Internet Speed MeterInternet Speed, Is Faster Better? Am I Paying Too Much?

I know what a lot of you are thinking. Faster service is better service! For the most part you’re correct. But maybe for the wrong reasons. When choosing your speed with your provider, take into consideration how many devices will be connected and streaming / Gaming at the same time. Faster service will be better for homes with 3 or more devices doing this at the same time. This does not include just looking at websites and browsing. These are little bursts of data and do not require massive speed.

Another thing to consider is how does the device connect to your local home network. Most devices these days are wireless and therefore are the weakest link in your home or business network. Did you know that wireless devices can only download and upload at certain speeds? The technology is not quite there yet but its getting better. So if you’re paying for a Gigabit speed and not cabled directly to the router then the speed is capped by the ability of the wireless connections on each device.

If you’re running IPTV of some sort, fast unlimited speeds are good and make sure they are hardwired to the router for best performance. But if not, then what is good for you? 

You should know off the hop that internet speed is not based on Mega or Giga “Bytes”, but measure in Mega and Giga “Bits”. So whats the difference? Well it sounds good when the sales person talks to you about Gigabits and you here Gigabytes. Let’s have a look at it in a simple way:

1 Gigabit connection has a max transfer speed of 125 MegaBytes – That’s really good and its really good for streaming lots of devices in your home at the same time. But the devices themselves are not capable of handling that speed on their own. Wireless 5G although boasts great speeds, they rarely pass 180 Megabits per connection. That’s 22.5 MegaBytes from the 125 Megabyte (Gigabit) Connection. And that’s only if the services the devices are streaming from is sending at that speed or greater. Confused yet?

If 5 devices in your home or office were streaming at near perfect transfer rates of 22.5 MegaBytes Per Second, then the Gigabit connection would be saturated and running at its max performance. But let’s get real for a moment. Your connection speed to the router does not give you all the speed it says. Many internal parts of the computer or tablet have limits on the read and write speed to the drive. But not to confuse you all we will leave that to another post project. 

So how fast does my connection need to be for HD or higher quality television / Movie service? 

Netflix requires a 25 Megabyte Per Second connection for HD quality. For those wondering 4K streaming isn’t really there yet as the time of this posting. 4K streams can and will experience fuzzyness. 

So a Gigabit internet connection sends and receives a million bits per second. HD streaming requires 200 Megabits of that Million. So are you paying too much? 

Conclusion:

It all sounds good on television and from the sales person at the store. What it comes down to is how you connect to your router (Hardwire is always faster and more secure), and how many devices are connected and streaming at once. 

In my home setup we run with a 250 Megabit Per Second connection. We are a family of five and during children wake times can be streaming to five different devices at once. I’m talking Netflix and YouTube HD Quality with no problems. 

Ideally a 500 Megabit Per Second connection would be better as I also download and upload items for work to remote servers etc. But if you have a stable ISP with rock solid connection, all you really require is a good router. Not the 50 dollar ones you see, more like the 300 dollar ones that are built to take the abuse and have the built in memory to handle the job. Netgear makes a router they call the NightHawk. Fabulous router with great WiFi distance, no memory issues and can handle more than one gaming system with Open NAT when configured correctly. But if you’re experiencing issues it’s best to have your network checked out by a professional and see where the weakest link might be. More than likely a router upgrade will solve your issues. A good router makes all the difference. 

 

 

 

 

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