This is going to be a bit of (easy) math. But don’t worry—you need to do this only once to know how much internet speed you need.
What you need to do is figure out the number of devices that will potentially be online at the same time, along with the amount of bandwidth required to keep each connection running smoothly.
Here’s a chart to help you figure out how many Mbps each of your internet connections might need. Or you can skip the math and get a personalized internet speed recommendation.
The amount of bandwidth any online activity can use depends on a few factors. Checking social media could mean a brief look on Twitter, or it could be endlessly scrolling through TikTok (which would use more bandwidth).
Likewise, video streaming resolution affects how much internet speed you use—standard definition Netflix has a minimum requirement of only 3 Mbps, but streaming in 4K could easily use up 25 Mbps.
If you have multiple connections going at the same time, you also want to make sure you have enough bandwidth for every connection to run smoothly simultaneously—otherwise your network will slow down when multiple people get online.
For example, if you’d potentially have a smart TV streaming Netflix, a smartphone scrolling through Instagram, and a laptop looking up the best takeout in your area at the same time, 20–30 Mbps would work. That’s 5–25 Mbps for streaming, 3–10 Mbps for Instagram, and 3–5 Mbps for web browsing.
Giving yourself a bit of wiggle room isn’t going to hurt either. In our opinion, it’s better to have a little extra bandwidth than to get stuck with a little less than you regularly need.
Check every internet plan in your area to find the speeds you need.
This helpful video from Xfinity can help you visualize the bandwidth requirements for different tasks like checking your email, streaming, and making video calls.