A fast internet connection delivers a wide range of exciting media options to your home computer. Users looking to stream HD movies, access the latest iTunes tracks and play the latest online video games will need a connection with sufficient data speeds for smooth playback and speedy downloads.
The Allconnect® guide to internet speeds will help you determine which internet connection speed you need to maximize your favorite online activities.
Minimum speed for gaming: 4-8 Mbps
Households with current video game consoles or dedicated gaming computers will want to invest in the most robust Internet connections available. The Federal Communications Commission recommends speeds over 4 Mbps for online gaming. Likewise, the FCC advises that a comparable connection will be needed to stream HD video without delays.
Minimum speed for streaming and Netflix: 1.5-3 Mbps
Users looking to make the most of the Internet without choosing the priciest option from their Internet provider should aim for a 1.5 Mbps connection. Download speeds at 1.5 Mbps should be sufficient to handle graphics-intensive websites, video conference applications and video streaming. Streaming service Netflix suggest users upgrade to a 3 Mbps connection to stream standard definition feature-length films.
Minimum speed for browsing: <1 Mbps
The FCC notes that basic online activity like email and web browsing will only require an internet connection as fast as 1 Mbps. However, websites and online applications are becoming increasingly complex and data-intensive, which may require faster speeds.
Consider internet speeds faster than the minimum
Homeowners may want to invest in faster internet than their minimum needs for the sake of convenience and flexibility. Faster connections allow for quicker downloads and seamless multitasking while internet browsing. These capabilities can be critical for homeowners attempting to work from home or students trying to research from their laptops. Also, if multiple users will be using an internet connection, that will need to be taken into account.
Another factor to consider when purchasing an internet connection is the recent gigabit trends among major Internet providers. The rise of fiber-optic internet, which delivers speeds up to 100 times faster than standard high-speed internet connections, has prompted several providers to increase minimum and maximum internet speeds for customers at no extra charge. Homeowners will likely be able to get more Internet for their money as gigabit-speed connections become more common.
Originally published 08/27/14. Last updated 12/06/18.