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Lightning Fast: Determine How Much Internet Speed Your Business Really Needs

Sarah Pike
Sarah Pike

Unless you have recently checked your business’ Internet subscription plan and assessed your current usage, chances are you are either overpaying for a connection plan you don't need or your plan is u

Unless you have recently checked your business’ Internet subscription plan and assessed your current usage, chances are you are either overpaying for a connection plan you don't need or your plan is underserving your company needs with speeds that are too slow.

Though it sounds overwhelming, it’s an easy process to figure out how much speed you’re paying for and how much speed you actually need.

Here are the steps to accessing your need for speed. 

Test Your Speed

If you want to make sure you're getting the Internet speed you need and also getting your money's worth, first check your monthly statement from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

It should clearly state how many megabits per second (Mbps) you are paying for, also known as your Internet speed.

Picture of office staff at their desks working on computers.

Next, run a speed test to see how well your connection is actually performing. If it's way off, consider contacting your ISP to see if there is a hardware, connection or subscription issue.

In most cases, though, your Internet speed is dictated by factors located right in your office.

Assess Who Is Using Your Internet and Why

There are only two real factors at play when you calculate how much Internet speed you need: who is using the Internet and what are they using the Internet for.

First let's clear up a common misconception about Internet speeds. Your needs are not based merely on what you use the Internet to do; they are also influenced by the number of connections using the Internet at any given time.

If you have coworkers playing online games during their lunch break or you peruse social media sites while simultaneously streaming the news, the speed for each connection is going to suffer.

An easy way to measure your needed speed across all the people and products that go online is this step-by-step assessment tool, so you’ll never again have to question if you’re paying too much for Internet speed you might not even need.

While the tool focuses on the Internet speed in a home, it’s still accurate in determining the approximate Internet a larger space may need.

Related Article: 5 Technology Trends That Have The Power to Change Your Business

The Actual Speed You Need

It’s not difficult to figure out the actual Mbps your workspace needs based on how much bandwidth the more common online activities require.

Keep in mind that the more Internet connections your home has, the slower the speeds will be, so if multiple people are using separate devices at the same time, you'll need to increase the recommended Mbps noted.

Basic Browsing and Email

If you have a home office where the primary purpose of your Internet connection is to browse websites, check and send emails, and occasionally download files, you don't need a very fast Internet connection, especially if you have only one or two devices connected at any one time.

For simple email and web surfing, a download speed of 2 Mbps should be enough. Your upload speed will hardly matter, and it's likely that the cheapest base package your ISP offers will suffice.

Standard Quality Video Streaming

If you use a laptop, phone, or tablet to watch videos but don’t demand high-definition video and surround sound audio, then you don't need that fast of a connection.

Shorter videos like those usually found on YouTube, Facebook, or news and media websites will load fine with slower connections, provided you don't try to use multiple devices at once.

Standard quality video streaming (as well as audio streaming and most file downloads) should require no more than 3 Mbps if you're in a small office.

High-Definition Video and Multiple Videos

Streaming high-quality video uses the most Mbps. If you and your coworkers watch HD video, and especially if you have multiple devices streaming content simultaneously, you're going to need a decent download speed to keep things running smoothly.

For most small offices streaming HD video, a connection closer to 10 Mbps is needed if multiple devices are frequently used to stream video at the same time.

Video Editing and Other Speed Drains

If you are a truly involved Internet user, and that means someone into video editing or programming projects involving huge file downloads and uploads, or if you’re in a super-connected office with multiple devices connected at the same time, you may need the faster Internet speeds offered by many providers.

For most heavy Internet users, a download speed of 10 or 12 Mbps should be just fine as long as there are few other devices vying for megabits.

Once you’ve figured out how much speed you actually need based on what your workspace uses the Internet for, you can make sure you’re paying for the appropriate speed.

Image Credit: REDPIXEL PL/Shutterstock
Sarah Pike
Sarah Pike Member
Sarah is an adjunct professor and freelancer. When she’s not teaching or writing, she’s probably planning her next travel adventure or reading personal finance blogs. She's also a big fan of incorporating the Internet of Things into everyday life.