ImOn Tech Talks
ImOn is starting a new educational series called Tech Talks. Each month we will share helpful information about various tech topics to help our customers better understand the technology and services they have in their lives. If you have a tech topic you would like to learn more about, just email your idea or question to TechTalks@ImOn.net and you may see them featured in an upcoming edition of Tech Talks. Enjoy!
What is Internet Speed?
Over the last decade, the Internet has really changed the way we live, do business, socialize, and stay informed. So it is important that your Internet speed is fast enough to keep up. We all know how frustrating it is to have to wait for your website to load or your video to buffer!
When we talk about Internet speed, we are really talking about bandwidth, or capacity. It is the amount of data that can be transferred over an Internet connection in one second. At ImOn we talk about Internet speed using download and upload speeds. Download speed is the speed data is transferred from one place to another. When you watch a video, listen to a song, get email, or search Google, you are using your download speed. Upload speed refers to the speed data is transferred from your computer to the Internet. You use your upload speed when you post videos on YouTube, post pictures on social media, send emails, or save files to the cloud.
So now that you know what Internet speed is, how do you know what speed is right for you? Different households have drastically different Internet speed needs. A single person who only uses the Internet to access social media and send emails doesn’t need as much Internet speed as a family of five who are streaming Netflix in every room. When you are trying to decide on what Internet speed your home needs, there are three main things to consider.
- How many people use the Internet in your home?
- How many Internet connected devices do you have in your home?
- What activities do you do on the Internet?
How many people in your home use the Internet?
Your Internet connection is only so fast, and when several people are using a single Internet connection at the same time, the Internet bandwidth is shared among them. Which means, the more people you have, the less bandwidth each person will get, resulting in slower Internet speed for everyone.
How many Internet connected devices do you have in your home?
Long gone are the days when your home only had one PC connected to the Internet. Now pretty much everything uses an Internet connection or Wi-Fi signal. Just like the Internet bandwidth is shared among the people in your home, it is also shared with every connected device in your home. For example, if you have 15Mb of Internet and 2 people are looking at social media on their smartphones while streaming an HD movie on TV, the 15Mb of bandwidth is now divided among the 3 devices and each device is getting around 5Mb to use. So it is really important to identify exactly how many devices are connected in your home. And, note that just because a device is not being used, it can still be connected to the Internet and using some of your bandwidth.
What activities do you do on the Internet?
The last thing to consider when it comes to Internet speed is the types of activities you use your Internet for. The average Internet user does at least 7 things online a day. Some of these activities, like streaming HD videos and playing online games, use a lot of bandwidth, while sending emails and surfing the web takes very little. If you don’t have enough bandwidth for these activities, you will likely encounter issues like buffering. The Federal Communications Commission’s website has a list of recommended minimum Internet speeds for various online activities.
To help you estimate the Internet speed you need to accommodate all of the people, activities, and devices in your home, ImOn has created a handy Internet Bandwidth Calculation Worksheet. This worksheet will make you take a look at exactly how many devices you have in your home and what activities people are doing on the Internet. Keep in mind that this will only calculate the minimum bandwidth that you need. If you would rather have us do all of the number crunching then just try our ImOn Speed Analyzer.