Many experts consider 50 to 100 Mbps as a good internet speed, but is this enough for your smart-home and business? Because the number of people using the internet in our households or businesses differs, the ideal MBPS speed would also vary between homes or companies.
In general, whether the internet is for business or home use, you’d want it to be able to let you browse social media, stream movies in HD/4k, stream music, play games, video chat, and visit any website. But each of these activities requires a certain internet speed, so what may be “fast MBPS speed” for others may not be enough for you. For example:
- Web browsing, social media and sending emails: Two people doing these activities require somewhere between 5 and 20 Mbps. Add music streaming to their activities and an additional 5 Mbps is needed.
- Streaming music, gaming, streaming HD or 4k videos: If 2 or 3 people who share an internet connection are heavily gaming and streaming content, they require about 25 to 50 MBPS internet speed.
- All activities above + security devices in the background: If your house or business has security cameras, motion detectors, and other security devices connected to the internet, then you use the same connection for your work, web browsing, streaming, gaming and other online activities, you might need 50 to 100 Mbps speed.
- All activities above + security devices + smart devices: For a household or business with 3 or more people who perform a wide range of online tasks, they might need from 100 to 500 Mbps speed if their activities go side-by-side with smart devices such as Google Nest or Alexa, as well as security devices.
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3 Factors to Consider when Choosing an Internet Plan
Finding a good MBPS speed for your house or business depends on other factors.
How many people are expected to use the internet?
If this is for your house, are there school kids studying from home? Is there someone working from home? Is this set up daily or just temporarily?
If this is for your business, how many people will be connecting to the internet? Will they be connected just 8 hours a day or with rotating shifts (12 hours in the morning, 12 hours at night)?
The more people are on your list, the higher speed your internet should have.
When a person connects to the internet via his/her computer but also does video-conferencing through his/her phone, this counts as two devices that require different speeds.
Take note of every device used in a household or your business, then consider each extra device as 1 person.
Background devices that you’ve forgotten, such as that smart kettle that mixes your coffee every morning automatically or the robot vacuum, also eat up some bandwidth.
The activities we discussed above will be the game-changer of your hunt for a good internet plan.
If a household has six people just working from home on a typical website and word processor, even a 10 to 20 Mbps internet will do. However, if this same household of six is participating in professional games, then something WAYYY higher (about 50 Mbps or higher) would be required.
I know this will be the challenging part, but this would provide you with the best internet-use estimate you’ll need.
Estimate Speed Requirements as Realistically as Possible
Now that you’ve listed down the 3 factors above, it’s time to add up the speed required per person and per device.
When counting devices, make sure to go beyond the computer and phone. There are PLENTY of other devices that eat up bandwidth that you might forget. For example:
- TV boxes and streaming devices like Roku, or Apple TV
- Smart home hubs like Amazon Echo
- Smart kitchen appliances like Anova Precision Cooker
- Gaming consoles like Xbox, Switch or PlayStation
….and so much more.
Pick the Plan
Once you’ve computed as close to your internet requirements as possible, it is easier to find an internet plan that can accommodate your needs.
The problem with choosing blindly is that you might think you’ve subscribed to a good deal only to be disappointed that the speed offered can only accommodate 5 people doing basic web activities, instead of 5 people gaming professionally 24/7.
If you have a budget in mind when picking the internet plan for your home or business, this guide should help you understand your internet needs and match them with your expectations. Of course, the number you get from your computation is just a starting guide. If you have no ceiling and can subscribe to the fastest plan, then you’re lucky to choose between Google Fiber and Xfinity (both offering 2,000 Mbps plans). That is if they’re available in your area (you have to consider availability, too!).