Why 100Mbps is more than fast enough for your home

Upgrading to the fastest fibre connection available from your service provider is tempting, but you could be spending money on bandwidth you don’t need.

Fibre can offer a massive increase in download and upload speeds over DSL and LTE connections, and users may opt for the fastest line – normally 1Gbps – to ensure they take full advantage of their access.

While the adage “faster is better” is normally a great fit when it comes to Internet connectivity, getting a fibre line over 100Mbps is overkill for many users.

Before ordering the maximum speed connection, there are a number of factors you must consider – as detailed below.

Multiple Users

The more connected devices in your home, the heavier your household’s bandwidth requirements.

A fibre line over 100Mbps can provide enough bandwidth to multiple heavy Internet users, reducing latency and congestion, but this only applies to a household of heavy downloaders or media streamers.

Another issue with this level of Internet usage is the data cost, and the fibre package would either need to have a high data cap or an uncapped account – with limited shaping or throttling.

Most households would not use enough data to warrant 1Gbps of bandwidth, and multiple standard Internet users can comfortably share a single 100Mbps fibre line.

A 100Mbps line is also sufficient for gamers, as they can play online with a stable connection while other users stream videos or download files on the same connection.

Playing online games requires a minimal amount of bandwidth, and the only advantage gained by playing on fibre is a lower latency than DSL.

Streaming and Downloads

Top-speed connections really shine when it comes to file downloads, but a 1Gbps line provides diminishing returns for small file sizes.

For example: a 2GB file will take about 20 seconds to download on a 1Gbps connection. On a 100Mbps line, it will take about 3 minutes.

As a percentage difference, the discrepancy is enormous. In a real-world setting, though, a 2-minute wait will often have no consequences.

Unless high-speed bulk downloads or uploads are a priority, a 100Mbps line will be suitable for most files – including game updates, cloud synchronisation, and media downloads.

Live streamers also don’t need to break the bank for a fibre line, as most fibre connections should deliver enough upload speed to comfortably stream live video and audio – due to their symmetrical speeds.

With equal upload and download speeds available, users on a 10Mbps fibre line will not have the same experience as they did on a 10Mbps ADSL line – which is asymmetric and offers very slow upload speeds.

How much speed you need

While file downloads and uploads will continue to improve as your fibre line speed increases – until your hardware or accessed server causes a bottleneck – almost all other tasks will reach a point at which speed improvements are not discernable.

This includes web browsing, which will not see much improvement from 100Mbps to 1Gbps.

According to a report published by Engadget in 2016, a line speed of 5-10Mbps is sufficient for web browsing. This is due to the fact that most websites do not load a lot of large assets, and their load times are limited by server speed and geographic location.

Another factor to consider when purchasing a fibre connection faster than 100Mbps is how much bandwidth do your online tasks require. The list below details the bandwidth requirements of common online activities.

  • Gaming (Battlefield 1) – 222Kbps
  • Web browsing – 5-10Mbps
  • Music streaming in high quality – Up to 320Kbps
  • Netflix streaming at 4K UHD – 25Mbps
  • Skype video call HD – Up to 1.5Mbps
  • Downloads – Limited by server capacity and hardware speeds at 1Gbps.

So, before you buy that top-end line, find out what speeds you really need.

Now read: Vumatel’s 200Mbps fibre is now available

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Why 100Mbps is more than fast enough for your home