No matter what kind of internet user you are, serious gamer, Netflix binger, or a professional who does a lot of their work online, you need good internet speeds to be able to properly meet your needs. If you are yet to get a connection set up at your place of residence or employ, simply Googling “internet providers in my area” does not cut it. Before checking out the available options, you need to get a good idea of the kind of speeds you are going to need on a regular basis. Following is a look at the things you will need to know.
Terms to Be Familiar with
- Ping: This is a test used to figure out whether or not a server can be reached. To ping a server, a data packet gets sent to it, and you wait for it to come back. If it does, that shows the server can be reached.
- Ping Time: This is a measure of how responsive your connection is, which equals how fast the data packet moves in both directions. The basic unit of ping time is milliseconds. If the data request does not register inside a second or two, the connections is bound to be characterized by lags, which can be off-putting if you are trying to play a game, upload a file, submit a lengthy form, etc.
- Latency: This is basically how fast data moves from source to destination, or in other words, the delay which occurs in communication. Latency needs to be low if you want to enjoy the best the internet has to offer, and you should keep this in mind while Googling “internet providers in my area”. Gamers find this affects them a lot, especially when playing games with someone on the other side of the globe.
- Mbps: This is a unit used to measure internet speed, and is short for “megabits per second”. It is a measure of the bandwidth of the connection, which refers to the amount of data that can possibly be transferred in a second.
Difference between Download Speeds and Upload Speeds
These are two things, which you are bound to see after you Google “internet providers in my area” and start checking out options. Download speed is the speed at which data gets transferred from server to you. This is pertinent to downloading files, loading websites while browsing the internet, and streaming video or audio. Upload speed is the opposite of this, in that it is the speed at which data flows from your computer to a server. Although often overlooked, upload speeds are important when sending emails, files, etc., and also for gaming and video chats.
Most people normally go about finding the right connection for their gaming needs by initially Googling “internet providers in my area”, and checking out the ones that offer sufficiently high speeds. With regards to gaming, you need to remember that upload speeds are as important as download speeds, because your device needs to send information to the gaming servers. That, as well as latency and ping time, matter here. Following are the things to pay attention to.
- Best speeds for gaming online: Normally, gaming online requires speeds of around 1-3 Mbps, but for the experience to be consistently satisfying, you might want to go with something to the tune of 10-25 Mbps. The ping time is the most important factor to consider, and while dependent on the upload and download speeds, it is more heavily impacted by internet latency.
- Best internet for gaming: Cable and fiber-optic internet show up right off when you Google “internet providers in my area for gaming”, mainly because connection type each allows for low-latency connections that enable superb gaming experiences. Satellite internet falls behind in that department, because despite high speeds, the signals need to move a great distance between source and destination.
- Best internet in rural areas: Assuming you have access to it, fixed wireless internet would make the best option for gaming out of a rural area. It ensures lower latency than what you can expect from satellite internet, owing to the much shorter distance that signals need to travel to and from the local tower. The best part is that fixed wireless speeds almost match those of DSL and cable.
- Using satellite for gaming: This can go either way based on the type of game you choose to play online. Satellite internet does not have the rapid data-response times required by shooter or sports games, but manages to provide a satisfying experience if you choose RPG, strategy, card, or puzzle games.
- Does using satellite internet get you blocked from online games? Satellite internet users experience a lot of lag compared to other internet consumers, allowing them to use this as an advantage of sorts when they are gaming. For this reason, many shooter and sports games refuse admittance to satellite internet users, so that the gaming experience among different participants remains fairly equal.
- Speeding up your internet for online gaming: It is possible to make you internet at home faster by a slight degree, such as through boosting the Wi-Fi signal to reduce latency. You could also try moving the router to a position that stabilizes the signal. If your gaming device is placed a good distance from the router, consider setting up the Wi-Fi repeater, or even an extender. Google “internet providers in my area that provide repeaters”, and you will see a list of companies that help with bolstering your internet signal.
- Speeds you would need for Netflix: The service generally recommends having speeds of at least 3 Mbps to load videos, but this can vary with the quality of the stream you wish to watch. For standard definition videos, you would need no lower than 3 Mbps in download speed. HD videos require 5 Mbps speed to stream, while streaming HDR or 4K would entail a connection speed of 25 Mbps.
- Speeds you would need for Hulu: This service recommends having 3 Mbps speed for people who wish to watch on-demand programming of the best quality. Live TV viewing requires at least 8 Mbps.
