How much Internet bandwidth do I need for my home?

Internet Service Providers sell different tiers of service.  These tiers are categorized in terms of speed/bandwidth and sometimes caps gqd8sgc.  But how do I know how much bandwidth I need to buy?

First, one needs to understand bandwidth and caps.  And it is really simple if you think of it like the water supply to your house.  When your house was built, the builder chose to use a certain size pipe.  The amount of water that pipe can carry depends mostly on the pipe’s diameter.  So, a 1 inch pipe will carry more water than a 3/4 inch pipe.  How big that pipe needs to be might be determined by how many showers are taken at the same time.  A 3/4 inch pipe may be able to serve 2 showers at the same time and still give good water pressure for that nice sting and back massage.  But if someone else turns on a 3rd shower, or the washing machine starts up, the pressure drops.  People can still get a shower, but it is less satisfying since it the pressure is lower because the main pipe limits the flow.  It doesn’t matter how many showers are in the house, only how many are in use at the same time.

Choosing a bandwidth option is like choosing the size of the pipe to the house.  Currently, streaming TV & movies is, by far, the biggest user of Internet bandwidth.  Netflix uses around 5 use this link.5mbps (megabits per second) for an full quality HD movie.  If two people watch Netflix on 2 different TVs, that will double the bandwidth usage to 11mbps.  So, our 12m service is just enough for that.  If a 3rd Netflix stream were started, it would work, but all 3 streams would compress more and reduce picture quality.  Also, while 2 Netflix movies are streaming, there isn’t much bandwidth left over for surfing, gaming, etc.  Just like water pressure in showers, it doesn’t matter how many TV’s or screens are in the house, just how many are used at the same time.

Caps matter also.  Most residential ISPs have caps.  AtNex does not.  To use the water analogy, a cap would be like having a limit on how much water you can draw from the system per month.  You can pull it slowly with a small pipe, or really fast with a big one, but when you hit the cap, they charge you more.  Comcast and AT&T have caps.  AtNex has no caps, so you can download all day & night.

The 5.5Mbps benchmark is good for 720p or 1080i HD.  The new 4K HD TV will use a lot more.  Netflix is recommending a bandwidth of at least 25mbps to support 4K TV.  But you don’t need to buy that bandwidth unless you have a 4K TV to watch.

There might be other factors in how much bandwidth you need.  An I.T. professional may need to download large disk images often.  A gamer needs some bandwidth, but is mostly concerned with latency (lag).  A real concern is security cameras.  If the video feed from the cameras goes to “the Cloud”, a lot of upstream bandwidth may be needed.  So, if you have one of these less common needs, call us at 770-222-4455 and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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