Internet speed, visualized | What the Tech?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — Everyone needs an Internet connection in their home these days – but how much should you pay for a fast connection?

Before handing over $100 or more each month for Internet, you should find out what speed you need.

That can be confusing.

It depends, not just on how many devices are using the internet or WiFi, but on what those devices are doing and how many are connected at the same time.

To illustrate how to come up with what you need, imagine a dollar in change. Each cent represents one megabyte of bandwidth or Internet speed:

  • Browsing the internet or Facebook – 5 megabytes continuously
  • Sending an email – 1 MB each
  • Streaming YouTube, Netflix, or another service in standard definition – 5 MBs
  • High definition – 10 MBs
  • Streaming 4K – 35 MBs
  • Two TVs streaming in 4K at the same time – 70 MBs

A Zoom or video call needs 10 megabytes per second, and online video games use 25. All those Alexa devices and security cameras? They don’t use much, but it does add up.

If only two people are in your household, an internet plan of 100 MBps is probably fine. But 4 people, all streaming, or watching YouTube on their phone and playing video games, that will add up to over 100 MBs, and your dollar and speed are gone.

What happens when those 100 megabytes are used? Games pause, Netflix doesn’t play smoothly.

Run a speed test. If you’re not getting what you pay for, contact your internet provider.