Do you remember dial up? The funny noise as you dialled in! The page taking 20 seconds to load and the inevitable shout of ‘who’s using the internet?’ as someone else in the house tried to use the phone.
Thankfully broadband has put all that behind us! Then things got even better with the roll out of fibre to the cabinet... super fast broadband was born, but there was still more to come.
Virgin started running coaxial cable to the home, and are now offering eye watering speeds of up to 350Mbps. Then there's Fibre to the home, which at the moment is pretty rare, but it's not just BT Openreach laying the cable there are numerous private and local initiatives gathering momentum. These superfast data highways have the potential to provide Gigabit speeds although, currently the top speed offered to domestic customers is 900Mbps.
All of this sounds fantastic, but is it like having a car capable of 200mph in a country where the speed limit is 70mph? Is there any requirement for such speeds? Or is it all just for show?
Below there’s a table with speed requirements of many of the common uses of the internet . By adding them up you can work out what what speed you'll actually need. We've even included a calculator to help you out!
From the table above we can see if you are streaming a 4k film in one room, gaming in another and browsing in another, you would be looking at a minimum speed of 46Mbps but ideally 51Mbps would be better. It's not a perfect science but you won't go far wrong with those figures.
It is worth bearing in mind that the speeds advertised are the maximum speed you’ll see, but nevertheless you shouldn’t be a million miles away and most providers offer a guaranteed minimum speed. You can test your connection speed right now with our speed test below. For best results carry out three tests and take an average, and ensure you aren’t streaming at the time. If you’re ever feel you are being short changed by your internet service provider (ISP) then give them a call, you may find that it prompts them to allocate you some more speed. Alternatively switch providers, it's a competitive market and there are always great deals to be found. Comparison sites such as Comparethemarket, USwitch or GoCompare will help you find the best prices, or you might even be able to get some cash back through Quidco or TopCashback.
You should also be aware that streaming can be demanding on your Wi-Fi router, so if you are seeing issues it may not necessarily be down to your internet speed. If you are finding your Wi-Fi is being overwhelmed it would be an idea to connect at least one of your devices via Ethernet, ether directly or by Powerline (check out our article on Powerline and our article on improving your Wi-Fi). Alternatively you could upgrade your router. If you’re stuck why not give Home Network Solutions Berkshire a call and we can explore the best options for you contact us.
I hope you have found this blog useful, if you have any questions please comment below. If you like this post please share and like. You can find us on Facebook and on Twitter.