As technology continues to progress at a lightning pace, internet speeds have increased drastically while prices continue to go down. At the same time, with the influx of media streaming services and games that are dozens of gigabytes in size, the demand for high-speed internet access in our media hungry world is forever on the rise.
As a result, many people get caught up in shelling out large amounts of money for the fastest internet they can afford. Being able to download anything in two seconds sounds great, but is it really worth the price? After all, there’s very little point in going all in if you’re not going to utilize it. But at the same time being overly frugal will just result in frustration.
What You’re Using It For
Are you going to be uploading terabytes of 4K footage onto YouTube? Or are you going to browse a few of your favorite blogs every day and maybe send an email or two? The speed you require largely depends on what you plan to do. For perspective, most movie streaming services recommend a bare minimum of 5mbps for smooth streaming, but for streaming in higher qualities you should at least have 10mbps and that’s assuming nobody else is using your connection at the same time.
YouTube isn’t too data hungry depending on what quality you’re happy with. If your computer has a 720p display, you won’t need the download speed capabilities that 1080p video requires as you won’t see the difference. The trick here is to be logical and do a bit of math to figure out just how fast your connection should be for everything to run smoothly.
Other online media such as music streaming, flash games, internet messaging and browsing don’t require anything higher than 5mbps to remain smooth. However, if you can afford something faster, you can always upgrade.
How Often You Use It
If you’re only checking in to your home office for a few minutes per day to answer emails and update your price lists then there wouldn’t be much of a point in getting a fast connection. If you’re a power user who is constantly downloading and uploading data, it would make sense to keep things on the higher end.
If you’re curious as to what your current connection speed is, simply do a broadband speed test to get an accurate figure.
Compensating for Throttling
A common issue with modern ISP’s, especially in the US, is that they often throttle customer’s connections, which essentially means that they slow it down when you use too much. If you’re often watching videos and downloading large files, be sure to get a few mbps extra so that when your connection is slowed down, it’s still usable.
You clearly don’t need a NASA-grade connection to use the internet as an average person. Between 10mbps and 20mbps is sufficient for most. It also depends on how patient you are though. Be sure to consider everyone else in your household and what they require to avoid unexpected bills.
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