What internet speed do I actually need?

Tuesday, 26 July, 2016

Internet speed is certainly important – and the speeds that some of the providers can offer now are a real selling point for many of them. Superfast fibre-optic broadband allows users to reach up to 200Mbps, an astonishing wireless speed – but do you really need your internet to be this fast?

Having superfast internet obviously helps in high-traffic environments, where it’s likely there are many users logging in and out, perhaps streaming TV, playing games online, conducting conference calls or simply browsing the web. But what if you’re less of a power user? What internet speed do you really need? Let’s take a look:


Example 1: A professional couple living in a flat together

This professional couple work at the office during the day, so their internet isn’t used around-the-clock – but this does mean they mostly access the internet at ‘peak times’, during the evening. When they return home from work, they stream television and iPlayer, but they’re not too bothered if they can’t stream in HD. They both have smartphones and tablets which they use fairly heavily when they’re at home.

Speed verdict: 8Mbps

Why?: This couple aren’t heavy users, but they do like to stream TV, and an 8Mpbs speed will ensure they don’t experience buffering.


Example 2: A family of six (two parents, four children aged between 5 – 16)

This family has a stay-at-home mum who spends some time online during the day tending to her small online business. The father likes to check his emails and download movies when he uses the internet. The eldest child likes to play online games on a gaming console, which takes up a lot of the bandwidth. The younger children also need internet access to do their homework, use educational apps and watch YouTube videos.

Speed verdict: 16Mpbs

Why?: This family would benefit from faster broadband. With so many users logging onto different devices, and with some demanding activities like downloading movies and playing games online, the household would be better served with a slightly faster option.


Example 3: A shared house with five residents, all working professionals

Two of the five residents in this house work from home, and often conduct conference calls and use the internet simultaneously. The other three residents work in external offices, but they like to download films, play games, upload files to the web, shop online and watch catch-up TV services.

Speed verdict: Superfast (38Mpbs)

Why?: This household would certainly be better suited to a superfast broadband package. With all members of the house classed as ‘power users’, and a vast range of devices that connect to the broadband, this household needs superfast speeds to cater to its needs.