With so many different Internet plans out there, and so many different uses for the Internet, it can be difficult to figure out which plan is the right one for you. If you are trying to choose a Spectrum Internet plan and don't know what speed you need, read on to learn how to figure it out.
Measuring Internet Speed
The speed of an Internet connection is measured in Megabits per second, or Mbps. It's a measurement of how many millions of "bits" of information can be downloaded every second. Internet plans provide a range of different speeds. Most are faster than 1 Mbps and few are faster than 1,000 Mbps. An Internet speed of 25 Mbps is generally good for a single person using the most common applications.
Figuring Out Your Internet Speed Needs
One of the most common uses for the Internet is streaming videos, shows, and movies. The speed you need depends on the format you watch them in. If you are happy with standard definition and watch common streaming sites such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, you won't need more than 3 Mbps to watch. If you prefer high definition, you'll need 5 Mbps. If you want 4k or ultra high definition, you'll need 15 Mbps for Amazon, 25 Mbps for Netflix, and 35 Mbps for YouTube. Hulu does not offer anything above high definition. Gaming is another common Internet use. If you are playing a solitary game on a console, depending on your console and the game you are playing, you will need anywhere from 1.5 Mbps to 6 Mbps. If you are playing a competitive online game, you could need 100 Mbps. Skype conversations are also common, and those need up to 1.5 Mbps. Simply browsing the Web can take up to 5 Mbps. If you are trying to download very large files quickly, you could need as much as 200 Mbps.
Keep in mind that upload speeds and download speeds are not the same thing. Most people do not upload a lot to the Internet, but if you need to upload large files regularly, keep in mind that upload speed is generally about 1/10th of a connection's download speed.
To figure out exactly how much you need, try to figure out the worst case scenario for Internet use. Take the number of people you have in your household and then calculate what would happen if they all used high speed Internet applications at the same time. For example, if you have 5 people in your household who all watch different shows on Netflix in Ultra HD, you would need a speed of at least 175 Mbps.
Spectrum's Internet Plans
Spectrum has three Internet plans. Its basic plan has download speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Its Ultra plan has speeds of up to 400 Mbps. Its Gig plan has speeds of up to 940 Mbps. Keep in mind that you only get these maximum speeds if you are hardwired to the Internet. If you use wifi, the actual speed you'll get is from 1/3 to 1/2 of this, depending on your wifi connection.
If you are the only one using the Internet, or if there are only 3 or 4 other moderate users in your household, the basic plan should do. If you have a larger household with several people, many of whom game competitively or regularly upload and download large files, the Ultra plan is a better bet. The Gig plan is only needed if you have a very large number of users who all play different competitive online games, upload and download huge files, and have smart home technology.
If you have any questions about which plan to pick, contact Spectrum's customer support. It has phone, chat, email, and help desk options.
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