How much internet speed is enough?

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terrabiped
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How much internet speed is enough?

Post by terrabiped » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:10 pm

Google fiber internet is coming soon to my city (Austin) and I've been thinking about the marginal utility of Internet speed.

On the one hand, it seems like it would be kind of cool to be an early adopter of this exclusive service. Google says their fiber service, at $70 per month, will provide up to 1000 Mbps of downstream speed.

On the other hand, how much of that capacity would actually get utilized in typical online activities like loading web pages or watching a streaming movie? I'm thinking, about 1/100.

According to speedtest.net, I'm currently connecting at 5-6 Mbps at home, and 80 to 100 Mbps on my company computer at work. And yet, to my brain, web pages seem to take about the same amount of time to load whether I'm at home or at work. Either my brain is not very attuned to split second differences in speed, or the bottlenecks are elsewhere.

As far as movies, I stream Netflix to my TV through a Roku device. And both Roku and Netlfix say 5 Mbps is plenty for regular HD movies. I have no complaints.

So...I think 5-6 Mbps is plenty for what I do, and 12 Mbps (which is the next plan up from my current plan, would provide a nice surplus.) Beyond that, I see no good reason to pay extra to get 100x that speed.

What do you all think? Is there an angle I'm missing? What is your downstream speed?

nhrdls
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by nhrdls » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:29 pm

For your home, your current network should be good enough. One thing to consider is simultaneous activity - say two devices watching videos and those speeds are "upto", but rarely achieve those speeds. You and your neighbours will sharing same bandwidth and during peak netflix hours, things do slowdown a lot.

Having said that, I could definitely use high speed network, especially high upload speed at my work place. We have to upload lot of large files to external servers and its always pain. There is no fiber optics provider in the area where my work place is.

bradshaw1965
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by bradshaw1965 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:31 pm

If that's the case, Google has had an offering in their Kansas City install of 5MB internet for free if you pay for the $300 install. Likely to offer it again in Austin.

I'd have a hard time resisting the higher price offering however. I'd use it mainly for remote collaboration on media files. I work in video and any bandwidth available gets used in a hurry.
Last edited by bradshaw1965 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dhodson
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by dhodson » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:32 pm

As you mentioned, you would be fine with much slower speeds. I find caps are the main problem but in my house 3-4 different people like to use Netflix often and this pushes us over the Comcast cap of 300 gig per month

bradshaw1965
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by bradshaw1965 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:35 pm

dhodson wrote:As you mentioned, you would be fine with much slower speeds. I find caps are the main problem but in my house 3-4 different people like to use Netflix often and this pushes us over the Comcast cap of 300 gig per month
I'm hoping even the threat of Google fiber in Atlanta metro makes Comcast rethink their 300 Gig policy.

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LazyNihilist
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by LazyNihilist » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:42 pm

I wish Google Fiber comes to my place ASAP.
The other ISP's are really gouging their customers. :annoyed
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pennstater2005
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by pennstater2005 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:48 pm

dhodson wrote:As you mentioned, you would be fine with much slower speeds. I find caps are the main problem but in my house 3-4 different people like to use Netflix often and this pushes us over the Comcast cap of 300 gig per month
I have a 200G cap. Haven't hit it yet but with Netflix, two smartphones, and a laptop someday we may get close. Right now we have around 7-8mps and it is fine for our needs. Although we're on a promotional offer of 6 months high speed for $15.95/month which will increase to $45, I may drop down to the 1-2mps and see how that goes as it's only $27 and that's what I was previously getting with Verizon before I switched. I was able to stream Netflix no problem, but having Netflix and someone on the computer watching a youtube video was a no-go.
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Aish
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by Aish » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:50 pm

Hey, I created an account just so I could reply.

I don't know if Google will offer this in Austin, but when they initially rolled out in Kansas City, they offered a plan where you could pay $25 a month for a year or $300 upfront and you would be guaranteed 5/1 Mbps for at least seven years, if not more.

