What is an acceptable download speed for basic online activities?

Dec 01, 2021 - Views: 2551

Rating:4.9 - 53Votes

Without a good Internet download speed, it’s hard to enjoy activities like streaming videos, online gaming, etc.

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,” and why does download speed matter?   

What is an acceptable download speed?

What is an acceptable download speed?

What is download speed?

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

It determines how fast your computer (or any other device) can receive data from the Internet. 

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 both measured in Megabits per second - Mbps. 

The higher the Mbps, the faster the speeds, and the better the connection.

Downloading

Downloading

Why does download speed matter?

Are you curious why 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. 

Download speed is crucial

Download speed is crucial

Things like web browsing, gaming, video chatting, video conferencing, Google searching, listening to music, etc require downloading data and information.

Without a fast download speed, chances are you’ll access the Internet with interruption and slow loading.

So troublesome, right?

To know what is an acceptable Internet download speed, read on more!

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 a 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.

There is no exactly acceptable download speed

There is no exactly acceptable download speed

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 5 Mbps might be enough to be considered "acceptable"

But for ones who often do activities that are kind of bandwidth-heavy like downloading large files 5 Mbps is never enough. 

The download rates of around 5 Mbps are too slow speeds for them. 

What they need is, of course, a much faster speed than 5 Mbps.

Internet activities affect the ideal download speed

Internet activities affect the ideal download speed

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.

Overall, "an acceptable Internet download speed" depends on many factors.

Among them, 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.

Download speed requirements for different activities

Gaming, video streaming, music streaming, video chatting, social media, or web surfing, have specific download speed requirements. 

Inadequate speeds or slow Internet connections means that your Internet experiences will be affected significantly.

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? 

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.

1 Mbps is quite enough for web surfing

1 Mbps is quite enough for web surfing

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 without waiting hours for the sites to finish loading.

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. 

Download speed requirement for gaming

Download speed requirement for gaming

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.

Game system Min download speed Min upload speed Ping rate
Play Station 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

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. 

Streaming videos requires good download speed

Streaming videos requires good download speed

Without an adequate download Internet speed, it seems impossible 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 as follows:

  • At least 3-4Mbps for standard definition (SD) video streaming

  • 5-8Mbps for high definition video streaming (HD Quality)

  • 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.

Internet requirements for streaming services

Internet requirements for streaming services

Also read: why are upload and download speeds different

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:

Zoom

The minimum upload and download speeds for one-on-one calling on Zoom are both 600 Kbps.

Also, the recommended speeds are 1.8 Mbps for both directions (downloading and uploading).

For group calling on Zoom, the required speeds are higher: 

Minimum requirements ecommended speeds
Download Upload Download Upload
1 Mbps 800 Mbps 2 Mbps 3 Mbps

 

Skype

Below are the minimum and recommended speeds for simple video calling on Skype:

Minimum requirements Recommended speeds
Download Upload Download Upload
128 Kbps 128 Kbps 300 Kbps 300 Kbps

Download speed requirements for Skype

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the difference between download and upload?

As previously mentioned, download speeds determine how fast your device can receive data from the Internet.

In contrast, upload speeds determine how quickly the data can be sent from your device to the Internet.

Besides, though both speeds measure how fast a connection is, download speed is generally considered more important than upload speed.

2. Is 10 Mbps download speed good?

In general, a download speed of 6 to 10 Mbps is ideal for browsing the Internet.

In most cases, it is fast enough to stream a 1080p (high definition) video.

3. Is 25 Mbps download speed good?

While most Internet users are happy with download speeds of 25 Mbps, heavy users and streamers should look into significantly greater speeds. 

Despite that, a good Internet speed is defined as any connection that is more than 25 Mbps.

So, this speed is suitable for users that want to run numerous apps simultaneously, typically for business purposes.

Wrapping up

Now you know “What does download and upload speed mean?” and what makes download speed so important that most Internet providers tend to give lots of priority to it. 

However, when it comes to the ideal download speed for all Internet users, it's so hard to tell since each individual uses the Internet differently. That's all for this post on What is an acceptable download speed?, hope you enjoyed it.

Rating:4.9 - 53Votes

10 Comments

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  1. Ari Allen

    This is so helpful! Thank you for creating this and sharing it.

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    1. MySpeed

      No worries

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  2. Angus Johnston

    Thanks for your sharing. I don't know that Amazon Prime Video just requires that low download speed

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    1. MySpeed

      Yes, it just requires 1 Mbps to enjoy SD quality

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  3. Isaac Cooper

    Do you know why does download speed ramp up slowly and doesn’t immediately jump to the highest speed possible?

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    1. MySpeed

      TCP slow start, an Internet congestion control method, is responsible for what you're experiencing. Data is steadily increased in speed until it can no longer be moved at a higher rate, at which point it is maintained.

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  4. Sofia Jones

    can you suggest some reliable download speed test websites? I need a free and accurate one

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    1. MySpeed

      Hi, you can try gospeedcheck.com, Speedtest by Ookla, Speedofme,... All are free

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  5. Mario Harris

    Why are real download speeds lower than what you pay the internet provides for? I spend a lot of money on the Internet but it doesn't work as I expect

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    1. MySpeed

      Well, I understand your case. The explanation may be the contention ration. Maybe you share some connections with others. You are, for example, on a 72 Mbps connection, but it might be shared with five other users. Then, your line will lengthen during peak hours.

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