- Speeds you would need for DIRECTV NOW®: For steaming video of minimal quality on DIRECTV NOW®, the service recommends 2.5 Mbps speed, but if you wish to enjoy HD video streams on a mobile device, you would need access to speeds to the tune of 7.5 Mbps. On your computer web browser, the same would take no lower than 12 Mbps.
- Speeds you would need for YouTube TV: When streaming standard definition videos on YouTube, your connection needs to have at least 3 Mbps download speed so that the video does not buffer. For HD videos, you would need around 7 Mbps, and if you were streaming on multiple devices, you would need access to about 13 Mbps download speed.
For Working from Home
The internet speeds you need to comfortably work from home would vary based on the kind of work that needs to get done. If it involves frequent downloads and uploads featuring large files, you would need a really fast connection with speeds of around 40 Mbps. Basic use, such as emailing and using small PC programs, would require 3-4 Mbps speed. If you have a lot of Skyping going on, no lower than 10 Mbps speed would be needed. It is wise to pick speeds that exceed the requirements of the program you use, because at-home speeds invariably fall short of what is advertised. Multiple devices can further hog the bandwidth.
- Advisable home internet speeds: What you need in terms of internet speeds at home would depend on your internet use. 15+ Mbps would work fine for a family with multiple users who are frequently online.
- Fastest speeds you can get: At present, the fastest internet speed offered for home use is a whopping 2 Gbps, which XFINITY® provides in select areas.
- Figuring out the internet speed you currently have: A simple online test can show you how fast your internet connection is. It would also show the ping time and latency, as well as other details.
Benefits of High Speed Internet at a Small Business
For many businesses, especially SMEs, it is imperative to keep operating costs as low as possible, so that profit margins stay high. Starting out as the owner of such a business, you may take the path of Googling “cheap internet providers in my area” and picking the best option you find. However, giving up speed to save on internet expense might not be the best idea, especially in the long run.
Faster internet can set the stage for increased productivity as well as other benefits. This is the main reason why most every successful business has a fast connection serving their offices, whether it has a thousand employees or fewer than twenty. Following are the top benefits you can expect if you take the same route.
- Better productivity: Imagine your employees having to work with slow internet, and how it could delay or even stall many of the tasks, which need to get done inside the course of the day. Findings from some studies say that every year, around a full week of work can be wasted this way, and that is just for a single user at a computer station. From the productivity perspective, this can be costly for a business, and even more so if it relies on a portal or website to draw in customers or clients. One survey says that 8 out of 10 online customers tend not to return to a slow-loading website, while 2 out of 10 said they would wait a maximum of 5 seconds at each page, and leave if it did not load.
- Lower stress: For most employees, there is stress accompanying the prospect of waiting for a site to load over a snail-paced internet connection. The reality of this issue only properly dawns when you realize that WHO has placed annual stress-related workplace costs at an estimated $300 billion. Even the tiniest bit of that is a lot, and your company would be saving as much by ushering in a relaxed work environment featuring reliable and fast internet.
- Space for more users: Even a business with less than 10 employees could face office struggles stemming from a slow connection, because said connection needs to be shared between multiple users. Before long, it can become all but unusable. A high speed broadband connection, on the other hand, would supply the office with enough bandwidth to ensure every device and machine gets access to the speed it requires for smooth, uninterrupted work.
- Ease in certain tasks: For businesses that require a lot of video conferencing to be done as part of their daily operations, speed is an important factor. This also holds true for cloud storage, online streaming, and cloud-based software use, which require fast internet so as to render a seamless work experience. The more you rely on these things, the higher the importance of a high-speed broadband connection.
- Smoother downloading and uploading: Many modern business-related activities include sharing files through downloads and uploads. Each operation needs to be completed without interruptions, but a slow connection, which frequently times out can throw a wrench in the works. No one appreciates having to start over repeatedly, which is why a high-speed connection that eliminates this need is essential. Higher download and upload speeds can even make a difference in timesavings when handling small files, especially if you regularly move these to and from a shared storage space. To get set up with a connection that works well in this area, look up “fast internet providers in my area”, and then check out your options.
- Lower costs: This makes sense when you look at things from the productivity perspective. A decently fast broadband connection can also bring savings in other ways, such as by eliminating the monthly cost of a traditional phone service because VoIP is now a reliable option.
- Improved collaboration: You find SMEs aplenty that are ready to collaborate with far-placed partners, suppliers, and associates, because a fast internet connections eases this considerably. IT is much simpler to share files, send information, and make changes in shared platforms like Dropbox and Google Docs.
- The chance to provide better customer service: Since the dawn of time, the customer has always been right, and that will never change. As a business, it is much easier to keep your clients and customers happy as long as you have superior tools to work with, and fast internet is definitely one of those.