What type of internet connection is needed for online media and entertainment is a question we find ourselves being asked often.
As many of us have become accustomed to playing this arena by ear, it’s perhaps no surprise that we can find ourselves being left behind in technology’s unstoppable march forward. With that in mind, we want to cover some of the typical speeds of internet connection that users can find, and what these speeds can do.
Before we Start
If you’re looking at getting new internet or upgrading an older system, there are a couple of things which need to be understood first. Primarily, you need to understand that upload and download speed are two different things of vastly different levels of importance.
In general, most of your time on the internet will be spent having data sent to you (downloading), so this is the speed you want to focus on. Upload speed will be a fraction of download speed with most plans, and unless you intend on sending enormous video or data files measuring in the range of gigabytes a month, this should be fine.
Base Speeds – DSL, Cable, and 4G
The standard for most internet packages today is based around DSL and cable in physically locked locations and 4G on mobile. Generally, these forms of the internet will fall in the download speed range of 12-25 Mbps. Note that like all internet connections, real speeds can change based on time and day and overall network usage, so higher package speeds can afford more leeway.
Base speeds like these will work fine for practically all typical uses. On the lower end of the data use spectrum, you’ll likely experience no issues with streaming audio. This includes systems like our own online service Uckfield FM, online radio station to music apps like Spotify and even YouTube music videos. For video, this should allow you to stream video of up to 1080p without issue. Even running at 60 frames per second, twice the regular standard, this should only take up around 7Mbps on services like Netflix.
In terms of interactive entertainment, these speeds are not going to make larger game streaming like that of Stadia possible. On the other hand, lower-requirement instant online games like online casinos will run just fine. Even if your connection is undergoing a slower period, every step of play here from finding a website to registration, collecting bonuses, and playing the games themselves should operate without issue.
Fibre Speeds and 5G
The new highest speeds from the internet come from fibre land connections and 5G on mobile. While far outstripping older connections, it should also be noted that these might not be useful at all for many people. If your uses are those listed above for one person or a couple of people, for example, then fibre can probably be safely ignored for now.
On the other hand, if you have a lot of people connected to a network, or are the type who wants to stream 4K video or video games, then 5G or fibre are a practical necessity. For example, at 4K, streaming video at 60 frames a second takes at least 16Mbps, even in the best possible circumstances. Similarly, if you wish to transfer large data files, the faster upload speeds of fibre and 5G can be key. Just be sure to measure your data usage or go with unlimited data plans.
For most users, the current standard of DSL and cable is all that you’ll need. From watching videos to browsing the internet, these are usually up to the task. Only if you’re looking to share the internet between many users, or if you’re expecting a huge rise in data costs, should you have to consider taking a further step. Finally, also remember to check digital plans regularly, as ISPs often don’t inform their users of price drops or better deals.