How Fast an Internet Connection Do You Need?

There are all sorts of different speeds of internet connection available now. The slowest speeds are what you get with a dialup connection and in that instance the speed of connection you get has already been made as fast as that type of connection will support and so if you can't switch to broadband you are limited to that slow speed with no way of really making things all that much faster (although there are some ways of making certain types of downloads run faster).

A cable broadband connection shares the line capacity between all of those connected to the same cable. When you are the only one on the cable using the internet then your connection will be extremely fast. As the number of people using the cable increases your share of the capacity of the cable gets smaller and smaller and your internet connection slows down. If you have that type of broadband connection then you want to time your biggest downloads so that they take place at times when the others are least likely to be using the cable.

ADSL broadband connections have their connection speed set by the ISP at the time of your purchasing the service. ADSL1 services generally run at speeds between 256 and 8192 while ADSL2 runs at much higher speeds. Whichever speed that your particular plan gives you is the speed that you will always get unless you are on what is known as a shaped plan where the speed is reduced to a much lower level for the rest of the month when you reach your monthly bandwidth limit. Of course most ISPs allow you to switch to a faster plan by paying the extra that the faster plan costs.

There are several things to consider with an ADSL connection when deciding on what connection speed to purchase. The first and most obvious is that the higher the speed of the plan that you purchase the more that it is likely to cost. Also with a higher speed plan it is much easier to download bigger files meaning that you are more likely to use more bandwidth with a higher speed plan than you are with a slower speed plan.

Given that different speed ADSL connections cost different amounts of money, selecting the appropriate speed of plan for your intended use of the service will help you to get the best value for your money. Different usage patterns will require different speed plans in order to have your connection working effectively.

If most of your internet access involves reading and writing emails and viewing web pages that are mostly text and static pictures then the slowest speed broadband connection should be quite adequate for your requirements. If you want to view video files from the web on a regular basis then the slowest plans will no longer meet your needs as the video file will often play faster than it can be downloaded and so there will be continual pauses in the video displaying while it waits for the download to catch up. If you find that happening regularly then it is time to move to a faster plan and if you are planning on viewing a lot of video you may want to look at getting a faster plan before you run into this problem.

If you want to be able to regularly download huge files then you may need an even faster internet connection than would be required for viewing video files in order that the really huge files that you want to download will do so within a reasonable time frame. Of course if you are doing that then you will need a correspondingly huge bandwidth allowance to go with it.

Another aspect that will affect the speed that you will require is whether you have a single computer that is connected to the internet or whether you have a home network with several computers on it so that several family members can access the internet all at once. With multiple computers sharing the connection you may need a slightly faster connection than would be required where there is only the one computer.

Multitasking on your computer will also affect the speed you need. If you regularly have files downloading in the background while you are also trying to access web pages and emails then you may require a faster plan than if you only do one thing at a time.

To get the best value for money out of your internet connection you will want a plan that offers the slowest speed that is fast enough to not interfere with your regular internet use (if there are rare occasions where the plan is slow enough to noticeably affect your internet access then that shouldn't be an issue while it remains a rare situation - when it starts to become too common is the time to upgrade to a faster plan).


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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