The bandwidth you’re allotted is shared among all devices on your connection. How much you need depends on how you use the internet.

If you’ve got one person downloading a video game, someone else streaming a movie and another person refreshing Instagram on his phone, you’ll need enough bandwidth to keep everyone happy.

Video streaming tends to eat up the most bandwidth, so households running simultaneous streams may want to pony up for higher speeds. Netflix reccomends a 3 Mbps connection for one standard-quality stream and 5 Mbps for a high-definition stream. Two simultaneous HD quality streams would need around 10 Mbps, and so on.

Online video games don’t require much bandwidth to play. However, downloading a video game or other huge file takes lots of bandwidth.

Frequent file-sharers and downloaders might opt for higher speeds, although it’s easy enough to schedule your downloads when network demand is low and more bandwidth is free, like late at night.

If you use the internet just for general web surfing, emailing and social media you won’t need much more than 2 Mbps.

In the chart below, you’ll find bandwidth estimates assuming one user performing one activity at a time. If you have multiple users on the same connection, you’ll need to account for the extra bandwidth.

  • General web surfing, email, social media   2 mbps
  • Online Gaming                                             2-3 mbps
  • Video Conferencing                                     2-4 mbps
  • Standard-definition video streaming          3-4 mbps
  • High-definition video streaming                 5-8 mbps