I would encourage you to look into this.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:59 pm

terrabiped wrote: So...I think 5-6 Mbps is plenty for what I do, and 12 Mbps (which is the next plan up from my current plan, would provide a nice surplus.) Beyond that, I see no good reason to pay extra to get 100x that speed.
This is exactly my experience - 5-6 Mbps is plenty, even for HD streaming. However, my wife and I are typically watching the same stream so the second is not adding bandwidth. Otherwise we're just doing general surfing which requires much less.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

killjoy2012
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by killjoy2012 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:03 pm

terrabiped wrote:So...I think 5-6 Mbps is plenty for what I do, and 12 Mbps (which is the next plan up from my current plan, would provide a nice surplus.)
This is the key sentence in your post - "for what I do". The average web page is small, so 5Mbps vs. 100Mbps download doesn't really matter. The difference becomes much more apparent with high bandwidth & concurrent user usage, or if you run a server. If you were downloading ISOs and other large files frequently, BitTorrent, streaming video/audio, work VPN, etc., you probably wouldn't find 5Mbps acceptable.

You might want to look at it the other way though. At least where I live, the cheapest cable modem offering is $50/month. While that's $25 less per month than Google, or $300/year more, the user experience (for anyone but light users) is magnitudes better at 1000 Mbps vs 5. I guess it just depends on how much Internet you use & how you value it. Especially if that decision makes it easier to cut video service & save some money there.

I'm at 30/3 Mbps and wouldn't think of dropping to lower tier. But I also work in IT.

ajcp
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by ajcp » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:20 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:You might want to look at it the other way though. At least where I live, the cheapest cable modem offering is $50/month. While that's $25 less per month than Google, or $300/year more, the user experience (for anyone but light users) is magnitudes better at 1000 Mbps vs 5. I guess it just depends on how much Internet you use & how you value it. Especially if that decision makes it easier to cut video service & save some money there.

I'm at 30/3 Mbps and wouldn't think of dropping to lower tier. But I also work in IT.
Yep, around here fios is $50 for a year then 70 for 15/5 and 60 then 80 for 50/25. I definitely don't need the gb speeds, but it's barely more expensive (or even the same price or cheaper!) than competitors. Plus you know you won't have upgrade to a new tier in a few years (remember when 56k wasn't that slow?)

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Don_Qua
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by Don_Qua » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:57 pm

Google Fiber is not coming to my city so I will continue to be cursed with Comcast. That said I have their 25 Mbps service and it is completely adequate for everything from surfing to Netflix to streaming music to downloading really big files in a timely manner.

Comcast had a promotion and they gave me their Blast service gratis for a few months. Blast bumped me up to 50 Mbps down and Speedtest confirmed that I was getting a bit more than that. But in day to day use I never noticed the extra speed and when the free promotion ended I declined to pay an extra $10 a month for something I couldn't detect unless I threw the Speedtest meter on it. 1000 Mbps sounds about as practical as a 1000hp Camry.

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mcrunyan
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by mcrunyan » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:09 pm

Our 15 Mbps was more than adequate until we installed an HD security camera system that spools to dropbox (and then back to the other computers we have). I think we'll be upgrading pretty soon.

The Wizard
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

10 to 20 Mbps is just fine for most instances involving 1-2 people.
If you have more than 1-2 people using the internet heavily, then upscale proportionately...
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ginmqi
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by ginmqi » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:43 pm

4-6Mbps is plenty fast for most people. But now with the advent of Netflix and other HD-streaming services the demand for bandwidth will be higher since no one wants to watch pixels dance around. Anything above that....you either need to watch HD streaming regularly or just want the fast speeds for torrents and other downloads. Most households are being sold faster speeds than they really need IMO. Google Fiber is obviously way more than most people need but it does help drive down costs at the lower tiers.

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FrogPrince
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by FrogPrince » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:53 pm

Normally I'm frugal, but I think bandwidth is an exception to the rule.

