Back in 2012, the average webpage size was 803 KB. Now, it is nearly three times that size. This means that your computer needs to load more data and information every time you view something online than it ever did in the past. To do this, you need good internet speeds.
However, what is a good internet speed? What do you need to ensure that your computer and your phone’s performance is optimal? This article will go over this topic in an attempt to answer both these questions and a few additional ones.
What Is a Good Internet Speed?
To understand what makes a good internet speed good, you need to understand a few things about internet speeds. Then, you can understand what makes these speeds good and what makes them bad.
Download and Upload Speeds
First, you should know that internet speeds are divided into two categories: download speeds and upload speeds. These have a different impact on how your devices respond to the internet.
Download speeds are essential when your computer is loading things. Anything from an email, to a website, to a full YouTube video will require your computer to download information. In all of these cases, your computer is taking in information from online and bringing it to you.
Upload speeds are essential when your computer is asking for things. Typically, this involves small activities that don’t require fast speeds, like when you send a search on Google or click on a link. However, upload speeds can potentially impact much larger and more intense activities as well, like uploading a file or participating in a video call.
This split generally means that your computer spends more time downloading data and information than uploading. Because of this, you generally need a better download speed than upload speed.
Good Internet Speed
Overall, an internet connection with good speeds will feature downloads of around 100 Mbps and uploads of around 10 Mbps. With this type of connection, you can do most activities you would normally do online. This ranges from viewing websites to watching videos to online gaming. You should be able to do all of this without much interference.
However, this is a general recommendation. Some people or households will require faster speeds, while others can get by with lower speeds.
Is Your Internet Speed Good?
You can determine if your internet speed is good or not by putting it to the test. Start out by going to a website that allows you to test your computer’s download and upload speeds. There are plenty of these online speed tests available.
The test itself will give you all the data you need. If your speeds fall short of the mark, then you are dealing with a slower connection.
What Is a Fast Internet Connection?
While you can do plenty with a decent internet connection, you can do more with a fast connection. This is particularly true if you do a lot of intense activities online, like streaming high-quality video.
People typically consider a connection to be fast if it is above 100 Mbps. Think of 100 Mbps as a baseline, as it is what many internet plans offer as the fastest speed on their basic plans. A connection speed above this speed is then faster than the average connection.
However, you can push far beyond this number. A gigabit internet connection will offer speeds up to 1 Gbps, which is equivalent to 1,000 Mbps. Some companies even offer speeds beyond this, with multiple Gbps being possibilities.
Do You Need Gigabit Internet?
Gigabit internet is beyond what most people need for their everyday activities. However, it is still helpful in many situations and can even be almost necessary for some.
Gigabit internet is extremely helpful if you are in a household with many people who use the internet simultaneously. In these cases, your internet connection will get bogged down by the amount of downloading and uploading taking place at once.
This situation is actually more common than you think and may not even require that many people. If you live in a household of only four people, there may be tons of devices connected to the internet at once. One person may be streaming an online game, which requires a lot of downloading and uploading, while another is watching Netflix while video calling someone on their phone, which also uses plenty of downloading and uploading. Meanwhile, the other two people may be watching a different streaming service while simply browsing on their phones. While this happens, numerous smart devices and other internet-connected technologies may be accessing the home’s Wi-Fi. Together, this puts a massive strain on the internet connection and may make a gigabit internet service worthwhile.
Gigabit internet is also helpful if you heavily use intense internet activities. Watching high-definition movies, like the 4K option on some streaming services, will put pressure on your system on its own. However, a faster internet connection will also be helpful if you routinely upload and download videos. In this case, the faster connection will allow you to complete your uploads and downloads quicker, which leaves you with more time overall.
Do You Need Faster Than Gigabit Internet?
While there are some situations where internet speeds above a gigabit would be helpful, these situations are extremely rare. In general, you absolutely do not need a connection faster than a gigabit connection.
This is simply because of the state of the internet right now. File sizes aren’t large enough to necessitate speeds of this magnitude. The most intense internet most people do is watch high-quality video, and a gigabit connection can handle 4K video just fine.
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Fixing Slow Internet
While it is obviously preferable to have lightning-fast internet speeds, slow speeds are a fact of life. Even on fast connections, the internet can slow down dramatically. This can happen due to a number of different situations.
