Frequently Asked Questions

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is what internet speed do I need? Just remember whenever you shop around for internet access, you generally run across a plethora of different plans, speeds, bundles, boosters, and extra features. While this can be confusing, most companies explain what option you will need based on what you want to do. Unfortunately, they tend to lie.

See, according to one of the mega service providers , if you get 3 Mbps (Megabits per second), you can do basic things like email, share photos, and socially network with buddies. Want to game online? According to them that requires the 6 Mbps connection. You’ll have to shell out for the 12 Mbps connection if you want to watch video clips or email/upload files. And streaming video or downloading movies? That’s obviously going to require a whopping 18 Mbps. Video Conferencing? Better whip out that Max Turbo speed.

Let's look at “Video Streaming”, this applies to:

  • “Watching TV / Video Clips”
  • “Downloading Movies”
  • “Streaming Video”
  • “Video Conferencing”
  • Online Conferencing

Video streaming is a very broad term that can mean watching YouTube videos, Netflix/Hulu, Skyping, etc. The bandwidth that each requires can vary greatly, even within different services themselves. Here’s what Netflix has to say, Netflix will work very well on your average broadband connection, if you can watch Youtube you can watch Netflix, but with much better quality. You will get great DVD quality streaming at bandwidth rates around 2 megabits per second, for a full-fledged HD experience with surround sound you’ll need about 6 megabits of bandwidth. We do offer specific speed settings for those members that may have bandwidth caps on their broadband subscriptions or for some other reason want to manage the bandwidth used by Netflix. You can find details in the “your account” section under “manage video quality.” This is what it comes down to: Default in the US is “best quality” though using our “adaptive streaming” technology we automatically, constantly and transparently optimize the streaming bitrate to your Internet speed. This minimizes loading and buffering times, delivering the best click and watch experience. ~Netflix~

Now lets examine “General Usage” this would apply to:

  • “Emailing”
  • “Emailing / Uploading Files”
  • “Downloading Music”
  • “Downloading Movies”
  • Pretty much anything else you do online.

If you’re not streaming any type of video, your internet speed doesn’t change anything except the time it takes to download something. The quality of whatever you download or upload won’t be affected. As far as general browsing is concerned, your average webpage is around 400 kB (3.12 Mb). This can change depending on how many ads are on the page, how many images, etc. But relatively, it doesn’t change very much. Your bottom barrel 1.5 Mbps would load a webpage in about a second, you’ll notice a difference in speed when you’re downloading files, but it all depends on the size of what you’re downloading. For our example, let’s use The White Album by The Beatles, an episode of South Park, and the movie Lady and the Tramp. The White Album about twice the size of your normal album, and a good quality version is about 200 MB. A South Park episode can be about 400 MB, and Lady and the Tramp will be about 1 GB (3 GB HD). Let’s break down how long it will take to download them.

 Internet Speed

 1.5 Mbps

 3 Mbps

 6 Mbps

 The White Album
 200 MB

 18 min

 9 min

 4.5 min

 South Park
 400 MB

 36 min

 18 min

 9 min

 Lady and The Tramp
 1 GB

 88 min

 44 min

 22 min

 Lady and The Tramp (HD)
 3 GB

 264 min

 132 min

 66 min

As you can see, faster speeds equal faster downloads. But you really can download anything at any speed, and once its downloaded, its downloaded.

Emailing doesn’t take up any real bandwidth, and the only time you’ll notice a difference in speed is when, once again, you’re downloading or uploading something. Since the max attachment size for an email is usually 20 MB, you’ll only have a 45 second download difference between the 3 Mbps and a 24 Mbps connection. So, not too bad.

Other Factors:
There are quite a few factors that affect your overall internet experience besides speed. There’s latency, which is how quickly your computer gets a message from a website and vice versa. Your latency would be much higher on a cellular data connection than it would on a normal home connection, simply because the message has to make more stops between your phone and the webpage. This is very important for online video games, often more so than the speed of the connection.

The actual speed you get can also vary quite a bit. This all depends on who your Internet service provider is, what type of connection you have, and what time of day it is.

In Conclusion
Essentially, the mega internet service providers are counting on your average consumer not being informed, and just put out some chart that’s not only useless, but flat out lies. All the services they have listed will work on any speed they offer, and it really comes down to preference. If you just browse the web, Facebook a bit, and watch Netflix, you’ll get by fine on 1.5 Mbps. If you’re more of a stickler for video and sound quality, you might want to go up to 3 Mbps. And if you download large files frequently, faster is faster. It all comes down to how long you want to wait.
But I guess that’s the real lesson here Large Internet service providers are greedy corporations that will lie to your grandmother to get a few more bucks a month. Shameful!