How to know when to upgrade your internet connection

Camryn Smith

Jun 28, 2023 — 3 min read

Does your Wi-Fi connection drop out frequently? Does your video lag? These may be signs you need to upgrade your internet equipment or get a faster plan.

family sitting in living room on devices like laptops, phones.

Constant video buffering and slow load times can be a nuisance, but are likely due to dead zones in your house, an internet plan that’s too slow or outdated internet equipment.

Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to first ensure your internet equipment is up to date and can handle your internet plan’s speeds. If your router is only equipped to handle Wi-Fi 5, for example, but you have Wi-Fi 6, you’ll still get Wi-Fi 5 speeds. 

If your equipment is up to date and you’re still having connectivity issues, we review several signs that you may need to upgrade your internet:

1. Your videos are buffering

One of the easiest ways to tell if you need to upgrade your internet is if your video is buffering. Video chatting on Zoom, Facetime or Skype and streaming movies and TV require more internet speed than other activities like web browsing, specifically upload speed.

If you’re streaming or video chatting and notice long load times or consistent pausing throughout the video, then you likely need a faster internet plan. Take our speed test to find out what speeds you’re getting and compare that with the speeds you need for video internet activities. 

2. Connection issues with multiple devices

If you have multiple devices connected to your network and are noticing connectivity issues, then your internet plan likely cannot accommodate the number of devices trying to connect to your home network. This can be especially apparent if many people in your household participate in heavy-bandwidth activities like gaming, streaming, learning online or working from home. 

How much speed should I get?

While you may have enough speed for one or two people to connect while doing these activities, you’re going to need much more bandwidth if you have multiple devices. If you have many users consistently using your home network on multiple devices and are experiencing lag, buffering and signal drop-outs, then upgrade to a faster internet plan. 

3. Dead Zones

If your internet connection is fine in one room but dropping in another, you likely have a dead zone in your home. Dead zones are unfortunately common but not unfixable. First, make sure your router is up to date and in a central location within your home. If that doesn’t work, you can usually solve this issue by adding some equipment to your home network instead of upgrading your plan altogether. 

Wi-Fi extenders, boosters and repeaters are great ways to extend your Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. Think of them as mini amplifiers of your existing internet connection. Identify the dead zones in your home, place the Wi-Fi extender/booster/repeater within the area and you’ll improve your internet coverage. 

4. Fiber is available at your location

If fiber internet becomes available at your address, you should take advantage. Fiber internet is the fastest and most reliable internet connection you can get, but it’s not available everywhere. If your address has fiber serviceability, it’s worth exploring. 

Check out top fiber internet providers and find out if fiber is available where you live. 

5. You consistently go over your data limit

Consistently going over your data limit is a sign you need an upgraded plan. Many providers like Xfinity, AT&T and Cox have generous data limits of 1 or 1.25 TB/mo., or you can opt for a plan with unlimited data. 5G home internet providers like T-Mobile and Verizon 5G have no data caps. 

Wrapping up

Slow internet speeds are never fun, but there are easy ways to tell if your internet needs an upgrade. If your video chats or streaming services are always buffering, your connection drops with multiple devices connected or you have dead zones throughout your home, you may want to explore new internet plans or equipment. 

Check your address to find out which internet providers are available at your location. 

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Illustration of a father and daughter in a living room. The father is sitting in an armchair and reading a newspaper, and the daughter is playing with a toy on the floor.
Camryn Smith

Written by:

Camryn Smith

Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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