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How much speed do you need?

This blog was accurate at the date of publication. Some of the information in this blog may no longer be accurate and it is provided for educational and historical purposes only. We recommend that you make your own inquiries before relying on this information.

There is a lot of debate around the benefits of fast broadband – but how much speed do popular internet applications actually require?

Standard Definition video streaming 

The folks at Netflix recommend a 3Mbps connection to stream SD content – although subscribers can often stream with lower speeds.

High Definition video streaming 

Netflix recommends that subscribers have a 5Mbps to access HD content – defined by Netflix as content with 720p resolution.

Ultra High Definition video streaming 

Again, the Netflix guys say that Ultra High Definition – better known as 4KTV – needs a connection of 25Mbps – although mass-scale 4K streaming is not just about last-mile broadband speed.

Skype video calling 

Skype says that for a normal quality two-way video call that 500Kbps download/upload is required. For a HD video-call you will need 1.5Mbps upload/download – with bandwidth requirements increasing further, the more people that join the call.

Cloud Computing

For high-bandwidth applications – such as downloading and uploading video from the cloud –the higher speed available the better and this is where high speed symmetrical broadband services of are very useful. However, even on lower broadband speeds of 12Mbps/1Mbps users can still access cloud services.


Web pages are getting bigger and bigger! Indeed some sources say their average size has boomed from 200KB back in 1998 to around 1,600KB today. That means that getting the ‘click-bang’ web viewing experience requires download speed of at least 3Mbps.

Connected Devices 

The Internet of Things is going to connect a lot of devices to the internet but for the most part these will not require huge speeds as they are transmitting low-bandwidth data. However as more devices within the home get connected the overall bandwidth requirement will increase.

Home Alone vs Party of Five 

The most important thing to note when it comes to the internet is that everyone’s needs are different. The person living by themselves who uses the internet only for light web browsing will only need 3Mbps or so of speed. However a family of five that are all regularly watching several different HD videos simultaneously while uploading their own family videos to the cloud are going to need above 20Mbps at peak usage periods.


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