Is 10 Mbps Fast for Internet Speed?

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As a society, we’re reliant on technology and all the benefits it has to offer. That’s especially true about the internet.

When you spend time relaxing at home, you can scroll through social media on your phone, watch your favorite show using a streaming service, and shop online on a tablet, all at the same time. Strong Wi-Fi connections allow us to engage in our favorite activities and also connect with friends and family.

Without Wi-Fi, many tasks would have to be done manually. Having a strong internet connection that works quickly is crucial for people working from home, families trying to have a movie night, or businesses trying to earn a profit. Fast internet is highly sought after, and many populations benefit from it.

Before 2010, fewer than 70% of U.S. households had Wi-Fi. In 2019, that number increased to 86.6%. As time passes, more and more people use Wi-Fi to connect to the internet.

Despite the number of people using wireless internet, there’s still mystery around how Wi-Fi speed is measured and whether it can be improved.

Let’s break down the process of measuring your internet speed and identify how many megabits per second (Mbps) is considered a “fast internet speed.”

Measuring Internet Speed

Frequently measuring your internet speed allows you to make well-informed decisions about your current internet plan. Testing your internet speed is relatively easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

There are online speed tests that determine your upload and download speeds, as well as your ping (or latency) and Mbps. You can even make an account on some sites, so all of your test results are stored in one place.

When testing, you can refer back to old results and compare them to your new results. You may notice differences that can help you decide whether you need to adjust your internet plan.

So, what do upload and download mean in terms of speed? What is Mbps? What’s ping? The terms used to describe internet speed don’t pop up in everyday conversation.

Here are standard internet speed terms and brief definitions of each:

  • Upload speed: The rate at which data is sent to another device or server
  • Download speed: The rate at which data downloads from another device or server
  • Mbps (megabits per second): How much data your internet can transfer
  • Ping: How long it takes for data to travel from one computer and back to its origin

Understanding these terms on a basic level helps you evaluate your internet connection and address speed issues. For example, if you realize your Wi-Fi speed is slow, you may need to budget your finances to pay for an upgraded plan.

Is 10 Mbps Fast?

There is no simple answer to this question. Speed is mainly dependent on what Wi-Fi is being used for and how many users and devices are on the network.

However, it’s fair to say that 10 Mbps is an appropriate speed for one person. 10 Mbps is a fast internet speed for:

  • Gaming
  • File downloading
  • Telecommuting
  • Schoolwork
  • Video conferencing
  • Internet browsing

10 Mbps is suitable for individuals, but it isn’t enough for families with multiple devices connecting at once.

When we consider adding more than one person to this equation, the results vary. For example, let’s imagine a household with two parents and one teenager. Each parent has a phone, laptop, and tablet. The teenager has a phone and a laptop. This adds up to three people and eight devices.

It only takes 1 Mbps for one person to browse the internet with a decent connection. Browsing is a simple task without much data being transferred. Let’s say each family member was simply browsing on their smartphones. We multiply the Mbps by the number of people in the household. Just browsing on one device would require at least 3 Mbps. Simple, right?

Now, let’s say each family member browsed on two devices. The number would double, so it would require 6 Mbps. Remember that we’re using general web browsing as an example, which requires the smallest number of Mbps.

Let’s up the ante on this one — say all family members browse on their phones, and the parents are streaming Ultra HD 4K video on their tablets. It typically takes 25 Mbps to stream 4K. And remember that each parent has a tablet.

Here’s the total — this scenario would require a Wi-Fi plan that guarantees a minimum of 53 Mbps.

This example shows how adding devices to a household requires more bandwidth and speed to handle the extra data being uploaded and downloaded.

Streaming video requires higher Mbps to have a seamless viewing experience. When your internet connection has a low Mbps rating, videos tend to buffer. Buffering occurs when data is not being downloaded to your device fast enough.

Internet Speed in Your Home

If you’re looking to improve your internet speed, here are a few steps you can take to make the process easier:

  • Test your connection: If you notice your internet lagging when uploading or downloading, first run an internet test. Unplug the modem and router for 10 seconds, and make sure your devices are disconnected.
  • Review your results: Using the terms listed above, look at the results that came back. How is your speed?
  • Make a decision: Is your speed suited to your household needs? Are you planning on adding more devices to the mix?
  • Call your provider: Customer service agents can walk you through your options when you want to adjust your plan.

Ultimately, you have the power to purchase a Wi-Fi plan that better meets your needs.

10 Mbps: Suitable for the Individual

Suppose you’re a person living in a one-bedroom apartment or the only person in your household using a device. In that case, it’s safe to say that 10 Mbps is enough to cover you.

For households with multiple people who each have a few devices, it’s better to have speeds between 50-100 Mbps. Your videos will stream efficiently, gaming experiences will improve, and your overall internet connection will be noticeably smoother.