Do you know how fast a dial-up connection is in relation to a fiber one? Or what download speeds you need to watch a movie without buffering?
It all comes back to Mbps – or megabits-per-second.
Megabits-per-second is simply the way that we measure Internet speeds. The more megabits, the faster. The fewer megabits, the slower your connection is.
A dial-up connection averages out around 65-70 kilobits-per-second. One Kbmps = 1,000 bits per second. One megabit-per-second = 1,000,000 bits.
So, if you have Internet speeds around 20Mbps, you have speeds hundreds of times faster than dial-up.
How to pick an Internet plan by looking at megabits-per-second
When you’re looking for an Internet plan, you’ll notice that the major difference is download speed. Each plan has a specific download speed and upload speed, both in Mbps (it’s 100% common for upload speeds to be much slower than download speeds – you don’t need a lot of bandwidth to upload).
You can determine which plan you want by checking the speeds. The more you do online, the more megabits per second you need. You need more megabits-per-second if you:
- Download videos
- Stream movies and TV shows
- Listen to and share music
- Work from home
- Connect to the Internet with multiple devices
If you do all of these things daily, check to see if a fiber Internet connection is available where you live. Fiber is the fastest kind of Internet – so you don’t ever have to worry about buffering or getting disconnected. If fiber isn’t available, no problem. DSL can reach speeds that are just as fast as cable.
But what if you don’t stream constantly? What if you just want to check email, shop online, browse your favorite news sites and post to social media?
Well, then all you need to do is pick a plan with fewer megabits-per-second. You’ll still get great speeds, just won’t be paying for speeds you won’t use.