What is a Fast Internet Speed?
Internet speed can be a complex topic, and determining the fastest speed in the world can become easily a hot debate among people. However, to make everything simple, you can just determine an internet connection’s speed by checking its download and download speeds.
As of now, according to the recent Akamai’s State of the Internet report (Q4 2015), the fastest average connection speed in the world is around 26.7Mb/s (megabit per second). Currently, South Korea enjoys this. Next to South Korea is Sweden (19.1 Mb/s), Norway (18.8 Mb/s), and Japan (17.4 Mb/s). The United States’ average is around 12.6 Mb/s and the global average speed is around 5.6 Mb/s.
By the way, in this report, average internet speed is the average of all users who came into contact with an Akamai CDN (Content Delivery Network) and cloud services. Popular sites and companies that use Akamai are Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Bing, and even eBay. Of course, you may not notice if a site is using Akamai, unless you pay attention to where the pages and content for the websites you access are downloaded from.
Anyway, when it comes to average “max” or peak speeds, Singapore has the fastest peak speeds, which is around 135.4 Mb/s (according to Akamai’s Q3 2015 report). Second to Singapore is Hong Kong (101.1 Mb/s) followed by South Korea (86.6 Mb/s). Globally, the average peak speed is around 32.2 Mb/s. The United States has 57.3 Mb/s.
Fast Internet Speed for Single Users
Now, since the statistics are out of the way, the next question arises. How fast should your internet connection speed be for it to be considered “fast?” To be honest, the answer can be relative from one user to another.
Depending on what you do on the web, the speed of internet connection you need will vary. For example, if you are a single user and you only browse webpages, you can already consider 1.5 Mb/s as fast. If you are a single user and frequently watch Standard Definition videos (144p up to 480p) on YouTube or other video hosting website, having 3.0 Mb/s would be enough.
On the other hand, if you are a single user who desires to watch High Definition videos on the web (720p up to 1020p), getting an internet connection with speeds of around 4.0 up to 5.0 Mb/s would be fast enough to satisfy you. These numbers are based on heavy internet users. Meaning, if you use the internet nonstop for a few hours a day, you can be considered a heavy user, and getting lesser speeds or having other people connect on your connection can result to an unsatisfying experience.
However, if you are a light user and you have other people who are connected (around two to three people) to your connection and are the same as you, the speeds mentioned should suffice. However, if all of you suddenly use the Internet at the same time, your connection will bottleneck and you will feel that the speed is slower than usual.
Internet Speed for Internet TV Users
Most Internet Service Providers, such as Verizon and AT&T, usually bundle Internet, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and Internet TV in their packages. Typically, these ISPs will provide you speed packages depending on the number of televisions you have and the number of HD and SD shows you would want to watch simultaneously at home.
Unfortunately, do note that the internet speed for your usual internet will be technically separated from the connection that your Internet TVs use.
Fast Internet Speed for Gamers
This is where it becomes a bit more technical. In Internet or online gaming, the download and upload rates don’t matter that much. To be honest, unlike downloading and streaming videos, opening web pages, or browsing your favorite social media sites, playing online only needs little bandwidth.
The only time download speed matters a lot in online gaming is when the game is being downloaded, patched, or delivering downloadable content. When in the game, you will only use a bit of bandwidth. It is safe to say that around a typical online game consumes 100 Kb/s or 0.1 Mb/s.
If you add all the data that your game used over in hour, then it will only result to around 30 MB (or less) up to 300 MB (or more) depending on the game you are playing. A typical standard quality video that plays for an hour can use around 300 MB up to 900 MB of data.
However, why do people always say that they need faster Internet connection speeds for their online games? They say that they need fast internet connections to avoid lag. What is the basis of fast internet speed in online gaming? What they need is not “fast internet connection.” What they need is a stable, lossless, and jitter-less connection.
Unlike download a video, online gaming requires a constant and continuous exchange of data between a game’s client (the program running on the user’s computer) and server (the program or machine that keeps all players connected). Fortunately, servers and clients only need small packets of data (usually kilobytes or even bytes in size) to communicate.
Lag happens when a packet of data from the client or server has been delayed. A lot of factors affect that scenario. The server may be using a poor Internet connection or is already receiving a lot of data traffic. The client and server may be too far away from each other, which makes the data packets travel much longer and produce delay. The ISP may have poor routing and reroutes the client’s packet to multiple nodes, thereby making the travel and time needed for the packets to arrive to the server.
Of course, the bandwidth speed can affect this, too. For example, multiple users downloading or uploading can start a bottleneck if the bandwidth is not enough to support multiple users or several Internet activities. There are several tools that online gamers can use to troubleshoot this concern.