If you’re one of the 78% of households in the United States that is streaming entertainment, you are dependent on a fast, reliable Internet connection to make the “flix and chill” experience, well, chill. Unfortunately, over 47% of users find their connectivity lacking, citing troubles with Wi-Fi and mobile data as they struggle to get the Internet speeds they need for streaming activities.
Slow, glitchy Internet doesn’t just affect your movie night festivities, either. It can put a wrench in your online gaming fun, hampers security systems and cameras, and puts a damper on your ability to videoconference. If you work from home even part of the time, a slow business Internet connection means lower productivity—and higher frustration levels. And, if you run a business in an office setting with multiple users, having access to lightning-fast Internet is critical for productivity—and revenue.
But exactly how much speed do you need to meet your streaming requirements and how can you be sure the high-speed Internet service you’re signed up for can deliver? That depends on what you’re doing, but it also depends on the language your Internet provider uses. Read on to see what we mean.
What’s the Right Internet Speed for Your Online Needs?
Getting the right amount of bandwidth both coming and going (downloading and uploading) is critical when you’re streaming, whether it’s movies, music, online games, or videoconferencing and security. Each of these activities requires a specific upload and download speed to function at their finest, and if you are taking advantage of more than one of these in your home or business, you’ll want to be sure your bandwidth can meet the requirements of the heaviest application load. Here’s a look at what you need:
These applications represent some of the most bandwidth-intensive activities, but the amount of bandwidth needed varies depending on the service you’re using, your choice of video quality, and the number of users accessing your system. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Netflix – 3 Mbps download for SD and 5 Mbps download for HD
- Hulu – 3 Mbps download for on-demand content and 8 Mbps download for live TV
- Amazon Prime – 1 Mbps download for SD and 5 Mbps download for HD
- YouTube – 2.5 Mbps download
- HBO Max – 5 Mbps download
- Peacock – 2.5 Mbps download
- Disney Plus – 5 Mbps download
- ESPN Plus – 2 Mbps download
- Sling – 5 Mbps download
A good average speed for 4K video streaming for 2-4 users is 40-100 Mbps.
Fortunately, rocking out to your favorite soundtrack requires much less bandwidth than streaming video. In fact, some music-streaming services allow you to download your music so you can listen offline. In general, these services require the following speeds:
- Spotify – 96 Kbps download
- Apple Music – 256 Kbps download
- Pandora – 150 Kbps download
- Amazon Music – 500 Kbps download
For one to three users, 20-40 Mbps should be enough to stream music adequately.
Playing games on an online server typically requires a relatively small amount of bandwidth but needs both upload and download speeds. You don’t want to be “that guy” that gets his online gaming buddies killed because of slow Internet. Make sure you’re equipped with the following speeds:
- Nintendo Switch – 3 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload
- PS4 – 3 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload
- XBox One – 3 Mbps download, .5 Mbps upload
- Google Stadia – 10 Mbps
You’ll need at least 20-40 Mbps to keep 1-3 users happily gaming.
Home Security Systems & Camera
Wi-Fi-based security systems and cameras constantly use your Internet and need strong download and upload speeds.
- Nest – 150-4,000 Kbps upload per device
- Ring – 2 Mbps upload and download per device
- SimpliSafe – Cameras require 0.75-2 Mbps upload per device
For home security, look for speeds of 40-100 Mbps.
Since you are sending and receiving data when video conferencing, both your upload and download speeds need to be sufficient.
- Zoom – 2 Mbps download and upload
- Skype – 1.5 Mbps download and upload
In addition to upload and download speeds, you should take a close look at your provider’s latency to ensure you’re getting the smooth, end-to-end service you need.
For an office with five or more employees, you’ll want to see speeds of 500-1,000 Mbps. If you have five or fewer employees, you can adjust that lower to 100-500 Mbps.
The Importance of Speed + Latency
In video streaming, you need a stable content stream plus low latency to get the best results. Latency refers to the time between, for example, your camera recording an event and that event being displayed to a viewer. In other words, it’s the time required to transfer data between two nodes. Low latency is a critical component of an optimal streaming experience because it reduces the amount of screen or image freezing, stuttering, and lag time—all of which can negatively affect your video web-conferencing and streaming experience.
The Devil Is in the Details—Reading between the Lines on Promised Streaming Results
Many high-speed Internet providers state that they offer up to a specific Mbps speed. What that really mean is that they offer that speed in the best-case scenario, and it typically refers to download only. When you consider that many lines are already oversubscribed, your actual speed is going to be closer to 60-80% of their stated optimal speed. In addition, with cable Internet, the average latency is about 90 milliseconds (ms), which lags far behind the abilities of hybrid fiber Internet providers like Xiber.
Unlike your typical cable Internet service, we over-provision our network to provide about a 10% cushion over our stated speeds. And we offer symmetrical speeds, meaning both your upload and your download speeds are lightning fast to easily provide optimal service for all your streaming needs—from gaming to movies to web conferencing and more. In fact, our fixed wireless Internet system is fine-tuned to give you the speed you need—even at peak operating times. Getting your Xiber service up and running is easy—call us at 888-709-0681 or contact us through our website.