‘Tis the season for more devices (and maybe better internet)

Samantha Cossick
Samantha Cossick
Nov 15, 2018

Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the upcoming holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone in your family to get connected with a new device.

Whether it’s a tablet for mom to collect Pinterest recipes, a smart TV for dad to watch the big game, an Xbox One for your son to play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or an iPhone XS for your daughter to keep up with her friends, we’re using—and connecting—more devices than ever. And with more connected devices, there’s a chance you may need a better internet connection.

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Connected devices continue to grow

As more devices become “smart,” everything from your phone to your refrigerator may require an internet connection. According to data collected from NPD Group by Statista, there were an estimated 200 million connected devices in the United States in 2017. That number is expected to grow to 260 million by 2020.

The average internet speed in the U.S. has also continued to grow, jumping from 3.67 Mbps in Q3 of 2007 to 18.75 Mbps in Q1 of 2017, according to Statista. With more devices demanding internet usage, you may ask yourself how much speed you need.

How much internet do you need?

Determining the right internet plan for your family depends on a number of factors, including how you use the internet and the number of connected devices. In general, the Federal Communications Commission recommends internet speeds of 12 to 25 Mbps for families with 3-4 devices with moderate use. More devices than that or higher usage levels and you may want to consider 25+ Mbps.

No. of devicesSuggested internet speeds
1Up to 3 Mbps
2-3Up to 15 Mbps
4-5 Up to 25 Mbps
6-10Up to 100 Mbps
10+Up to 200 Mbps or more

How much internet speed do you need calculator

Should you consider a better internet connection?

If the number of connected devices in your home continues to grow, it may be time to consider a faster or better internet connection. Here are some things to consider:

  • Run a speed test: First, run a speed test to see if you get the speeds you pay for each month. If not, consider making some tweaks to boost your Wi-Fi signal, or call your internet service provider to see if they have any recommendations.
  • Change your connection type: In most cases, cable and DSL connection types work well for moderate use. However, if you have 10+ connected devices, you may want to consider a fiber internet connection, which offers a stronger, smoother connection where fiber is available.
  • Consider your upload speeds: Most of the time, all you need to worry about is having fast download speeds to stream music and TV, download files, etc. However, if the majority of your household works from home or games online, you may want to consider a plan with faster upload speeds.
  • Limit data or drop the data cap: More devices use more data meaning you could find yourself going through your monthly data cap sooner than normal. Consider tracking your data through your provider’s app or online account to limit usage. Alternatively, you could choose to upgrade your plan or switch to a provider without a data cap.
  • Switch up your plan: If you’re nearing the end of your contract, or don’t have a contract, you may want to consider making a plan switch. Many providers offer bundles with faster internet speeds for lower prices. If you can switch, taking advantage of an introductory offer from another provider could help you increase speeds while saving money.

New devices, new questions

As you add more connected devices to your home this holiday season, this may raise some new questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about common devices:

How much bandwidth does streaming use?

Popular streaming providers recommend the following:

  • DIRECTV NOW: 12 Mbps for best quality
  • Hulu: 3 Mbps for Hulu on-demand, 8 Mbps for Hulu with Live TV
  • Netflix: 3-5 Mbps for SD quality, 5 Mbps for HD quality, 25 Mbps for Ultra HD quality
  • Roku: 3 Mbps for SD, 9 Mbps for HD
  • Sling: 3 Mbps for portable devices, 5 Mbps for TV, PC or Mac, 25 Mbps for multiple devices

How much internet does playing Xbox Live use?

The amount of data required to play Xbox Live depends on the type of game you play and how often you play online. On online forums, players have reported games using anywhere from 3 MB to 300 MB per hour. On average though, Xfinity recommends estimating 34 MB per hour of online gaming. So, if you were to play two hours of Xbox Live every day, you’d need about 2 GB of data.

What internet speed do you need for PS4?

As with other gaming consoles, the internet speed you need for PlayStation 4 will depend on the type of games you play online and how often you play. In general, the minimum recommended speeds are 3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. However, if you play multiplayer online video games, you may want to consider speeds up to 10 Mbps or higher.

What internet speed do you need for Fortnite?

Fortnite is the massively popular multiplayer online game that has taken the world by storm, and it has some serious internet speed requirements. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, recommends you use a broadband internet connection as defined by the FCC of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

If you’re still not sure what speed you need for all of your new devices, check out our FAQ on internet speeds to answer some common questions and help you make a decision.