What is an acceptable download speed? Why does it matter?

Jan 06, 2022 - Views: 360 - this post if you find it interesting!

Download speeds matter a lot to our internet experiences. Without a good internet download speed, it’s so hard for you to engage in and enjoy activities like streaming videos, online gaming, making video calls, and more.

So, what is an acceptable download speed for your internet connection? Is the connection speed that your internet provider is offering good for your needs? Check out this post, and you will get the answers. You will also find out details on what is a good internet speed for different activities. But first, let’s spend a few minutes learning “What do upload and download speeds mean,” “Why do upload and download speeds differ,” and why download speed matters!   

Good internet speed

Good internet speed

What is download speed & why does it matter?

As you probably know, download speed is one of the most important specs used to measure how good an internet connection is. 

What does download speed mean?

Download speed determines how fast your computer (or any other device) can receive data from the internet. (The data can be in the form of audio, text, videos, and more.)

To be more specific, download speeds refer to the speed or the rate at which the data moves from the internet to your device.

Download speeds (and upload speeds) are measured in Megabits per second - Mbps. The higher the Mbps, the faster the speeds, and the better the connection.

Downloading

Downloading

What is download speed vs upload speed & Why does download speed matter?

Though both download and upload speeds measure how fast a connection is, download speed is generally considered more important than upload speed. Why? What does upload and download speed mean?

While download speeds determine how fast your device can receive data from the internet, upload speeds determine how quickly the data can be sent from your device to the internet. That’s about “what is upload and download speed mean” and the difference between them. But why does download speed matter that much? And why do many internet service providers tend to give more priority to download speeds?

Well, this is simply because most average internet users spend much more time downloading than uploading. In actuality, an enormous portion of online activities that average internet users regularly engage in involves downloading data. Things like web browsing, video streaming, gaming, checking email, video chatting, video conferencing, Google searching, listening to music, and more all require downloading data and information.

These are about “what does download and upload speed mean” and “why are upload and download speeds different”! So, what is an acceptable internet download speed? Let's move on to the next part of this writing to find out!

Slow internet speeds

Slow internet speeds

What is an acceptable internet download speed?

Good download speeds are important for your internet experiences, no matter whether you use a wireless connection or wired connection.

But what is a good download speed? What is an acceptable internet speed for downloading? Well, these are hard questions to answer. It seems impossible to say "what is a good download speed" for all users since each individual uses the internet differently. Yep, that's true.

Those who just use the internet for basic things like checking emails, reading news, Google searching, etc do not need a fast internet speed. Speeds of about 5Mbps might be enough to be considered "acceptable."

But for ones who often do activities that are kind of bandwidth-heavy like streaming videos in high definition, playing FPS games, downloading large files, and more, 5Mbps is never enough. The download rates of around 5Mbps are too slow speeds for them. What they need is, of course, a much faster speed than 5Mbps.

Speed test

Speed test

In addition to the types of activities you do online, an acceptable internet download speed is also determined by how many devices use the network. You will need more bandwidth and speed if your connection has multiple connected devices.

To put it briefly, "an acceptable internet download speed" depends on different factors, in which the types of activities and the number of devices using the network matter the most. Upcoming, we'll explore what acceptable download speeds are for different activities. 

Internet speed requirements for gaming, streaming, and more

Gaming, video streaming, music streaming, video chatting, social media, web surfing, and more, each activity has specific upload and download speed requirements. Inadequate speeds or slow internet connections means that your internet experiences will be affected significantly.

How much speed do you need?

How much speed do you need?

For example, when you are streaming a favorite show on Netflix with slow download speeds, high chances are that you will encounter buffering. That's so annoying! Well, it's also so irritating if you make video calls using sluggish internet speeds, which likely result in dropped calls,  frozen video, and poor audio.  

So, what internet download speed connection do you need for gaming, streaming, video calling, web surfing, and more? 

Internet speeds for general web surfing

Web surfing and social media scrolling don’t use much internet bandwidth. They don’t require a fast connection, either.

In general, the speed of 1 Mbps seems enough for this purpose. But it's worth emphasizing that while some websites mainly contain just text, some others have a lot of heavy images, videos, or other multimedia content.

With 1 Mbps internet speed, you can expect some sites to load in some seconds, but for some others, it might take a minute or even more to fully load. Well, no one wants to wait that long. So, according to netspotapp.com, a 10 Mbps internet connection or faster is great for web surfing efficiently without having to wait so long for the sites to finish loading.

