Technology is continually evolving, and the demand for consistent and accessible information and entertainment is constant. And the source to all of that? A reliable Internet connection. The desire and expectation is to receive information on multiple devices instantaneously. Consumers will go to drastic measures to get a stronger signal, a better connection, a faster speed. At times, the intricacies of Internet can get complicated, and it seems like the prices are steadily increasing. How do you know if you are getting a good deal? And where should you draw the line with your Internet consumption and speed demands?

At DayStarr Communications, we are here to be your go-to, communication services guru. As you face decisions like which service to depend on and what amount of speed is best for you, we want to be sure you are equipped with the truth of how Internet speed works. In today’s blog post, we explain the technicality of Internet speed, why speed matters, and how to know what Internet speed is right for your household or business.

What is an Internet speed?

Internet speed refers to how quickly you receive information onto your device or how fast you can download, upload, and surf the web. In more technical terms, Internet connection speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Mbps tells you how many million bits of data can be moved in a second. The span of speed you can have ranges between 1-100 Mbps with broadband connections.

Fiber optic technology is quickly becoming the premier pipeline for optimal Internet satisfaction. Fiber optic Internet is continually expanding, and can offer Internet connections of 1 Gbps – nearly the speed of light. This speed is ten times faster than 100 Mbps, thus 1,000 Mbps. If you are someone who wants quick access to endless information, entertaining shows, email, and social media, then fiber may be the answer.

Why does Internet speed matter?

Having reliable Internet is a necessity and expectation in most households and businesses. Today’s students are frequently required to complete school work online while parents want to check their emails throughout the day and watch their favorite Netflix shows in the evening. Most of the time, you don’t look at the speed of your connection unless it slows down or stops working. The convenience of connecting to a world of information at an incredible speed has become the norm and is on an indisputable, continuous rise.

As households connect with higher bandwidth content and connect to multiple devices for longer periods of time, the average bandwidth or Internet capacity per household will likely increase. According to research by the Association for Corporate Growth, the average bandwidth in 2014 was 2.9 Mbps per household and is expected to rise to 7.3 Mbps by 2018. If buffering videos and slow connections frustrate you, it may be time to reevaluate your Internet speed.

What is a reasonable speed for today’s users?

The Internet speed that a household or business needs widely varies. However, it is estimated that 90% of homes in the U.S. have three or more Internet-connected devices while just under half of households have five or more devices, and nearly a quarter use seven or more devices. With numerous devices under one roof, many households reach 70 or 80 Mbps with no problem.

Keep in mind that various websites also have maximum speeds that customers are permitted to stream or download, and these sites can become congested with several users. These are variables that may slow down your connection that your provider cannot control. Wireless connection speeds are also influenced by components such as signal settings, wall type and distance, microwaves, and static electricity. However, these issues decrease dramatically with fiber Internet. Fiber connections are not distance-sensitive like copper band services, but speeds can vary depending on location and service providers.

How do you find what speed you have and what speed you need?

Speed testing websites are the first place you can go to discover the speed of your Internet connection, document your different devices to see the time of day when your use is the highest and what programs you are using during these times. Tracking these aspects of your Internet use can give you a better idea of what speed you have and the speed that is optimal for you.

It’s important to note, however, that there are many factors that can affect accuracy of speeds. We call them “bottleneck” factors, such as how busy the Internet is at the time, the type of hardware you have, the age/type of lines you have (i.e. is it DSL, broadband or fiber?) and how much you’re using various devices when you test. It is rarely your Internet Service Provider’s fault if speeds are slower than what you expect. They will fluctuate. At DayStarr, have found to be most accurate.

To find what speed you need depends on several different elements. How you plan to use the Internet, how many devices you have in your home, and how fast you expect to be connected are just a few factors that influence which speed is right for you. To understand what certain speeds actually provide, check out this list of guidelines.

5 Mbps

5-10 Mbps

10-25 Mbps

25-40 Mbps

40+ Mbps

Remember, speed is a maximum level, not a guaranteed one. As your desire for a faster connection increases, be sure you have the Internet speed that will exceed your technological needs!

Do you have other questions about your Internet speed? If so, we can help! Contact us today!

Written by Steve Starr

Jan. 29, 2016