Man smiling while gaming with good Internet speed

Understanding Internet Speeds: Mbps and More

As more and more people begin working and enjoying their entertainment from the comfort of home, fast, reliable Internet speeds have become less of an occasional convenience and more of a day-to-day necessity. Fast Internet is standard in most areas and easily accessible for many, but every option isn't available worldwide, and many options may not be available where you live. Knowing what's best for you can be tough, and knowing what's considered good can be tougher, so let's look at the current standards and averages to help determine what “good Internet speed” is and what may be good for you.

How Much Internet is Enough?

Before we unpack how much is enough, though, and even more so, what's "good" for most people, let's take a moment to establish an average. As of now, billions of people lack Internet access, and many need better Internet literacy skills to use the Internet effectively. Internet access is not considered a fundamental human right; thus, no required speed must be available to users at home. Additionally, Internet standards vary drastically depending on where you are. Someone who lives in a rural part of the United States, for instance, will have fewer options available regarding speed and provider, making their "choice" sometimes less of an actual one and more just a contract with whoever's available.

In 2015, U.S. regulators defined "high-speed Internet" as any Internet service, be it satellite, DSL, cable, or fiber, offering download speeds of 25 Mbps or more. And while it did not guarantee Americans access to these speeds, it helped set a bar by which the average American household could measure the speeds they were receiving.

Today, the average American enjoys Internet speeds between 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps at home. Of course, outliers differ tremendously, but chances are that most Americans with Internet in the home have speeds within this range at any given time.

And while 25 Mbps is plenty for a single person or family of two's casual Internet usage, current data and entertainment demand more bandwidth than ever. Netflix, for example, recommends a 3–5 Mbps download rate for HD streaming and at least 15 Mbps download speed for 4K content. 25 Mbps is enough to cover this load, but only if all you are doing is watching Netflix. Smart devices often take up bandwidth even if no one is actively using them, and with a growing number of smart devices in the home, you may have less bandwidth available than you realize. If you have a lot of devices and other household members using the Internet regularly, 25 Mbps may not be enough.

What is a Good Internet Speed?

So, what then is enough, and furthermore, what's "good?" Depending on how you use the Internet at home, this answer can vary greatly. 25 Mbps, while not enough for many, may be enough for you if your Internet usage is light. But, if you or someone in your home is an avid gamer, a streamer, or a professional working out of their home office, those bandwidth needs grow.

Today, 100 Mbps or more is generally considered good. Speeds at this rate allow for high-quality television streaming across multiple devices and effective file sharing, conference calls, and other workloads to be met without issue. And while 100 Mbps speeds may only be needed sometimes, the bandwidth buffer lets a family know they can do what they need or want to do without worrying whether the Internet will keep up.

For some, though, this still may not be enough. Depending on your household size or what your daily work requires, your bandwidth needs may be greater than most. Higher speed options are certainly available through options like fiber, but higher speeds mean a higher cost, which may not be worth it in the end. For those looking for a good Internet speed, 100 Mbps is a good place to aim for and should be plenty for most.

Find the High Speed Internet You Need

As modern technology continues to grow and evolve, the Internet speeds necessary to use it effectively have continued to grow alongside it. And while 25 Mbps is, as defined by the United States, "high-speed," it isn't quite enough for most people. To handle modern workloads and entertainment expectations, 100 Mbps has become generally considered an excellent place to start, with higher bandwidth options available as Internet needs grow. For plenty, cable or DSL are sensible Internet options for meeting these requirements, but if your needs are greater and the option is available, fiber-optic Internet is hard to beat.

If you're interested in upgrading your Internet connection or just learning more about our high speed Internet options, contact us today!