the Internet for web browsing, online shopping, email, and social networking, you only use around 2 to 5 Mbps to do those activities. If you also want to download music, stream videos, and listen to live radio or podcasts, you’ll want a faster connection at 5 Mbps or higher. This means the most basic plan with the minimum speed of 25 Mbps from all Internet service providers can already cater to your needs.
Curious about the Internet speed needed to do other activities online?
Check out this speed guide on the FCC website. Looking at FCC’s broadband Internet guide, high-definition video teleconferencing only needs 6 Mbps. Suppose you are working remotely or doing online learning in a household of two. In that case, the ideal Internet speed you’ll need for remote working is around 17 Mbps per person, which also allows connecting other devices such as streamlining online TV or other media at the same time.
Why is my Internet so slow?
There are many reasons why a website might be slow-loading or an online game is glitching while you play. Most of the time, you’ll notice the slow speed and bad connectivity right away.
Many things may influence your Internet speed. Besides non-controllable factors like weather, other factors like the equipment you use to connect to the Internet, your devices, the type of online activities, and the number of connected users can all cause your slow speed.
In the next blog post, we will share the free tools to test your speed and how you can improve your Internet speed.
With Green Light Wireless, you’ll enjoy reliable, high-speed Internet services from a locally-owned and operated company. Check out our Internet service comparison chart to learn how Green Light Wireless is different from other big Internet companies.