How much bandwidth do you need?

Bandwidth (internet connection speed) is measured in Mbps or ‘megabits per second’. A bit is a tiny unit of data and so a megabit is one million bits. The higher the number of Mbps you have the speedier your online activity should be.

There are three basic things to consider when figuring out your bandwidth needs; these include:

  1. How do you use the internet?
    • Do you watch videos; like Netfix/Amazon Prime/ Hulu/ Youtube?
    • Do you stream music: Pandora or Spotify?
    • Do you email/Facebook/ surf the web?
  2. How many people use your internet at the same time?
  3. How many different devices are each person using?

Each of these will directly influence how much bandwidth you will need for your internet usage.

Think about bandwidth as your total budget for Internet activity and each different activity has a ‘cost’. Examples of the ‘cost’ for different internet activities include:

  1. Surfing the web where content contains no audio or video costs about 1Mbps. NOTE: Browsing the internet often involves videos and audio which will increase your bandwidth requirements.
  2. Listening to music costs about 2Mbps
  3. Watching online videos costs 7Mbps

Using this information let’s do a little math:
Person A (watches a video + surfs the web) 1 person and 2 devices
(7Mbps + 1Mbps) = 8Mbps
Person B (listens to music + surfs the internet)
(2Mbps + 1Mbps) = 3Mbps

Based on this example your bandwidth requirement is 8Mbps + 3Mbps or a MINIMUM of 11Mbps.

This is a simple example of how bandwidth works. The Math above assumes that surfing the web is very basic without videos/audio; when you add any of these into the equation you require more bandwidth but with this information you should be able to get a better picture of how much bandwidth you really need and make appropriate adjustments in your internet connection.

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