Deciding on Internet Service Packages

One of the questions we often get asked is what Internet package do I need. There are a few things you need to consider to answer this question. And there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. Here are a few questions to consider as you answer this question.


What will I use it for?

The way you plan to use the Internet in your home is the primary factor to consider. Nobody likes to sit down for an evening of Netflix and getting a buffering screen that just spins and spins. This is an area where you have to plan for the speeds you need and how much patience you have. Some typical speed guidelines are:

  • 1-3 Mbps of download for typical web surfing and email.
  • 1-4 Mbps for video calling and web conferencing. (Download and upload both matters here.)
  • 1-4 Mbps download for SD video streaming.
  • 5-8 Mbps download for HD video streaming.
  • 12-18 Mbps download for 4k streaming.
  • 1-8 Mbps download and at least 2 Mbps upload for gaming. (More on this under latency.)
  • ??? Downloading files is directly related to speed. Typical XBox games are now 50 GB or more. (8 Mbps = 15 hrs, 24 Mbps = 5 hrs)

Latency?

Latency, which is listed as the ping on most speed test sites, is the time it takes to get a response from the Internet to your computer. This is the number one factor that affects online gameplay. You may be willing to wait the 15 hours for the latest XBox game to download, but not being able to interact with speeds during an online game can be irritating. If you click the button to perform an action and the other player beats you to the punch, you probably lagged. Speeds for latency vary based on the type of connection with fiber being the fastest (5-20 ms) and satellite being the slowest with latency sometimes in the 1000-2000 ms range. That’s up to 2 seconds of lag. So if you are a gamer (or someone on your household is) and you play games where Internet latency is an issue, ask questions about expected latency. And don’t forget that this figure gets worse under load. So evening times are usually the worst times for latency.

How Many Devices?

The other question I often ask customers is how many devices are going to be online. Are you using one TV for streaming or will the kids be using SnapChat and videos while you are streaming that movie you want to watch? Also, don’t forget those Facebook videos that everyone loves to post. All of these connections will require Internet bandwidth. A typical household will use 15-20 Mbps for streaming during the evening. This covers the whole family and all of their devices. Sometimes you may use more. But this is pretty typical of a home use scenario.


Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what goes into the answer of what kind of speed do you need. And maybe you have learned a bit about the factors that affect your user experience on the Internet. Feel free to call one of our representatives to discuss how we can help you get the best Internet for Your Local Connection to the World.

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