No doubt about it: high-speed internet has become the essential heartbeat of our homes, keeping everyone connected at home, work and play.
It seems like almost every commercial these days is promising you the fastest internet speed. But what exactly is “fast”? With a head-spinning number of options to choose from, it can be overwhelming deciding what is a good internet speed.
No doubt about it: high-speed internet has become the essential heartbeat of our homes, keeping everyone connected at home, work and play. And we’re adding more smartphones, tablets and gaming devices to our Wi-Fi networks all the time. In fact, there will be 13.6 connected devices for every person in the U.S. by 2023, according to networking company Cisco.
Things change rapidly in the communications field, and the internet service that worked for you last year might not be the best fit for you now. If you have a choice of internet providers, it’s smart to keep an eye on what technologies they’re offering — and to understand what is considered slow internet vs what is considered high speed internet.
Check out our guide below for some helpful tips on bandwidth, broadband and speed.
What is considered “slow” internet?
You might think that dial-up disappeared with car phones and beepers after the 90s. But dial-up is still a common form of internet for many rural homes and businesses, even with its limitations. With speeds of approximately 56 kilobits per second (Kbps), it can take hours to download files, and it’s too slow to qualify as broadband. What is broadband internet exactly? The FCC currently defines it as any high-speed internet access with a minimum of 25 Mbps download speed/3 Mbps upload speed.
Today’s high-speed internet technologies
Satellite technology is one option for broadband internet access that’s often used in remote areas. Although traditionally slow, in recent years speeds have improved due to technological advances. Some satellite service is even available now at broadband speeds. However, when lag and latency issues exist, real-time activities like online gaming may become more difficult. Two other services that offer fast internet speeds are Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) and cable. DSL uses existing coaxial copper technology and a modem to provide a broadband connection. However, speeds vary widely based on the internet service provider, equipment used and the quality of the phone lines leading to your home or business.
Cable connections also offer high-speed internet services with fast download speeds, but they may not always attain the upload speeds of fiber-optic connections. That can mean more lag time during online gaming and slower photo and video uploads.
So what is considered fast internet?
Between DSL, cable and fiber, fiber-optic internet speeds are the fastest available today, according to a June 2020 article from Broadband Now, an independent website which helps consumers find and compare internet services. Services like Fios Gigabit Connection deliver blazing-fast, ultra-reliable speeds of up to 940/880 Mbps. Unlike other providers who may offer gig plans using partial fiber or copper/fiber hybrid networks, Verizon Fios is powered by a 100% fiber-optic network.
Without a doubt, though, the biggest news in the high-speed internet world these days has to be the introduction of 5G networks. More than 25x faster than today’s 4G networks, 5G is expected to revolutionize the way people connect at home and on the go with unprecedented speeds and bandwidth. In fact, services such as Verizon 5G Home Internet already deliver wireless internet that provides ultra-fast speeds of 300 Mbps and, depending on location, max speeds of up to 1 Gbps. And new cities are coming online all the time. Stay tuned as the world discovers the full potential of 5G.
What is a good internet speed for me?
To help you decide what the “best” speed is for your household, consider how many people and devices will be using the connection at once and how it will be used. One generally accepted rule of thumb is that anything above 100 Mbps is considered “fast” internet because it can connect multiple devices at once.
For example, if several people in your house want to stream movies; if you often send large files for work; or if you use your connection for competitive gaming, you may want an internet speed plan with 100-200 Mbps or even more. On the other hand, if you’re a single user who only needs to browse the web and check email, you might be satisfied with 10 Mbps.
Testing your current speed
Has all this talk about fast and slow internet made you curious about your current internet speed? Why not check it now using our speed test website? If it’s no longer fast enough to support all your usage and connected devices, you can always upgrade to a new plan. Whichever route you go, taking the time to do some homework now can help you get the most out of your internet connection.