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How to Assess Bandwidth Needs

What we talk about when we talk about bandwidth

Bandwidth is a word we frequently use when discussing speed. However, bandwidth and speed are slightly different concepts in broadband—they’re related, but different.

Speed refers to the actual rate of speed with which data moves through the lines.

Bandwidth speaks to how much internet data can be moved through your network connection during a fixed period of time. The more bandwidth you have, the more data can come into your home when you need it.

The key questions to ask when determining your bandwidth needs are:

  1. How many people or devices will be using your internet at the same time?
    Most people underestimate the number of internet connected devices they have in their home—from PCs, laptops, and tablets to mobile phones, smart speakers, smart TVs, and even doorbells, refrigerators, and thermostats. The average home in the United States has between 21-25 devices in 2022.
  2. What will they be doing?
    Some tasks require very little bandwidth, such as checking email and social media, as well as browsing web pages and streaming music. Other tasks, such as online multiplayer gaming and 4K video streaming use quite a bit more.

Though the amount of bandwidth you need will vary based on your household size and the number of devices used, we recommend starting with at least 100 Mbps for the average household that streams movies or plays online video games.

Figuring out the numbers

Fortunately, there are a variety of bandwidth calculators available online. We recommend the one at the Consumer Reports website Consumer Report – How Much Internet Speed Do You Need?. Simply enter the number of each device type you have and you’ll get a rough idea of the bandwidth that would best serve your home.

Want to know more about how to determine the bandwidth you need? We’d love to hear from you!

Horizon is here to help!

At Horizon, we value our role as your trusted advisor when it comes to making the right choices about our internet services.

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