A Guide to Internet Speed vs. Bandwidth

Written by Ankit
2 mins, 22 secs Read
Updated On November 16, 2023

The difference between internet speed and bandwidth is commonly confused or ignored because their actual definitions are unclear. The thing is that they are both two different aspects of your internet service. If you continue mixing them up, you will never honestly know which part of the service makes your videos buffer constantly and the one that makes it impossible to open big files. 

The service provider is the one that gets most of the brunt of the anger when something does not work right, and they might be the culprit. You may also have outdated equipment, such as your Wi-Fi router, that can cause issues with your connection. 

Before calling to yell at them, let’s quickly discuss the difference between the two so you can understand what you need. From there, you can check your service and see if the one you have opted for can handle your needs.

Internet Speed 

The internet speed is how fast information can be uploaded, or downloaded, to and from the server. This is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). This aspect of the service can cause serious frustration when you are trying to watch your favorite show that keeps buffering or not loading. Let’s look at the speeds that you need, depending on the tasks that you do.

  • 0 to 5 Mbps – Emailing, browser searches, streaming music on one device
  • 5 to 40 Mbps – One-player online gaming, video conferences, and video streaming on one device
  • 40 to 100 Mbps – Downloading large files, multiplayer online gaming, and HD video streaming on a couple of devices
  • 100 to 500 Mbps – Gaming online for many players, streaming HD videos on different screens, and fast downloading of files
  • 500 to 1000+ Mbps – Doing various tasks on many different devices

Internet Bandwidth

Bandwidth is also measured in Mpbs, but it is not the speed of the internet. The internet bandwidth is how much data can be uploaded or downloaded at once. This allows you to work from home and upload files for your boss while two of your children are playing games online. Let’s take a look at the suggested amounts of bandwidth needed for various different tasks.

  • 5 to 10 Mbps Upload– Streaming videos or sharing pictures, heavy use of the cloud, online gaming
  • 10 to 50 Mbps Download – Light video streaming, social media, emailing
  • 50 to 100+ Mbps Download – Gaming and heavy video streaming

Final Thoughts

If you have ever wondered, ‘what is a good internet speed?‘ or ‘how much bandwidth do you need?’ it is vital to understand the difference between the two. To sum it up in one sentence, the bandwidth is how much data can be uploaded or downloaded, and the speed is how fast those uploads and downloads can go. The two work together to create the perfect internet connection.

The main thing to remember is that without one at the correct levels, the other will not work correctly, no matter how high it is. Make sure to check all the details of the internet plan before deciding on the one that works for you. It is also crucial to think ahead; otherwise, you may have to constantly change your service amounts. 

For example, if you have two toddlers at home, they will soon be teens wanting constant access to the internet. Without the proper speeds and bandwidth, this will not be an easy thing to accomplish. Always think and plan ahead so you do not have to ever hear about how the internet service is so horrible in the house because one of your family members could not connect to their Facebook page videos.