Blogs and Noteworthy News about Canadian Telecommunications


What is the right speed choice for me?

How fast is fast enough.

Do you feel the need, the need for speed? If you do, take a few moments to get our take on that.

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's our Internet experience was often severly hampered by the speeds (or lack thereof) offered. Dial-up and early implementations of DSL where just not up to the challenge when it came to satisfying even the meager multimedia requirements of those days.

But in todays world of cable, fibre and VDSL networks, speed is no longer the limiting factor. Monthly data allowances can be more limiting to your experience then the actual speed of your connection. In conversations with our customers, one of the first questions we ask is "What Internet speed are you interested in?" The response to this question is often "I don't know, how much is it?" This response leads us to believe that price is much easier to quantify to consumers then a speed rating. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the subject of Internet speed and it's effect on your experience.

Your Internet experience, for the most part, is shaped by two factors, speed and data limit. If you are streaming a 'gone viral' video on YouTube and it stops every 30 seconds for buffering to catch up your speed is to slow and your experience is obviously poor. Or, if you find yourself asking "Honey, where are we with our data this month? I want to watch a show." Your user experience may also be poor.

Internet Data Highway Infographic

So, how do I determine how fast my Internet connection needs to be? Here are some pointers that may help along the way.

  • If you only want to check email, read articles on web pages, do your online banking or paricipate in social networking like Facebook and Twitter, a basic speed rating of 5 mbps (mega bits per second) will be sufficient.
  • If you want to support a Netflix, or other streaming service, subscription 15 to 20 mbps would be a good choice for a smooth experience.
  • Do you have multiple simultanious Internet users in your household? Budget 5mbps extra per same time connection. For example: You and your spouse are watching a movie online, while both your teenage son and daughter are surfing the web doing their own thing. Calculate 15 mbps for yourself and 5 mbps for your teenagers each and you get to 25mbps, add another 5 mbps for some breathing room and you will find that a 30 mbps connection should provide everyone with a good experience.
  • You just got that shiney new TV capable of 4K? 4K video quality requires about 25 mbps sustained. In conjunction with other active users in the household, a 50 to 60 mbps service would be recommended to support this.
  • Have enough data allowance so that you don't have to worry about it, idealy unlimited.

Once you have enough speed to service your needs, more speed will not improve your experience. For example, if your Netflix doesn't buffer at 30 mbps it also won't buffer at 150 mbps. Same experience but you are most likely spending more money.

Can Com T. Roeth




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