What’s a Good Internet Speed?

Are you curious how fast your internet is and what activities it can support? Let's find out if your internet can match your need for speed.
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You probably think your internet speed is fast enough until you’re on a Zoom interview or some other important meeting and then everything stops and a few seconds later the person on the other side says, “Sorry, you’re frozen.”

Internet speed is even more important in this digital age when every member of your family may be using the internet for different purposes. Your kids may be streaming a show, you’re trying to work, and you likely have a handful of connected devices in your home as well.

The internet speed in your home varies based on a variety of factors, including your location, type of internet, and the internet plan of your provider. So, what constitutes a good internet speed?

In this article
What is a good download speed?
What counts as high-speed internet?
What is a good internet speed test result?
What is a good internet speed for gaming?
What is a good internet speed for streaming?
Bottom line

What is a good download speed?

Internet speed is based on several factors including the bandwidth, download speed, and latency.

Bandwidth measures how much data can travel through your network at a given time, whereas latency measures how long it takes for the data to move from one point to another. Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second and latency is measured in milliseconds.

How much bandwidth needed for you varies on how much you use the internet day to day. If multiple people will be using the internet on a daily basis, a 300 Mbps connection or better is recommended.

Recommended download speeds by activity

Are you curious about what speeds are needed for various activities? Check out the minimum speed required for these activities based on findings from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Activities Recommended internet speed
Internet browsing and email 1 Mbps
Streaming HD video 5 to 8 Mbps
HD video teleconferencing 6 Mbps
Online multiplayer gaming 4 Mbps

As you look at different internet bandwidth usages, it is important to remember that you most likely have many devices connected that are using this bandwidth. If you have a 50 Mbps bandwidth, and you’re watching a show in 4K, half of your bandwidth is going toward that streaming.

Popular internet download speeds

Download speed range Supported activities
0–25 Mbps Browsing the Internet, email, social media, watching SD or HD video, online gaming for one device.
25–50 Mbps 4k video streaming, online gaming, and video conferencing for one device.
50–100 Mbps Browsing the Internet, 4K streaming, online gaming and more for a few devices.
100–500 Mbps Bandwidth for 10-plus devices
500–1,000+ Mbps 15-plus devices streaming, video conferencing,

What are Kbps, Mbps, and Gbps?

Measuring internet speeds may seem similar to measuring file size, but in actuality, the measurements are quite different. Internet speeds are measured in bits — kilobits, megabits, and gigabits.

File size is measured in bytes. When looking at the acronyms for internet speed or data storage, if the B is lower case, it is a bit; if it's uppercase, it is a byte.

Internet speed and bandwidth are both measured in bits, and though they are correlated, they are a bit different. Bandwidth indicates the amount of data that can move through your connection at a given time, whereas internet speed shows how quickly that data can move. Higher bandwidth means faster speeds.

Let’s consider bandwidth as a highway. The larger the highway, the more bandwidth. Now, add cars, trucks, and other vehicles to the highway — or email, Netflix, and gaming. Each of these takes up parts of the highway. Now, internet speed is the time in which those vehicles can move through the highway. If you increase bandwidth, more vehicles can move through faster.

What counts as high-speed internet?

The FCC studies internet access around the nation and also defines what is considered “high-speed internet.” The FCC last updated its definition of high-speed internet in 2015 when it increased the definition from a download speed of 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps.

In the post-COVID pandemic world, many think that its definition is insufficient for Americans. In 2021, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that the FCC analyze current standards and if they are sufficient for most small businesses.

Several U.S. senators are also speaking out about the need for updated internet definitions. In a March 2021 letter, senators asked that the definition be updated by the FCC.

“We strongly urge you to update federal broadband program speed requirements to reflect current and anticipated 21st century uses and align the definition of what constitutes high-speed broadband service across federal agencies,” the letter said.

“We must learn from our experience during the pandemic and raise federal standards for new broadband service to require low latency, high reliability, and speeds that meet our expected 21st century needs.”

What can slow down internet speed?

There are many factors that can slow down the internet speeds of your home. For instance, it could just be the distance from the router to your device.

Your router is too far away

To check to see whether router location is an issue for your internet speed, you can move around your house with a Wi-Fi connected device and do an internet speed test in various locations to see how the speed changes.

You need a new router or modem

Your slow internet connection woes could be a problem with the router itself too. If you haven't updated your router in the past three to five years and suddenly Google won't load, it may be time for a new router.

It's also important to have an updated modem to help get the fastest internet available from your internet service provider (ISP). ISPs are always working to build new technology to make their internet service faster and better.

They may release a new modem every few years to keep up with technology. If you’ve had your modem for three to five years, and you feel like browsing the web should be faster, you can contact your ISP to see if it has an updated model.

