What is a good internet speed?

What is a good internet speed?

Internet speed — sometimes referred to as bandwidth — measures the download speed and upload speed of your internet connection. Essentially, this boils down to how quickly you can send or receive data when connected to your internet network.

Internet speed is one of the key factors you’ll consider when selecting an internet plan for your home. But what is a good internet speed? There isn’t one answer, as this will vary based on your personal needs and your internet service provider. Although connection speed is important to just about everyone in this digital age, some people have a greater need for high-speed internet — those who are into online gaming, those who regularly share or receive large files, and those who download and watch HD videos or stream Netflix regularly.

This article will discuss how your internet speed can impact your online experiences and walk you through the steps to determining the right internet plan and ISP for your needs.

Why internet speed matters

Imagine this. You’re pitching a project to a potential client in a virtual meeting. This is after weeks of research, hard work and preparation. This meeting is the moment you’ve been waiting for and could make or break your relationship with your client. The only problem is that they can’t understand anything you’re saying, as your video continuously cuts out during your presentation. If you had faster internet that was the appropriate speed for video conferencing, you wouldn’t likely be having this problem.

This is just one example of how a slow internet connection could have a detrimental effect on your day-to-day life. It can affect everything from your workflow to streaming movies and TV shows at home with your family. That’s why you need to find an internet provider with the right internet speed for you. Having an internet plan that works best for you means less interruptions to your daily life.

If you’re curious about your current internet speed, check out this internet speed test. Just click “Go” and it will measure both your download and upload speeds, as well as your latency — also referred to as ping. Your latency measures the reaction time of your internet connection.

How is internet speed measured?

The most common measurement of internet speed is in terms of megabits per second, often referred to as Mbps. This measures how quickly files are transferred, whether downloading or uploading them, or how fast a website loads while you’re surfing the internet.

You might occasionally find internet packages with faster speeds measured by gigabit per second. One Gbps is the equivalent of 1,000 megabits per second.

Before wireless internet became widespread, dial-up internet was measured by kilobits per second. One Kbps is 1,000 bits, and it takes 1,000 kilobits to make a megabit. Today, most ISPs offer wireless internet with connection speeds measured in Mbps.

For the most basic internet usage at home — meaning you sometimes browse the web, scroll through social media, or stream music or movies — a minimum speed of about 10 Mbps should do the trick. But if you have multiple people in your home using the internet at the same time, you might consider a plan with a higher Mbps download speed. You might also consider a higher internet speed if you work with larger, higher-quality files regularly. Basically, it comes down to your unique internet needs.

Internet for browsing websites & social media

If you plan on primarily using your internet connection for web browsing, checking your email or using social media, you really only need the most basic internet plan. Look for plans that offer 5 to 10 megabits per second (Mbps). For example, Frontier offers a basic internet service at 9 Mbps, which is plenty if you are a light internet user.

Basic plans are ideal for low bandwidth users, single-person households or those who don’t need video streaming, conferencing or internet gaming capabilities. At the 10 Mbps level, some video streaming and casual gaming are both possible. The higher end of the basic tier also works better if you’ll have more than one user at a time accessing the internet.

What internet speeds are good for different things online?

As you evaluate internet plans for your home, the first thing you need to ask yourself is this: What will you be doing online? Your planned internet activities will dictate the speed that’s best for you.

If you’re using the internet to only check your email and catch up with your friends through social media, then you probably only need a very basic plan. Gamers and internet users interested in video streaming through Hulu and other streaming platforms — and who worry about buffering speed and an interruption to their activities — might opt for a next-level internet package. And if you’re running a business from home, you probably want to opt for the highest-speed internet available. However, remember that as the speed of your internet package increases, so does the pricing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your download speed and your Mbps upload speed measure two completely different things. Your download speed refers to the rate at which you download items and load webpages. Your upload speed, though, is the rate at which you send files. Keep this in mind as you select your internet plan and review both speeds.

Recommended internet speeds for casual surfing

If you’re a casual internet user and won’t need to compete with other users in the home, your needs are going to be less involved than, say, a family with very busy children online. But what do we mean when we talk about basic internet usage?

It means you’re using the internet for common day-to-day activities, like checking your email, web browsing or logging onto social media. You might occasionally stream media, listen to your favorite music and podcasts, or watch a standard-definition movie.

In this modern age, all of these activities are fairly commonplace, making the internet a basic need for most people. Even the most basic internet package is useful in most households, though. For casual surfing, you’ll probably only need 5 to 10 Mbps. Frontier offers internet plans that can be ideal for your casual usage.

Recommended internet speeds for multiple device use

If you have multiple internet users in your home, you’re going to require a faster internet speed. If they will be using multiple devices to work and do school online, participate in video calls through Skype or Zoom, or download files, you’re going to need reliable internet and a fast internet speed.

If this sounds like your household, you’ll need to bump up your internet speed. In this scenario, the best internet speed for you would be at least 20 Mbps to help ensure there are no interruptions to your service and your online activities. This broadband internet is great for homes with multiple individuals using the internet at once.

Recommended internet speeds for gaming and HD streaming

Those who download and use a lot of media — like streaming HD videos or playing online games — will likely want a more high-performance internet plan. To avoid disruptions to your video streaming and online gaming, you’ll need an internet speed of at least 50 Mbps, if not faster.

Frontier has Fiber plans that come with amazing Mbps speeds with no data caps.

0–10 Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Checking email
  •  Browsing websites
  •  Browsing social media
10–50 Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Connecting multiple devices
  •  Streaming videos
  •  Online gaming for one player
50+ Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Streaming videos in HD
  •  Online gaming for multiple users
  •  Video chatting with friends

How much internet speed do you need?

As you set up an internet connection in your home, the first and most important thing you need to do is consider what you’re using the internet for. Your online activities, whether you’re checking email and browsing the web or streaming HD videos, will ultimately determine the internet speed and plan you select.

If you plan to use your internet for basic email and social media browsing, you probably don’t need the fastest internet on the market. However, if you’re a gamer, spend hours watching streaming videos or have multiple internet users in your home, it’s a good idea to go with a faster and more reliable internet plan.

Discover an internet plan with the right speeds for you from Frontier.

Beyond coverage areas, speed plans and the monthly price, there are several other things to consider when choosing the best internet service provider for you.

Data caps & overage charges

Some ISPs may limit the amount of data you can use in a month. These plans may either throttle your service (lowering your internet speeds significantly) or charge you extra if you go beyond a certain amount of data. If you think this might be an issue, look for a plan that offers unlimited data. All Frontier plans offer unlimited data with no overage charges.

Annual commitments

Some ISPs require a contract or an annual commitment. While this might mean lower pricing, it can also prevent you from moving to another provider without paying a termination fee if you end up not liking their service.

Tech support for when you need help

Good technical support can make all the difference when it comes to your internet. Look closely at the customer service availability of any ISP you’re considering and check online reviews to see customer satisfaction ratings, as well. Frontier offers 24/7/365 tech support, which means you can get help at any time, day or night.

Bundle with your home phone to save

Providers also offer the ability to bundle other services, such as your cable TV service and home phone, with your internet at a discount. Look into the bundling options offered by ISPs to see what savings are available in your area.

Discover top internet options from Frontier Communications

No matter what your internet needs are, Frontier has an internet plan that can work for you. With simple, upfront pricing and no data caps or overcharges, we can help bring your internet to the next level. Learn which Frontier internet plans are available in your area and get online today.