Read along to identify the factors that determine the speed of your connection and how to make the most out of it
Selecting your Internet connection used to be a fairly simple and straightforward task to accomplish. Your options depended on the type of connectivity and the plan that you could afford. However, with today’s vast choice of Internet technologies – DSL, cable and fiber – and the various speed tiers on offer, doing so has become more complex.
As the number of smart devices being used is on the rise while the content streamed has become of a higher quality, the need for speed has increased exponentially. Speed means everything. It is a key factor when it comes to the quality of the video you are watching or the audio you are listening to, whereas it greatly affects how quickly you can download files, access information or receive emails. In theory, determining how much Internet speed you need should be a straightforward calculation, but it involves a number of factors.
To begin with, it is essential to understand what the difference between bandwidth and speed is. Bandwidth typically refers to the volume of information per unit of time that an Internet connection can handle. This means that a larger bandwidth will allow more data to travel, increasing the rate at which it travels. However, the bandwidth you are allocated is shared among all devices on your connection. So if in a residential setting you have one person streaming a movie, another refreshing Facebook on his phone and a third downloading a video game, you’ll need enough bandwidth to cater for everyone. On the other hand, Internet speed is measured by how fast packets of data are transmitted from the world wide web to your computer or mobile device and the measure of unit used is megabits per second (Mbps).
How much speed do I need for my business?
When it comes to determining the Internet speed needed to accommodate your employees and the online activities carried out on a daily basis, you must take into consideration the following:
Number of users – consider the number of employees that might be conducting activities online at once. Doing so will allow you to discern your peak Internet needs.
Types of activities – you also need to take into account whether such activities include video calls, downloading large files and simple email browsing or activities like streaming video and audio or VoIP.
Long-term Internet needs – as your business grows and your employees increase, you need to ensure that your Internet can accommodate this.
How much speed do I need for home?
Similarly to a business setting, you must identify the users in your home and the variety of devices utilised at any one time so as to guarantee an enjoyable Internet experience without any lag or latency issues.
Types of activities – note that some activities tend to use up more bandwidth than others such as streaming a video in HD or video calls.
Other variables – things such as WiFi strength, distance and even time of day can impact your speed. It is also worth taking into account the myriad of devices that utilise the Internet such as DVRs, gaming consoles, streaming boxes and smart appliances.
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Lastly, regardless of whether you are a residential or business Internet user, bear in mind that not all speeds are created equal. Whereas download speed is important, you must ensure that the upload speed is sufficient. For instance, if you’re a gamer or use cloud-sharing applications constantly for data storage, go for what is referred to as a ‘symmetrical bandwidth’ whereby the download and upload speeds are evenly balanced. This bandwidth is also much more aligned to business usage.
Streaming, downloading, uploading? Sound familiar but you are somewhat unsure as to what all this jargon means? Have a look at the list below:
Streaming – a type of download that is not saved or stored anywhere on your device. Streaming only uses enough bandwidth to actually watch a video in real time which means that you do not have to download the entire video all at once.
Download speed – denotes the rate at which your computer can stream or download data from the Internet. Downloading refers to the actual transfer of the data from one place to another. When you download a movie or a song, get an email, or search and save from the web, you have a copy of the item on your device.
Upload speed – is similar to downloading and refers to how fast your device can send data to the Internet.
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