you can get information from the web to
your device. Upload speed is the speed
at which you can send information from
your device to the web.
You can test your internet speed for free
That way, you’ll
know where you are now with your
How many internet-connected
devices do you have in your home?
Add up all the computers, tablets,
smartphones, smart TVs, Blu-ray disc
players, video game consoles, streaming
media devices, and smart home moni-
toring/automation equipment you use.
According to survey results released by
Pew Research in May 2017, the typical
(median) American household contains
five of them, and nearly one-in-five
American households are “hyper-con-
nected,” meaning they contain 10 or
more of these devices.
The more devices you have, the more
bandwidth/speed you need. Since
bandwidth is shared by every user and
device connected to your home net-
work, multiple online demands going
on simultaneously will require an
internet plan with speeds at the higher
end of the spectrum. Remember, even
background processes like software
updates use your bandwidth.
How do you use the internet?
If you only have a desktop computer
that’s used to check email and surf the
net, then a relatively slower internet
connection (such as 10 Mbps) may suf-
fice. However, if you have a family of
several people simultaneously using your
internet connection for data-intensive
activities—such as streaming HD video
and music, online gaming, sharing photos
and videos online, video chat, and cloud
storage—then you’re probably going to
be happiest with speeds in roughly the
50-200+ Mbps range.
What are your internet
Let’s say you only occasionally watch
videos online. In this case, you may be
willing to tolerate slow load times and
buffering. But if streaming HD movies is
a cherished part of your routine, you’ll
be frustrated by slow speeds and the
annoying lag that comes with them.
Make sure the internet speed you
choose is in line with the value you
place on internet performance quality.
Do family members or
houseguests complain about
your internet connection?
If your answer to this question is
“Yes,” it’s a sign that you might need
more bandwidth/speed. However, it’s
important to note that other factors
can also negatively impact your inter-
For example, if your wireless router is
outdated, you may not be getting the
speed you expect from your plan. Some
older routers have a speed cap limiting
the maximum internet speed possible.
Replacing your router may be all that’s
necessary to get the speed you need to
keep everybody happy.
Other possible culprits for underper-
forming internet service include:
Your wireless router is in the wrong
Keep your router centrally
located and away from thick walls
made of brick or concrete, water,
Neighbors are using your Wi-Fi.
a password on your router or limiting
which devices can access your network
will keep other people from using your
network and slowing it down.
Your computer is infected with a virus.
This can make your internet connec-
tion appear to be sluggish, when in
reality, it’s a computer issue. Run a
virus scan and if a virus is detected,
follow the instructions.
Given the importance of the internet to so
many activities, it’s worth taking the time
to find exactly the right plan for you.
Get More Help FromYour ISP
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers a range of internet plans with varying speeds to match
the requirements of different households. You can get information by visiting the website. Better
yet, call the customer service line and get their advice on which internet plan might work best for
you. Customer service representatives have experience helping many customers and can make
suggestions on what might work best for you based on your location, devices, users, online
activities, and home network setup.
Keep in mind that your internet speed requirements will probably change over time. Regularly
evaluate your plan and talk to your ISP for up-to-date plan information.