Remember when a 56kbps modem was once enough? I think you can never have too much of bandwidth, as it will enable new things that you don't do now because it's too slow. For example, uploading videos, which only the patient do with regularity. Perhaps backing up your computers to the cloud.

The Wizard
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:58 pm

FrogPrince wrote:Normally I'm frugal, but I think bandwidth is an exception to the rule.

Remember when a 56kbps modem was once enough? I think you can never have too much of bandwidth, as it will enable new things that you don't do now because it's too slow. For example, uploading videos, which only the patient do with regularity. Perhaps backing up your computers to the cloud.
I seem to recall it being difficult to stream BluRay (HD) videos using 56 Kbps modem...
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ajcp
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by ajcp » Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:37 am

The Wizard wrote:
FrogPrince wrote:Normally I'm frugal, but I think bandwidth is an exception to the rule.

Remember when a 56kbps modem was once enough? I think you can never have too much of bandwidth, as it will enable new things that you don't do now because it's too slow. For example, uploading videos, which only the patient do with regularity. Perhaps backing up your computers to the cloud.
I seem to recall it being difficult to stream BluRay (HD) videos using 56 Kbps modem...
Maybe you're different, but bluray streaming didn't exist when I had a 56k modem. For the things I used at the time, 56k wasn't that bad. Right now 15mb is enough for me, but in 5 years? I don't know, maybe not. On any other service, I'll have to jump to their next tier, but on Google I'd be able to stay right where I am.

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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by KyleAAA » Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:45 am

Google fiber is more about the future. Most internet-centric applications don't utilize that kind of bandwidth now because it's simply been unavailable. But think of the possibilities if something like this is widely adopted. At that point, the internet essentially becomes a hard drive.

fsrph
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by fsrph » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:10 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
terrabiped wrote: So...I think 5-6 Mbps is plenty for what I do, and 12 Mbps (which is the next plan up from my current plan, would provide a nice surplus.) Beyond that, I see no good reason to pay extra to get 100x that speed.
This is exactly my experience - 5-6 Mbps is plenty, even for HD streaming. However, my wife and I are typically watching the same stream so the second is not adding bandwidth. Otherwise we're just doing general surfing which requires much less.
I have Verizon 3 Mbps service. It's the fastest offered in my area. Netflix streams fine, the internet speed is enough for my needs. As others said, if you have multiple devices in use at the same time, you may need more speed. But, imho, very high speeds are not needed for most users. At my work, the speed is much higher but there's a lot of users at the same time.

Francis
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Ged
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by Ged » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:44 am

I was quite happy when I had 8/30 Mbps and I'm a pretty heavy user. That being said my current ISP offered me an upgrade to 30/100 Mbps for $5 mo. more and I took it. There are some times when downloading large files that I really appreciate it. Is it NECESSARY? No, but it's fun.

Caps would be something I'd really hate. Glad my ISP doesn't have 'em.

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SnapShots
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Re: How much internet speed is enough?

Post by SnapShots » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:10 am

I think, Fiber Optic is probably much better than Cable. We have a busy household with lots of devices.

Two kids 10 yrs and 8 yrs. Three adults. Each person has a computer. An iPhone. (kids have hand-me-down iPhones and play games on them) Three iPads. PlayStation. Roku. A TV with it's own wireless connection for streaming movies. A Wireless printer. Two Belkin Range Extenders.

If the devices aren't turned off, there are be as many as 19 devices tapping into the signal.

Four TVs with Video of Demand connections, which work through MOCAs ... cable TV connections and does not use WiFi signal.

With 15 Mbps, there were often complaints of slow connections during game playing or stuttering when streaming a movie.

We went to 30 Mbps for the same cost as 15. Cost of Internet speed is going down. :sharebeer

Speed tests show 30Mbps at the Modem but the speed goes down by almost half (15-20 Mbps) when tested from the Router. Speed tests degrade more when testing each device ... depending on where it is located (how far away it is from the Router) and how many devices are turned on.
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