What is the Ideal Internet Speed for Streaming Content?

As Internet speed has vastly improved over the years, the demand for streaming services such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, the Rose, and Netflix has driven many Internet users to push the limits of their Internet connections. In order to get the best speeds possible out of your Internet service provider, using an 802.11n router is vital to ensuring your devices are getting the bandwidth they need. Netflix requires a minimum speed of 0.5 Mbps to stream content; however, they recommend that your speed is at least 1.5 Mbps. If you want higher image quality from the content you stream, you’ll need even faster speeds: 3.0 Mbps for DVD-quality video, 5.0 Mbps for HD video, and 12 Mbps for 3D video.

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When to Avoid Streaming

Although high-speed Internet connections are the norm today, there are cases when you shouldn’t be pushing your bandwidth to the limit. Namely, as a rule of thumb, if you do not have unlimited data on your cellular plan, you will want to avoid Internet streaming on your mobile device to avoid overages. Even if you have unlimited cellular data, it usually is best to limit streaming to WiFi connections because they are usually more reliable than connecting via cellular connections.

Additionally, if you travel regularly, many public hotspots in airports, airplanes, and other high-traffic areas aren’t built to handle bandwidth-intensive activities such as multimedia streaming. Fortunately, if a provider charges extra for extra speed, they will typically make the pricing clear on the payment page.

How to Determine Your Internet Speed

While bandwidth measurement is a technical topic, you can easily measure your Internet speed with only a few clicks by using an Internet speed test. In particular, you will want to use a responsive tool because this means the test is run in your browser. This allows you to ensure that no matter the device you use, the metrics are uniform. If you find that your Internet connection is significantly slower than the speeds advertised by your Internet service provider, it is best to contact the company so they can run the appropriate troubleshooting tests.