What is a Good Internet Speed for Streaming Videos, Gaming, or Working from Home?

These days, everyone loves using the internet to stream movies, play online games, or work from home. To have a good experience with any of these activities you need to subscribe to Spectrum Internet or a similar internet service. You’ll want to know how fast your internet speed needs to be. Everyone hates delays and lag times, but what is a good internet speed for enjoying movies and games – or participating in online video chats for work?

If you’ve ever asked about internet speed and gotten confused by words like “Mbps” or “ping time,” read on! We’ll break down just what you need to know about these internet terms and how you can use them to decide what is a good internet speed for your family’s unique needs. 

High Speed Internet Sign

What Does Mbps, Latency, and Upload/Download Speed Mean?

First, let’s find out what technical terms like “Mbps” and “latency” mean. You can then use these terms to decide what internet speed you need for streaming videos, online gaming, or working from home.

  • Mbps: Mbps stands for “Megabits per second” and determines how much bandwidth you have. It helps measure how much data you can transfer every second through your internet connection. The more Mbps you have, the more data you can transfer in the same span of time. This can mean better picture and sound quality for your videos.
  • Latency: Latency is the amount of time (in milliseconds) it takes to send information from one point to another. Low-latency means it takes fewer milliseconds to send information. High-latency means it takes more milliseconds for information to get from one point to another. You want to have low-latency when playing online games to avoid any lags in your game, file uploads, online submission, or other activity.    
  • Ping Time: Ping time is a test for latency. It sends a data packet to a server and back to you. Depending on how long it takes the data packet to travel, you may have high-latency or low-latency.
  • Download Speed: Download speed is how fast your internet connection can transfer data from a server to you. You’ll want fast download speeds when you stream a video, download files, or load a website.
  • Upload Speed: Upload speed is how fast your internet connection can transfer data to a server. You’ll want fast upload speeds when you send emails, participate in live video chats, send files to other people, and play online games.

How Many Mbps Do I Need For Streaming Videos?

Do you love watching movies in high definition? Do most of your TV nights gravitate toward live events? Or do you have a large household with multiple devices for different viewing needs? All of these factors will help determine how many Mbps you need and how fast your internet speed should be for streaming videos.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends families with multiple Internet users get internet speeds of 12-25 Mbps. The FCC also recommends download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. In general, however, families should get slightly faster speeds than the ones recommended by the FCC, Netflix, Skype, or other streaming services. This will increase your odds of enjoying regular video streaming service with crisp clear picture and sound.

High Speed Internet Control Knob

To give you a better idea of what internet speed will work best for you, here are some basic guidelines based on recommendations from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV:

  • To stream videos in standard definition, you’ll want internet speeds of at least 3 Mbps
  • To stream videos in HD on only one device, you’ll want an internet speed at least 5-7 Mbps
  • To stream videos in HD on multiple devices, you’ll want an internet speed of at least 13 Mbps
  • To view live TV events, you’ll want an internet speed of at least 8 Mbps
  • To stream videos in HDR or 4K on your computer or Ultra HD enabled devices, you’ll want an internet speed of at least 25 Mbps
  • To stream Ultra HD videos daily, you may want to look into Internet speeds close to 100 Mbps

What is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?

Online gamers play many types of games. Some gamers love sports games and shooter games that require rapid data response times. Other people prefer online card games, role-playing games, puzzles games, or games of strategy. These preferences will all help decide a good internet speed for gaming.   

As far as Mbps goes, you should aim for a minimum of 4-8 Mbps or 10-25 Mbps to provide good download speeds and ensure a regular good gaming experience. However, low-latency is also very important as it reduces lag time in games. Keep in mind that cable internet or fiber-optic internet provide the best low-latency internet connections for online gaming. By contrast, satellite internet has high-latency since it takes so long for signals to travel from a satellite to your device.

Fiber Optic Internet Cable

To gain the best latency for online gaming, keep the following tips in mind:

  • A ping time of 20-100 milliseconds generally offers a good online gaming experience.
  • If you play first person shooter games, aim for a latency of under 30 milliseconds.
  • Satellite internet has high latency because signals must travel a greater distance. However, online card games, strategy games, puzzle games, or role-playing games still work fine with satellite.
  • Cable internet, fiber-optic internet, and fixed wireless internet provide the best low-latency experience for online gaming.

What Upload and Download Speed Do I Need For Working From Home?

A fast internet speed can determine how efficiently you can work from home. After all, if a typical work day involves participating in Skype video calls, transferring large files, and sending multiple emails, you’ll need good upload and download speeds to stay on top of everything.

Cable Internet Connection

To make sure you have a good internet speed for working from home, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Workers who only need to use email and basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word should be fine with 3-4 Mbps
  • Workers who participate in Skype group video calls should have more than 10 Mbps.
  • Workers who transfer large files should have over 40 Mbps.

How To Use an Internet Speed Calculator to Measure Your Current Internet Speed

To help determine what internet speed you need, it can be helpful to measure your current internet speed by taking an online speed test. These tests calculate the internet speed on a computer connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. They can help determine your ping time as well as your connection’s upload and download speeds. Based on the results, and how satisfied you are with how well you can stream videos, play games, and work from home now, you may want to upgrade your internet speed.

Always remember that it’s usually best to get a slightly faster internet speed than you think you need. This is particularly true if you have multiple household members who need to use the internet for video streaming, online gaming, or work. By giving yourself a little extra Mbps and a lower latency, you’ll ensure a pleasant work and entertainment experience for yourself.

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