Approaching the Speed Limit | OEC News

Find the best internet speed for you

20 Mbps. 100 Mbps. 1 GB. These internet speeds mean little to most people. So how do we know the speed we need?

We measure internet speeds in megabits per second or Mbps. 1 Mbps represents the capacity to transfer one million bits of data each second. 1 Mbps is equal to one small photo. A gigabyte, GB, contains 1000 Mbps or 1000 photos.

Figuring out the speed you need is tricky. Most major streaming platforms, YouTube, Netflix and Hulu, only require 5 Mbps to stream a high-definition movie, but a slower internet speed is not enough to do everything you need. Slower speeds only work if you have one device connected at a time.

Deloitte’s Connectivity & Mobile Trends 2021 Survey found that the average U.S. household has 25 connected devices, more than double the 11 reported in their 2019 survey. This includes laptops, tablets, smartphones, streaming devices and smart home devices.

“One of the things we look at when people call our office to report low speeds is the number of devices connected to their network,” said senior manager of fiber marketing and subscriber support, Kayla Wade. “Too many devices can negatively impact their bandwidth and slow down their Wi-Fi.”

Every device connected to your network takes away from your bandwidth or the volume of information sent over a connection at one time. The more you ask your internet connection to do, i.e., the more connected devices, the more bandwidth you need.

How do you know what speed you need in your home? Look at how you are going to use it. A general rule of thumb is to see how many devices you use simultaneously. 100 Mbps can typically stream HD video on up to five devices. 1 GB can handle up to 10 while maintaining HD status.

However, this is not a hard, fast rule. Some activities, like live-streaming video games, use more bandwidth than scrolling through social media on your phone. When in doubt, go with a higher speed. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a TV show buffer for the 10th time.

Understanding the Wi-Fi speed required to properly run a business is a bit more complicated.

Commercial subscribers face several challenges residential subscribers do not. Businesses often use cloud-based software, security cameras and Zoom meetings with remote workers. All these factors impact the required speeds and bandwidth needed to function.

It is more than back-end office processes demanding internet access. If a small business needs Wi-Fi to process payments through its point of sale, buffering and slow speeds can result in money lost. Working with a provider who understands your needs and ensures you have the speed you need is essential.

“Our team spends time getting to know our business partners,” said senior manager of sales and business development, Michelle Hohlier. “They all have their own unique service needs. By getting to know them, we can ensure they have the exact services they need.”

Whether in the home or the marketplace, finding the speed best for you and your needs is important. Look at the things you do and find a speed that can support the activities you value most.

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