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Internet speeds explained

29th April 2021

Most of us rely on the internet every day. Whether it is for work, checking the weather, browsing social media, or streaming programmes on Netflix. An internet connection is crucial for all these activities.

While slow broadband is a hindrance when using for leisure, it has a greater more detrimental impact on businesses.  In today‚Äôs world, everyone expects everything now, or even yesterday! That is why your business needs sufficient internet speeds to hold a competitive edge.

Despite our reliance on the internet, many of us do not really understand the technicalities of it. Like what internet speeds mean, what services are available to you and how to choose between the options available.

What is internet speed?

Quite simply, your internet speed is how fast information is transferred and it is calculated in megabits per second (Mbps). For example, your internet speed will determine how long it takes for a web page to load or how long it takes for an email to send.  

However, your internet speed is not the only factor to consider. You also require a suitable bandwidth to sustain your broadband performance. Without complicating things too much, your bandwidth determines how much data you can receive each second. If your internet speed is high and your bandwidth is low, then too much activity at once, such as multiple devices using the same connection, could result in a slower experience. Therefore, both your internet speed and bandwidth must be sufficient for your requirements.

Upload and Download speeds

When considering a broadband package, there are two speeds to be aware of. Your download speed and your upload speed. Downloading is where data is transferred from the internet to your computer. For example, opening a webpage or receiving emails. Whereas uploading is where data is transferred from your computer to the internet. For example, uploading a document to SharePoint or sending an email.

Largely, our online activity is download based so most services are designed to provide a much better download speed than upload speed.

How much internet speed does your business need?

To decide how fast your broadband speeds need to be for your business requirements there are a few things to be considered, namely:

  • The number of internet users in your office
  • How many users will be connecting to the internet at once
  • What activities they will use the internet for

Depending on the size of your business and whether you have a dedicated I.T department, it can be challenging to assess your internet speed requirements. Advice from an I.T specialist is recommended to help you make the best choice.

One factor that will dictate what service you can adopt is what broadband services are available at your premises. You can check the products available to you at Broadband Checker

Which tasks require which speeds?

To provide some contexts, the table below displays some internet activities and how much data they require.  

Internet speed (download speed)Number of usersActivities
5 Mbps1 -2Email, web browsing, research
25 Mbps3- 5Downloading large files, basic Wi-Fi
75 Mbps5-10Video streaming, file sharing, POS transactions
150 Mbps10-15Video conferencing, data backups, cloud computing
250 Mbps15-20Server hosting, frequent streaming/conferencing
500 Mbps20-30Multiple-server hosting, hefty backups
1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)30+All-round high-speed service
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