There are too many devices or people online

Another common problem of slow internet can be the number of devices using the network simultaneously. If there are several devices streaming shows or gaming, it may slow down internet speeds for others in your house.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has also revolutionized the number of devices that use the internet throughout the day. IoT takes physical objects, such as your oven or vacuum, and connects them to the internet for added usability. If you have a smart home with many connected devices, this can also slow your internet speed.

Your computer has a virus or malware

If your computer or device is infected with a virus or malware, you may also notice unsatisfactory internet speeds. The virus may be using your internet in the background and using the bandwidth.

Someone's using your internet to download large files

If you share your internet with roommates, a partner, or kids, you've likely already experienced all the bandwidth getting gobbled up and your internet speeds taking a nosedive. 

This tends to happen when someone on your network is downloading large files. It could also happen if you don't have very fast download speeds and your housemates are streaming videos or gaming.

The type of internet connection

Not all home internet connection types support blazing fast speeds. If you're stuck on older internet technology like DSL, cable, or even dial-up, you may not have enough internet speed to do certain online activities like hop on video calls, play video games, or work from home.

Speaking of connections, if you want to get the most juice out of your internet plan, we recommend using an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi.

You've hit your internet data cap

Some internet providers, like AT&T, Viasat, and Comcast Xfinity, sell internet packages that come with a data cap. If you've used up enough data in the month to hit or exceed that cap, your ISP might throttle, or slow down, your internet speeds.

If you run into this issue often, it might be worth paying for unlimited data or switching to an ISP with an unlimited data cap, like Verizon Fios, Spectrum, or Windstream.

What is a good internet speed test result?

There are easy ways to test your internet speed. If you search for an “Internet Speed Test” on Google, you’ll quickly find one offered by Google, along with many others like Speedtest.net. Your ISP may also have an internet speed test as well.

So why are internet speed tests beneficial? If you feel like your internet is performing below par, you can use an internet speed test to check your suspicions and see how your internet is performing.

You likely pay your ISP for a certain tier of internet speeds, such as “Up to 800 Mbps.” If your speed test results are continually under this tier, you may be able to talk to your ISP and have your service enhanced.

The FCC says a good high-speed internet speed is 25 Mbps for up to two devices. As the devices increase, so does the need for more bandwidth.

What is a good internet speed for gaming?

You don't necessarily need fast internet to game. Some gamers even manage to land skill shots and snipe enemies while using satellite internet.

That's because internet speeds for gaming vary based on several factors such as the type of game you’re playing, if you’re connected to a game that’s playing with other people, and how often the game may need updates or patches.

For games such as Fortnite, where you’re interacting with other players consistently, bandwidth is important, but your internet’s upload speed is also important. Upload speed is the bandwidth to send information from your device through the internet.

For online gaming, your bandwidth and internet speed are important and so is your upload speed.

What is a good internet speed for streaming?

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu are big users of internet bandwidth. How much bandwidth do these services use?

  • Standard Definition: 3-4 Mbps
  • High Definition: 5-8 Mbps
  • 4K: 25 Mbps

These bandwidth estimates are for only one device, so if you have a family of 4 and everyone is watching a show in 4K, you’re using 100 Mbps.



Is 100 Mbps fast enough?

100 Mbps is above the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC's) definition of high speed internet and is fast enough for several users streaming TV shows and more. “Enough” is difficult to determine when it comes to internet bandwidth because it depends on the number of users and the activities taking place.


Is 300 Mbps good for gaming?

Yes, according to the FCC, online multiplayer gaming only requires about 5 Mbps for one device and one gamer. Depending on the game, and other bandwidth usages, 300 Mbps would be good for gaming.


Is 50 Mbps fast enough for Netflix? Is 100 Mbps?

Streaming Netflix uses about 15 Mbps for 4K and 5 Mbps for HD. So 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps speeds would be sufficient for watching Netflix, depending on if that bandwidth is being used for any other activities.

Bottom line

Whether you’re streaming the latest episode of your favorite show or you’re trying to work remotely, your internet speed is important to your day-to-day life.

Your internet’s speed fluctuates based on how many devices are connected and how much information they’re downloading at any given time. It’s also important to remember that your total bandwidth is split between all devices, so four devices all streaming in 4K will need about 100 Mbps to avoid buffering.

If you’re having issues with your internet speeds, you can easily run an internet speed test to ensure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for from your provider.

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Author Details
Andrew Strom Adams is a freelance writer focused on online privacy and digital security. He writes on various topics to help individuals protect themselves on the internet. Andrew has worked in legal marketing, technology, and startups. He has more than 12 years of experience in marketing and communications. He holds an M.B.A. from Westminster College and a B.A. in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University. When he’s not writing, he’s playing with his two kids or watching reality TV.