Category Archives: How many megabytes is needed

How Much Bandwidth do I Need? for My Home Networking

When you’re shopping around for internet service, an internet provider (i.e. AT&T, Comcast) will typically offer many differently-priced service plans depending on how much bandwidth they will provide.  This equates almost directly with connection speed and load times, so it’s important to have enough bandwidth to accommodate your browsing habits.

There are two important metrics in bandwidth allocation (measured in Megabits per second or Mbps): upstream and downstream, denoting the speed of outbound and inbound traffic respectively.  They are useful for different tasks, so let’s address them separately.  All bandwidth suggestions below are for a single user.  Obviously if many users are simultaneously sharing a single connection, requirements will increase accordingly. Continue reading

Table o’ Bandwidth Requirements (Downstream)

Bandwidth (per user) What it’s fast enough for…
< 1 Mbps Email
Instant Messaging
Frustrating Web Browsing
MUDs (those old text adventure games, remember?)
1-2 Mbps Web Browsing
Audio Chat
Streaming Audio (i.e. Pandora)
Online Gaming
3-4 Mbps Video Chat
Streaming Video (YouTube, Netflix, etc.)
High Quality Photos
Peer to Peer File Sharing
Obsessive Facebook Use
5-9 Mbps Streaming HD Video
Porn (see Streaming HD Video)
10-20 Mbps Digital Software Distribution
20-50 Mbps Downloading very large files
Porn Addiction (see Downloading very large files)
50+ Mbps Huge households
Small Countries
Impatient People