When you purchase a high-speed internet plan, you'll have to make a decision about which service tier to buy – they're priced by the amount of bandwidth you receive from your high-speed internet provider. Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (Mbps.) Plans offering more Mbps cost more than those with less, so it's important to select the plan that meets all of your internet usage needs while not purchasing bandwidth that you never end up using. Here's how to estimate your bandwidth requirements and select the right high speed internet plan for your home's internet usage.
1. Estimate the Bandwidth Usage of Internet-Connected Devices
First, you'll need to find the total bandwidth usage of every Internet-connected device in your home; this includes smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, and desktop computers. In order for everyone in your home to use their devices at the same time without connectivity issues, you'll have to purchase enough bandwidth to support them all.
Streaming video is the largest contributor to your home's bandwidth, and every device capable of streaming video needs to be accounted for. Smart TVs and tablets will stream HD video, which require about 5 Mbps per device. Standard definition video requires 1 Mbps per second. While 4080p (ultra high definition video) streaming services are rare, this type of streaming takes a whopping 25 Mbps.
Since video streaming is the most bandwidth-intensive task a device can perform, you can make a good estimate of your maximum bandwidth needs by simply totaling all of the devices in your home capable of streaming video. Other tasks such as browsing the internet or streaming music require much less bandwidth compared to streaming video. When you select a plan that supports video streaming on all of the devices capable of it, you'll easily support all other forms of internet usage in your home.
2. Add Extra Bandwidth for Online Gaming
While online gaming by itself doesn't require much bandwidth, it's important that you select a plan with enough bandwidth to comfortably support all the devices in your home to ensure smooth play with few connectivity issues.
When you get close to using all of the available bandwidth your service provider offers, the router (the device that links the devices in your home to your high-speed internet service provider) has to make decisions about how to divvy up the bandwidth among all the devices in your home. When the router starts taking away bandwidth from online gaming in order to support streaming video, you'll experience disconnects and high latency on your connection that negatively affects gameplay. For the best gaming experience, make sure the plan you select from the high-speed internet service provider comfortably supports all the devices in your home – that way you'll never get close to maxing out your connection.
3. Leave Some Room to Grow
You'll want to select a plan with slightly more bandwidth than you need in order to give yourself some breathing room. If you purchase more internet-connected devices in the future, you won't have to upgrade your plan. Similarly, if friends come over and want to stream video on their tablets or phones, you'll be able to accommodate them.
Selecting the right plan for your home's bandwidth needs, allows you to support all the internet-connected devices in your home while saving you money on your monthly internet service provider bill. Estimate your home's total bandwidth usage and choose a plan with a slightly higher bandwidth than you require in order to minimize the connectivity problems associated with nearing your plan's bandwidth cap.