If you are searching for an internet connection for your home, speed is the next most significant consideration after cost. With the emergence of instant internet connections, it can be frustrating having to deal with slow speeds.
You can imagine not being able to stream your favourite movie or hold conference calls, or download files you need for your next presentation.
But how do you know the perfect internet connection speed for you?
Will a 1,000 Mbps speed offer you the download speeds you require for your home or office? Is 100 Mbps slow connection?
Which connection speed is fast, and which one is slow?
How to Measure Internet Speed?
How do you measure the speed of the internet you need for your ideal use?
You determine speeds in terms of how much data connection is available for download (download speeds) and the data available for upload (upload speeds).
In both download and upload speeds, the speed is shown in terms of bits per second (BPS). Internet connections transfer thousands of bits per second. The prefixes K, M, and G are used to show the connection speed.
When looking for the best connection speed for residential or office use, you will most likely come across Mbps more than Gbps or gigabit. Mbps connection speeds are more suited for the various uses in our homes or offices.
So, do you need more download speeds or upload speeds?
If you want an internet connection for your household, then fast download speeds will be more ideal than upload speeds. Fast download speed is essential for home use as it helps in various activities such as downloading music, streaming movies and TV shows, and surfing social media.
On the other hand, fast upload speeds are essential for activities such as uploading large files to a server or cloud. It is essential for video conferencing.
Internet speeds within the Kbps range are considered slow speeds, while the ones in the Gbps range are ultra-fast internet speeds.
Broadband Internet Connection
You can consider the broadband connection as the national speed limit.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a broadband connection consists of a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and an upload speed of 3 Mbps. Therefore, you can use the broadband connection as the baseline for considering the slow speed and what you can consider fast speeds.
Internet connection faster than the broadband connection is considered fast speeds while connections lower than broadband are slow.
Note, several factors affect your internet speeds. For instance, using your internet for demanding activities such as streaming and downloading 4K videos and having many devices connected to use the internet can also slow down the speed.
Sometimes, it can be an issue from your internet service providers - check out the top ISPS - using outdated firmware, having the router in the wrong position, wall, obstructions, etc. Talking about routers, take a peak at our review of the best modem and router combo.
A good speed should be at or above 25 Mbps. Such speeds can support activities such as web browsing, online gaming, HD streaming, downloading music, etc.
If you want to have your connection support multiple devices and users, it will be best to go for faster speeds at 100 Mbps and above. Also, this post will help you find the best Wi-Fi extender if you need one.
What is the Fastest Internet Speeds?
Fast internet speeds are considered to be at 100 Mbps and above. Such speeds can support multiple devices and users without service interruptions.
The most common internet speed tiers include:
- 100 Mbps
- 200 Mbps
- 250 Mbps
- 300 Mbps
- 400 Mbps
- 500 Mbps
- 1,000 Mbps
- 2,000 Mbps
Fiber Internet services and cable internet are some of the best options for fast speeds. The fiber-optic option also offers better speed consistency, and it is less vulnerable to slow speeds during peak hours.
Popular Fastest Internet Providers
Some of the most popular fiber-optic and cable internet providers include AT&T, Verizon Fios, Frontier FiberOptic, CenturyLink, Cox, Suddenlink, Xfinity, and Windstream. We give you a Spectrum internet provider review here and also it's back-to-back comparison with AT&T.
The ISP offers internet speeds of up to 940-1k Mbps, and Xfinity is the only internet provider download speed of 2,000 Mbps.
You can check the internet providers around your area that offer the most affordable packages and the best speeds.
Additionally, connections with upload speeds at 10 Mbps or higher are fast speeds for upload as they can handle upload needs for an average user.
For instance, you can make an HD video call on Skype with 1.2 Mbps of internet speed.
If you wish to upload a large file document of about 700 MB, it'll take about 10 minutes if you have a 10 Mbps upload connection.
What Is Slow Internet?
Any download speed below 25 Mbps is too slow to be considered a broadband connection.
With such low speeds, you can experience buffering when you are streaming your favourite TV show. You can also have challenges connecting many devices and other connectivity challenges.
If you are using a Wi-Fi connection, streaming in HD, and connecting other multiple devices, some of the speeds you'd consider slow include:
- 1 Mbps and below
- 3 Mbps
- 5 Mbps
- 10 Mbps
- 15 Mbps
- 18 Mbps
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends connection speeds of less than 25 Mbps for various online activities, including streaming HD and SD videos, downloading music, and gaming online.
The recommendations don't put into account various factors that affect connection speeds, and they are also not for multiple connections.
What Type of Connections Are Likely to be Slower?
Dial-up internet connection only offers up to 56 Kbps speed regardless of the online activity you are carrying out. Such internet won't help in much as you will have significant challenges uploading a webpage, and it will not support Wi-Fi, online gaming, or streaming. The connection is only enough for checking emails.
Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL)
The DSL is the most common type of internet service with speeds less than 25 Mbps.
Some cable services offer slow speeds as an affordable option, but you can also get higher speed options at a higher monthly cost.
Fixed wireless is famous for offering internet solutions in rural areas. This type of connection uses broadcast towers to receive and transmit signals.
Its speed can vary between 3-100Mbps, depending on the service providers and your location. However, its internet speeds are mostly on the lower side.
Satellite internet technology is mainly used in rural areas to offer internet solutions. Although the technology is slow, it has changed over time due to technological advancements to offer higher speeds. It can also offer speeds of 25 Mbps and more. Online activities become more challenging with issues of lag and latency.
Are you confused about whether your internet is slow or fast?
Taking speed tests will help you know whether you have the necessary internet speeds. If the test results in a test speed are less than the 25 Mbps threshold, you may be having a slow internet speeds issue.
If the issue is with your provider, you can get other internet providers in your area with faster speed packages. You can also opt for a faster internet plan from your current provider.
Are you still wondering why you need faster speeds?
Increasing the speed of your internet can have a significant difference in performance. It will affect how long it will take you to download or upload files.
Note, files such as pictures, movies, and songs come in different sizes. For instance, a movie can range from 1-7 GBs (gigabit) in size depending on its size and quality.
If you want to download a 4 GB file, it will take you about 34 seconds at 1,000 Mbps, 1 minute 25 seconds at 400 Mbps, 5 minutes 43 seconds at 100 Mbps, etc.
If you want to upload a 500 MB clip, it will take you 23 minutes 18 seconds at 3 Mbps, 6 minutes 59 seconds at 10 Mbps, 2 minutes 19 seconds at 30 Mbps, etc.
The download & upload times are estimates that can vary depending on various factors such as the number of devices in use, the locations of your router, updated software, and hardware, bandwidth, etc.
What's Fast, What's Slow, and What's a Good Internet Speed?
If you are looking for an internet connection for your home or office, you should consider your most ideal speed. Your choice of speed should allow you to upload and download files without buffering.
A good speed of the internet is at 25 Mbps or above. It enables you to carry out various online activities such as downloading music, streaming, web browsing, etc.
Anything below the national internet speed limit is considered slow speed. Some can be so low only to support the opening and sending of emails. However, some can allow streaming some videos provided there are no multiple users or devices involved.
The high-speed internet and considered the fastest is in the 100+ range. They allow you to stream HD and 4K videos, download large files fast, etc. You can check with your provider for the availability of fast internet packages.