Sometimes, the problem is out of your hands and cannot be fixed. However, in many cases, you can speed up a slow connection by changing a few things around. This list will provide you with a few things to do if you want to try fixing your slow internet connection.
When it comes to just about anything relating to computers, shutting things down and turning them back on achieves some remarkable results. Though this sounds too simple and too good to be true, it works surprisingly well.
To address a problem with the internet, restart everything involved in the process. Specifically, restart the modem and router, as these are actually providing you with the internet. If that doesn’t work, try resetting whatever devices you have problems with. If you are having problems with one device in particular, check to see if the same problems exist on another device. If they don’t, it may be an issue with the first device.
In any case, it is essential to address each step in the process. Working on each device will allow you to see if any one is behaving badly.
Improve the Connection
Wireless internet degrades the further you are from the signal. If you are experiencing slow speeds, you may simply be too far from your router.
You can fix this by simply moving closer to your router. Or, you can move your router closer to you. In addition, try to remove as many obstacles that separate you from your router as possible. If the problem persists, you may want to consider using a Wi-Fi extender or setting up a mesh system.
Improve Your Equipment
In some cases, the problem may simply be that your router just isn’t up to the task. If your router can’t handle what you need, it will affect every connected device.
To fix this issue, you will need to get a new router. Try to opt for a model that will specifically suit your needs. Ones that are certified Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) are better choices.
Improve Your Internet Service
Sometimes, the problem goes all the way back to the source. If your internet provider isn’t providing your house with high speeds, then nothing you do on your end is going to make a difference.
Luckily, many ISPs recognize this fact. To address the problem, most offer you the opportunity to increase the level of service they provide. This means you can upgrade things like internet speed.
If this isn’t an option or if your speed still isn’t good enough, then you will need to switch providers. When you do, look for one that provides higher speeds than your current provider. Otherwise, you will go through all the hassle of switching, only to find yourself in the same situation.
The only problem with this is that these upgrades typically come with increased costs. However, some providers do offer affordable high-speed internet plans. You’ll have to weigh if the cost of higher internet speeds is worth it. The answer to this question will vary based on your specific needs and how bad the connection actually is.
While any of these problems could explain the situation with your internet, there are other factors at play as well.
The biggest is the number of people accessing your connection. You may be getting good speed from your provider, but if too many people are using the internet, it will slow those speeds down. In this case, you may need a faster connection than you would initially think.
Another problem could come from the number of smart devices you are currently using. A smart assistant, like Alexa, doesn’t use that much data in passive mode and generally only uses a lot of data if it is actively streaming something. However, a security camera set to upload a video stream constantly will put a near-constant strain on your internet.
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Do You Need To Switch Internet Plans to Improve Speeds?
Before you run out and try to switch your internet plan to get higher speeds, you should verify a few things first. Start by making sure you have determined that the problem is due to the internet your home is getting and not one of the other problems on this list. Make sure to check everything else before resorting to this measure. If you can, plug your computer directly into your modem with an ethernet cable as one final test.
If you have determined that nothing else is the problem, then check the internet speed you are dealing with using an online speed test. This will tell you what upload and download speeds you are currently getting. Write these numbers down or save them in some way.
Once you have done this, check these numbers against the numbers your ISP claims to provide. If they are much lower, then you should contact your ISP. Explain that they aren’t providing you the service they say they are, and tell them they need to fix this issue. They may be able to fix the problem easily or find some way to upgrade your service without you having to do anything differently.
If the numbers are what the ISP says, then you will need to upgrade your connection to make a difference. Compare the different plans that they offer, as many of the plans will offer different speeds. Find one that works for you and go with it.
If your ISP doesn’t offer what you need, then you will need to switch providers. Typically, there are only a handful of providers in a specific area, so you won’t be overwhelmed with options. All you need to do is pick the best choice.
Getting Good Internet Speed
Generally, you are getting good internet speed if your devices are getting download speeds of anywhere around 100 Mbps. If you aren’t getting these speeds, or if you want even faster speeds, you will need to make some changes. This may simply involve changing your internet setup, or it may involve changing your internet provider completely. Ultimately, your quest for good internet speeds depends on what you want and need in your situation.