Internet service providers offer plans at varying speeds. Faster data rates let you do more demanding tasks and run more smoothly when connected to multiple devices.
|Internet Usage||Minimum Speed Per User and Device|
|Web surfing||1.5 Mbps|
|DVD-quality browsing/viewing||3 Mbps|
|1080p-quality browsing/viewing||7 Mbps|
|3D-quality browsing/viewing||12 Mbps|
|4K Ultra HD-quality browsing/viewing||30 Mbps|
These speeds are for devices using the Internet. If you have two devices working at the same time, then you need to add up the speed requirements. For example, if someone is surfing the Internet on their computer (1.5 Mbps) and someone else is streaming a 1080p movie (7 Mbps), then 8.5 Mbps is your recommended speed.
If your connection isn't fast enough, streaming videos can stall due to buffering issues, or your content provider might deliver a lower-quality stream because it senses your connection can't handle a higher-quality one.
|Upload Speed Recommendations|
|Online interactive gaming||2 Mbps|
|Slingbox usage||2 Mbps|
|Remote cloud access||2 Mbps|
Note: If you are looking for the best Internet speeds for online gaming or remote cloud access, you'll need to pay attention to the upload speed within a provider's Internet package.
Online gaming relies on data sent from the customer's location to the host server. Any upload speed that is 2 Mbps or higher should be sufficient. This also applies to Slingbox users and people who access their home content remotely.
|Providers||Connection||Speed Ranges*||Hardware Needed|
|CenturyLink||DSL service over existing phone line||Up to 65 Mbps||Modem|
|Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Bright House||Fiber optic and coax cable||Up to 150 Mbps||Modem|
|HughesNet||Wireless/satellite signal||Up to 40 Mbps||Modem and satellite dish|
DSL Internet is available via local telephone networks and is delivered simultaneously with a wired phone service on the same phone line.
Cable Internet is provided via fiber optic/coax cables that run from a cable provider's headend to your house via modem.
Satellite Internet is provided via satellite technology.
*Actual speed availability varies by provider and may not be available in all areas.