What is a Good Internet Speed?
Much of this will depend what you use your internet connection for. To a certain extent, it doesn’t matter how fast your connection is, you can only receive data from a source as fast as they can send it.
If the source has a slow upload speed, then the download speed to you will appear slow. You may think it’s your connection playing up, when in fact there is nothing wrong with it.
With this aside, here are speed recommendations set out by governments.
Families who take part in frequent streaming – 12 -25 Mbps
Since 2015 there have been further definitions of what good speeds are. Broadband or fast internet should have download speeds of at least 25 Mbps, and with this, the uploads should be at least 3 Mbps.
Best Streaming Internet Speed
3 Mbps should be sufficient to stream standard definition video. When this rises up to 4k, you will need a minimum of 25 Mbps to stream videos to your devices or computers. Some streaming services recommend higher than this, but not everyone has that luxury.
Depending on the streaming service, even this can vary. Hulu says their on-demand takes 3 Mbps while their Hulu Live TV requires 8 Mbps.
Mobile devices are different, and will need between 2.5 and 7.5 Mbps. This means data plans will be for the very few.
YouTube recommends the following.
- Standard definition – 3 Mbps
- HD on one device – 7 Mbps
- HD on multiple devices – 13 Mbps as a minimum
Best Online Gaming Speed
While 10 – 25 Mbps delivers the best experience, you can get away with between 4 – 8 Mbps. However, online gaming isn’t only about speed. Ping time comes into the equation.
Ping times of 20 milliseconds or fewer on your internet connection is by far the best, but if they reach up to 100 milliseconds, you should still be able to achieve a good gaming experience.
Home Working Speeds
If you are working at home, you can be okay with 3-4 Mbps for everyday tasks. This includes email and web research, etc.
If you use Skype or other video calling software, then your internet package should be 10 Mbps or more.
For ones who make large file transfers like designers or video editors, then you need in excess of 40 Mbps for your broadband speeds.
Why is My Internet So Slow?
There are many reasons why your internet connection speed is slow. First though, you should perform a speed test and compare it to the plan you signed up for. Most home connections do run slower than advertised.
You can easily run internet speed tests by visiting Speedtest.net. This shows you both the upload and download speeds for your connection. If this is way under what you should receive, then it highlights there is a problem.
Other reasons can be as follows:
Websites – these can be slow, so check other websites to see if they are loading at the same speed. Social media can suffer from this problem when there are hundreds of thousands of users using the services at the same time.
You can check your modems and routers. On occasions these can be the problem, and while it is hard to see because of their design, you can unplug these and leave them off for 30 seconds before turning them back on. You should at the same time check all your cable connections.
Wi-Fi Signals can be a major cause for slow internet. By bad placement to something as simple as Wi-Fi baby monitors.
While these have advantages for parents, some feature video, and if this runs all the time, it will affect connection speeds.
There are various other reasons when using a wireless network around the home. Congestion being one if there are lots of users.
The frequency they use can only support a certain amount, and this can include neighbours. You can change channels inside a router, so there should be less congestion.
One final reason you might have a slow internet connection is one that is commonly overlooked. Although ISP’s deliver speeds less than advertised.
They do throttle connections in certain circumstances. If you go against their fair use policy, they will throttle your connection for a period.
This only happens if you download large volumes of content such as you might get with around the clock torrenting.
But, the part they never mention is they throttle connections when users are streaming. Internet Service providers (ISP’s) are renowned for slowing connections.
Something as simple as watching YouTube videos can cause this slowdown to kick in. They will do this by monitoring all the data consumed by a specific IP address. Hence, the more users, the quicker you may have an internet service that comes to a crawl.
Therefore users are always looking to increase internet speed.
How to Improve Internet Speed
There are plenty of simple ways you can increase your internet speeds, some may be short-term fixes, but you can do this quite often to increase download speed when you need it.
Data caps – these are not overly advertised as they can seriously affect internet speed. You may have a plan that has a limited amount of data each month.
This is more common on mobile devices, but they are there and as you edge over these and your speeds will drop.
You may need a higher data limit, or you need to consider an unlimited plan.
Refresh Your Router – you can turn off your router and your modem once per month. This will reset your IP address if they are issued dynamically rather than being a static IP.
Change your DNS settings – While they do little for downloads and uploads, they can make opening pages quicker.
A DNS setting is the large database where IP’s are converted to the name of a web page. If you change from your ISP DNS servers, you can see an improvement.
You can also flush your DNS records because old entries will mean data is bounced around until it finds the correct destination. Here’s how to do this on Windows 10:
- Click the start menu. Search for “command prompt.”
- Right-click and choose “run as administrator.”
- In the command prompt window type: ipconfig /flushdns
- Hit “enter.” And close the window when it’s done its job.
Antivirus software – this can stop any unwanted programs being installed. Or things like scripts that are added into web pages such as the crypto mining script which was found. These can have a serious effect on a connection.
Ad blockers – the more ads that are served up, the more data is consumed. This again doesn’t increase download speed but stopping these ads really makes a difference with web page loading times.
Delete your internet history. This can build up over time and slow down your connection. You will have to start from scratch once you have done this, but it keeps everything fresh.
How to Speed Up Wi-Fi
Ethernet is the best option for a few reasons, but the way Wi-Fi is taking over, this can be the first thing people look at improving.
Again, there are ways you can improve Wi-Fi speed. Router position can be one of the largest culprits for slow speeds.
If you have walls, or devices that use electric between you and your router, then this will cause a slow connection.
Moving your router to a central location where it is in a clear line of site will make connection speeds faster.
Changing from 2.4Ghz to 5 GHz – There are many routers that now support both bands. 5 GHz is much faster, but it doesn’t have the distance. For homes, this can be ideal as it has more channels (23 compared to 11).
Using a VPN
We saw that ISP’s slow down connections because of streaming or downloading lots of large files.
A VPN will mask your connection and encrypt your data. You can stream all you wish, and download torrents to your hearts content, and your ISP will be none the wiser.
All major sites are watched like YouTube, Netflix and Twitch among others. As soon as you use these, your connection speed will drop.
VPN’s stop ISP’s or anyone else for that fact from seeing where your data is coming from.
However, not just any VPN will do as they are not all the same.
A good example being NordVPN. This is ranked number two and has a large network. It delivers top notch encryption like banks and the military use. But, it suffers with VPN network speeds on some of its servers.
The most recommended option is ExpressVPN, this beats Nord in many areas, and speed being one.
They have optimized servers for torrents and streaming, so an ISP won’t be able to see what you are accessing.
They are the best, and it is very easy to check all the benefits of the fastest VPN you can use.
While no VPN can increase your internet speed, they do help you to get what you pay for and are entitled to.