How Much Internet Speed Do I Really Need?

Recommended Internet Speeds for Streaming

Depending on what kind of streaming you’ll be doing, the internet speed needed might change. For example, streaming Spotify music will require less speed than streaming videos or shows. In general, to stream most videos in standard definition, you’ll need download speeds of at least 3 MBPS. You need at least 25 MBPS for 4K streaming video on your computer or Ultra HD-enabled devices.

For Netflix, the minimum internet speed recommended for streaming is 3 MBPS, but recommended speeds vary by the quality you want to view.

  • To stream videos in standard definition, at least 1 MBPS is recommended.
  • To stream videos in HD, at least 3 MBPS is recommended.
  • To stream videos in HDR or 4K, at least 15 MBPS is recommended.

In contrast, for the best video quality, Hulu recommends 3 MBPS for on-demand viewing and 8 MBPS for Live TV viewing. For streaming live TV with DIRECTV Stream, you’ll want a minimum internet speed of 2.5 MBPS, however, you may want to consider higher speeds based on your device. 

To stream videos at home in HD, 8.0 MBPS is recommended per device

To stream on a mobile device using data, 150 Kbps to 2.5 MBPS are recommended for standard-definition streaming, and 2.5 to 7.5 MBPS are best for high-definition

YouTube TV recommends a minimum internet speed of 3 MBPS, but advises that how much speed you need may vary by video quality.

  • To stream videos in standard definition, at least 3 MBPS is recommended.
  • To stream video on one device in HD, at least 7 MBPS is recommended.
  • To stream 4K content, at least 25 MBPS is recommended.

Recommended Internet Speeds for Gaming

You need minimum speeds of 4-8 MBPS to game online, but for a consistently good gaming experience, 10-25 MBPS or higher tend to be best. As you search for the best internet for gaming, keep in mind that download speed isn’t the only factor in a good gaming experience.

Speed is important because it’s how quickly your device transfers information from the gaming server. However, ping time and latency also matter.

Nintendo Switch OLED requires a minimum download speed of 3 MBPS and a minimum upload speed of 1 MBPS. PlayStation 5 requires 2 MBPS download and upload speeds. Xbox Series S requires 3 MBPS of download speed and a minimum of 0.5 MBPS upload speed.

Check your latency

Ping time, or latency, is more important for gaming than internet download speeds. A ping time of 20 milliseconds or less is great while 20-100 milliseconds will give you a good gaming experience.

Generally, higher speed plans will have lower latency, as it takes the data less time to travel. The average “measured median latencies ranged from 8 milliseconds to 28 milliseconds.

Ping time can improve based on your download and upload speeds. However, factors such as your local area connection and internet latency affect your ping time more than internet speeds.

But, how does one go about finding out their ping time, and are there ways to improve it that are in your control? 

To determine your ping time, run a simple internet speed test like the one above. In the results, you’ll find download and upload speeds, ping, jitter, and loss. If your ping is higher than optimal, here are some things to do to help lower it:

  • Reduce the number of devices on the network.
  • Make sure there are no auto-updates scheduled during your gaming time.
  • Close all background applications and programs.
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