Internet service provider

Internet service provider

Internet speeds for gaming

Do all games require high-speed internet? No, not at all. In fact, you don't need super fast download speeds to enjoy your games. For gaming, a high download speed doesn't matter the most. More than that, a good ping rate determines whether you have smooth gaming experiences or not.

A good internet speed for playing online games depends on the types of games and consoles you choose to play. The minimum speed for some games like RPG or MMO games is quite low, while FPS games require much higher download speeds. Following are details on minimum download speed, minimum upload speed, and especially ping rate for different game types and gaming consoles.

Internet speeds for game types

Game type

Min download speed

Min upload speed

Ping rate

Role-playing game (RPG)

2 Mbps

0.5 Mbps

150 ms or less

Real-Time Strategy Games

3 Mbps

1 Mbps

150 ms or less

Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMO) 

3.5 Mbps

0.5 Mbps

150 ms or less

Battle Royale Game

3 Mbps

1 Mbps

Less than 150ms

First Person Shooter (FPS) Game 

30 Mbps

1 Mbps

20 ms or less

Internet speeds for different gaming consoles

Gaming system

Min download speed

Min upload speed

Ping rate

PlayStation 4

2 Mbps

2 Mbps

N/A

Xbox One

3 Mbps

0.5 Mbps

150 ms or less

Nintendo Switch

3 Mbps

1 Mbps

N/A

 

 

Online gaming

Online gaming

Internet speeds for video streaming

Streaming videos mainly involve downloading data. It uses a lot of download bandwidth. That's why streaming is considered one of the most common bandwidth-heavy activities. Without an adequate download internet speed, it seems impossible for us to watch movies and shows enjoyably.

Different streaming services have their own specific internet requirements. The higher the video quality, the faster connection is required. As per minim.com, the recommended download speeds are at least 3-4Mbps for standard definition (SD) video streaming, 5-8Mbps for high definition video streaming (HD quality), and 25Mbps for Ultra HD 4K video streaming. Before streaming, it’s a good idea to run a quick download speed test to find out if your current connection speed is enough. 

Note that these are just the minimum speeds. Following are more details on internet speed requirements for different streaming services. 

Buffering

Buffering

Netflix

To be more specific, to watch Netflix content in SD, HD, and 4K/UHD quality, you’ll need the speeds of at least 3Mbps, 5Mbps, and 25Mbps, respectively.

YouTube TV

For YouTube TV, the minimum speed required is 3Mbps (for SD quality). For HD videos on one device, users will need a connection of at least 7Mbps. For HD videos on multiple devices, speeds of 13Mbps and higher are required. 

Disney Plus

For Disney Plus, 5 Mbps and 25 Mbps are recommended for enjoying videos in HD and 4K quality, respectively. 

Amazon Prime Video

What’s about streaming on Amazon Prime Video? Surprisingly, users will need just 1Mbps to stream videos in SD quality. For HD and UHD quality, speeds of at least 5 Mbps and 15 Mbps are needed, respectively. 

Download vs upload

Download vs upload

Internet speeds for video calling and video conferencing

Video calling and video conferencing involve both download and upload speeds. Below are internet requirements for making video calls on Skype and Zoom that you should know:

For Zoom

The minimum upload and download speeds for one-on-one calling on Zoom are both 600 Kbps, while the recommended speeds are 1.8 Mbps for both directions (downloading and uploading).

For group calling on Zoom, the required speeds are higher: the minimum requirements are 800 Kbps for upload and 1Mbps for download, and the recommended speeds are 3 Mbps and 2 Mbps, respectively.

For Skype

The minimum internet speeds for making a simple video call on Skype are 128 Kbps / 128 Mbps, but the platform recommends speeds of 300 Kbps for both upload and download. For calls with more participants and/or in higher video quality, the connection must be faster.

To make a group video call with more than 7 participants, you will need at least 4 Mbps of download speed and 128 Kbps for upload speed. But you are sure to have better quality with 8 Mbps and 512 Kbps download and upload speeds, according to Skype. 

Skype

Skype

Wrapping up

Now you know “what are download and upload speeds” and what makes download speed so important that most internet providers tend to give lots of priority to it. However, when it comes to what is a good or acceptable download speed for all internet users, it's so hard to tell since each individual uses the internet differently. Above, MySpeed also listed internet requirements for common activities; check them out to see how fast your connection should be when gaming, streaming, etc. And that's all for this post, hope you enjoyed it.

Cre:

minim.com/blog/what-is-a-good-download-and-upload-speed-for-home-internet

highspeedinternet.com/resources/how-much-internet-speed-to-work-from-home

support.skype.com/en/faq/FA1417/how-much-bandwidth-does-skype-need