Global April 8, 2019 Last updated March 29th, 2019 2,441 Reads share

How to Decide What Internet Speed You Need

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Do the different types of internet connections confuse you? Do you find it hard to figure out the right internet speed that will suit you and your connected family? If yes, you are in the right place. You would read and hear a lot of talk on the internet speed and faster networks here and there. Generally, most of the homeowners consume the bandwidth in online activities like downloading and streaming entertainment content. Mostly it’s about movies, music videos, online gaming, and social media browsing. We still have some great options and ISPs such as AT&T Service. But in the near future, you can expect huge changes in the perspective of internet speed. Innovative technologies like Vectoring, DSL Bond, and Fiber to the Home are going to give you faster connections. You will be left to choose the internet speed that you deem enough for yourself only.

While we are on the topic of the right internet speed for a connected household, let’s identify all the factors involved. And before we dive into further details, let’s first discuss the actual meaning of internet speed.

A Word about the Internet Speed

For the uninitiated, the internet speed is determined by how fast data packets are transmitted from the World Wide Web to your connected device. The internet speed is measured in units of Megabits or Mbps per second. Different providers offer different speeds. Some may provide mind-blowing download speed and abysmal upload speed. Understand the difference:

Upload Speeds

It refers to the speed of sending data by your connected device to the internet.

Download Speeds

It refers to the rate or speed at which your connected device can download or stream data from the internet.

If you take a closer look, you will know that most of the ISPs set up their bandwidth in a way that the downloading speeds are much higher than the uploading speeds. We figured this out while we were scrutinizing AT&T Fiber availability map. It is true for many popular internet service providers. So, if you are one of those people who are gaming enthusiasts or those who live their life on the cloud, you need to find symmetrical bandwidth for yourself. And by that, we mean evenly balanced upload and download speeds.

Important Factors to Consider While Choosing Your Internet Speed


Following are some of the important factors to consider when it’s about choosing the right internet speed for you and your connected family. Tag along!

Number of Internet Users 

One of the essential considering factors is the number of internet users via different devices at a time. You need to figure this out in order to know the bandwidth speeds suitable for the peak usage hours. Once you figure this out, you will be able to determine the maximum bandwidth speeds that you require. And when you make the right decision, you will be able to ensure lesser latency or lag issues.

Types of Online Activities 

Do you know that certain online activities eat up more bandwidth than others do? One major instance is video streaming in HD quality. It consumes your bandwidth more than any other online activity. Using a speed tool can help you figure out which online activities require additional bandwidth. If you have many users at home who are streaming videos at the same time on different devices, you definitely need a higher download speed.

Patterns of Internet Use 

You essentially need to know the patterns of internet use of every family member. Without knowing this, you cannot choose the right speed. Figure out the interests of every internet user in your house. If you have kids who’re gaming online, streaming Netflix, and browsing on social media, a granny who’s into video calling, and yourself who’s into watching sports in HD, then you need to reconsider your internet speed.

It is going to be a little complex to figure out the exact number of Mbps consumed during all these activities happening simultaneously. Again, a speed tool can help you here. According to a survey, around 90% of internet users multitask while they watch TV or stream a movie. Therefore, you need to determine the right speed to support all these online activities.

Type and Number of Devices 

Modern households are flooded with a myriad of fancy devices of all shapes and sizes. Most of the appliances are also smart appliances. And that means that they use the internet. It would be a good practice if you count the number of internet-using devices in your home. Some categories are as follows:


  • TVs: LCD, LED, HD, and others
  • DVRs: TiVo, Genie Hopper, Genie, and so on
  • Gaming Consoles: PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Wii U, and others
  • Streaming Devices: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.
  • Smart Appliances: Smart Refrigerator, Nest, and more

A Little Insight into the Bandwidth Consumed by Popular Online Activities

Video Streaming (YouTube and others) consume Mbps according to the video quality. Following is the estimated required speed:

  • Ultra HD/ 4K: 25 Mbps
  • HD (1080p): 5 Mbps
  • Standard: 3 Mbps
  • Low-definition: 1.5 Mbps

For downloading big files on cloud sharing forums and torrents:

  • Slow download: 5 Mbps
  • Fast download: 50 Mbps

For Video Calls such as Cisco, Skype, Webinars, and JoinMe, you need:

  • Standard Quality: .5 Mbps
  • HD Quality: 3Mbps

Hope this guide would help you select the right speed for yourself. Make sure you use a speed tool. And then get in touch with ATT Customer Support or whichever ISP you want to subscribe to for the right speed and package.



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Venessa Cade

Venessa Cade

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