Speed Test: Importance of Internet Speed

Internet speed is a vital and integral part of internet service quality. Learn about internet speed tests and the importance of internet speed.

The ability to access the internet for countless purposes is increasing in necessity every single year. In the last year especially, internet service providers were at times overwhelmed with consumers hopping online simultaneously for work, school, entertainment, and medical purposes each day. Internet speed is a vital and integral part of internet service quality.

Consumers rely on internet access to be as fast as possible for uploads, downloads, professional needs, and overall communication-based reasons. If you are uncertain if your internet speed is meeting your needs, it is time to consider performing an internet speed test. Continue reading to learn more about internet speed tests and the importance of internet speed in modern times.

An Overview of Internet Speed

The concept of internet speed is basic, at least on the surface. Internet speed is essentially the speed at which your internet service performs necessary functions and tasks. Peel off a layer and internet speed refers to the rate at which content and/or data travels between the World Wide Web (WWW) and your Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Peel off yet another layer, and internet speed is referred to as the rate at which your internet service allows you to upload and download data in rates of megabits per second (Mbps) or kilobits per second (Kbps). Please note: One megabit is equal 1,024 Kbps.

Uploads and Downloads

Upload and download speeds happen at different rates. Download speeds are commonly more important to average internet users. What do download and upload speeds entail? A download is data or a file pulled from an external server to your Wi-Fi-enabled device. The download speed refers to how quickly the applicable data or file is downloaded. Download speeds are typically clocked as Mbps. To use simple numbers, if your download speed is 100 Mbps and the file you are downloading is 100 megabytes, it will theoretically take one second to download the file. A 1,000 megabyte file (also 1 gigabyte or 1GB) downloaded at the same internet speed would theoretically require ten seconds to complete the process. The term “theoretically” is used because multiple factors impact internet speed and cause it to fluctuate. This is discussed in more detail below.

Internet download speed also impacts and enables users to stream music, experience higher-quality video chats and quickly browse the internet from tab-to-tab. While upload speeds are less important to the average consumer, they are significantly important to businesses, creators and other professional services. Internet upload speed indicates how fast a user can send data to another server or location online.

Why Internet Speed Is Important

Internet speed is important for reasons beyond convenience. Convenience is a factor, however. Long gone are the days when a person had to impatiently wait on files to send or arrive. Most internet interactions are instant or as close-to instant as possible, especially the sending of emails and small files. Consumers grew accustomed to faster internet speeds and the conveniences it affords them. Therefore, internet speed-based convenience is still important - because it is universally expected. This convenience applies to professional situations now as well. Many employees are working remotely. Only a fast internet connection makes this possible, especially when live chats, live video conferencing and fast file transfers are required. This applies across the board to business meetings, telehealth appointments and live virtual classrooms. Granted, this also still applies to personal uses such as virtual memorial services and the sharing of events among family members temporarily separated due to work, military deployment, or medical situations.

Internet speed is important for sharing media. This allows social media influencers to maintain their brands at lightning speeds. It allows them to post live-action videos, concerts, or real-life scenarios. Download access has also become virtually unlimited. Fast internet speed allows for the download of large video or other types of data files without lag or interference with the rest of your computer, Wi-Fi, or online system. Faster internet speeds also help generate increased productivity. This is true in the personal, creative, and professional realms alike. Fast reliable internet speed is also important for the following reasons:

  • Increases your dependability (important when you are a teacher, medical professional, or other type of businessperson).
  • Provides faster online tool responses (improved Customer Relationship Manager software; improved customer experiences; increased profits and inventory management, etc.).
  • Increased access for consumers to reliable online tutorials, helpdesks, and customer service agents).
  • Increased access to medical appointments for disabled patients or patients without transportation.
  • Overall enhanced cloud experience for all users and businesses alike.

Your Internet Speed - Here’s What to Know

Your internet speed is affected by a variety of factors. Internet service providers claim to offer certain upload and download speeds - and strive to consistently provide them. Having too many consumers on their servers using up company bandwidth simultaneously often slows down the speed at which these providers can deliver, however. Your personal device might also have outdated applications or underperforming components. This too would slow down your internet speed, even if your service provider is delivering as promised. Additional factors capable of slowing down your internet speed might include:

  • External interference.
  • Damaged home internet equipment.
  • Damaged towers.
  • Slow latency speeds or ping rates (time it takes for the signal sent by your device to reach its destination and back to you).

Ideal Internet Speed for Various Tasks

In general, a good download speed for internet surfing and email services is 10 Mbps. Video streaming and online gaming generally require an internet speed of 25 Mbps or faster to perform their best. A good upload speed for high-definition (HD) video calling is 1.2 Mbps. 25 Mbps is generally required when your home or business network is utilized for online schoolwork, telehealth appointments/meetings and streaming. Please note: Fiber-optic connection networks are the best choices for consumers who need equally fast upload and download speeds.

Typical Internet Speeds Top Companies Provide

Typical households require internet speeds ranging between 25 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps (1GB) for one to five-plus users. These speeds range from basic through average to extremely fast, respectively. Xfinity Internet provides download/upload speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 2GB (fastest available). Mediacom Internet provides download/upload speeds ranging from 60 Mbps to 1GB (also quite fast). Three more top internet providers and their average download and upload speeds include:

Speed Tests

An internet speed test allows you to test the speed of your internet connection. Running an internet speed test reveals the differences between what your internet provider promises to deliver and what speed you are receiving. A speed test determines your location and the test server nearest to you. The speed test “pings” the test server, which responds. The total ping and response time is measured in milliseconds. A download test happens next. Multiple server connections are opened and a small piece of data is downloaded. The time it takes to latch onto the data fragment and the amount of resources your network needed to accomplish this are measured. The test is repeated for upload speeds, albeit in reverse.

Average Prices Based on Speed

High-speed cable internet (10-200 Mbps) costs $58 on average. DSL (1-80 Mbps) and Fiber Optic (30-100 Mbps) cost $43 and $56 per month on average respectively. Finally, Satellite (12-25 Mbps) internet services cost approximately $91 per month on average.