The speed of an Internet connection directly determines what actions can be performed online. Even basic online actions now require higher speeds than were previously available. Internet service providers offer a range of plans to consumers that have speeds ranging from 768 kilobits per second (Kbps) to over 100 megabits per second (Mbps) in areas that have the right type of infrastructure. Selecting the right plan involves assessing what actions will be performed online.
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4. Casual Browsing
Casual browsing means using the Internet to check emails, visit static websites and interact with social media outlets. A person who browses in this way does not play online games, subscribe to a streaming service or make large downloads. Even speeds as low as 768 Kbps are enough for just checking emails and looking at social media postings. Any plans that include speeds in excess of 2 Mbps to 3 Mbps are generally providing more bandwidth than what is necessary. It can actually be more economical to get a faster plan when the provider bundles other services like long distance calling with a set level of Internet access.
3. Streaming Media
Streaming media such as a movie, a video or online television requires a fast connection. Slow connections result in long buffering times, choppy video and even audio that is not synchronized with the image. The minimum speed for watching movies and television online is 3 Mbps. This will allow for smooth viewing of videos and movies with a standard resolution. High definition (HD) videos or movies transmit extra data. A plan that provides between 6 Mbps and 10 Mbps can support smooth streaming of HD video. Connections that are above 6 Mbps also make streaming live high-quality video from any source possible without image degradation or missing frames.
Many Internet users do not watch or listen to streaming media online. These individuals use the Internet to purchase and download content that can be watched on a television or played on a mobile device. This include music, movie and game download services that save the file permanently to a hard drive. A slow connection can make it inconvenient to use these services. A five-minute song could take 30 minutes to download if speeds are low. It is best to choose a fast plan that is close to 10 Mbps. Faster speeds will mean seamless downloading that happens in seconds or minutes even for the largest files.
1. Online Gaming
Online gaming has very special requirements. It is important to choose Internet plans that include high upload speeds as well as high download speeds. Low upload speeds will cause problems since player movements and actions will not reach the server quickly. Online gamers will want at least 6 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. This will ensure that all data passes between the client and server in real-time. Fast connection speeds also mean that new content and updates are downloaded quickly minimizing downtime. Another factor to look for is latency. High latency will cause delays that can make some games unplayable. Some providers go to great lengths to minimize latency.
Article by Madyson Grant