How Much Internet Speed Do I Need for Different Online Activities?

Different online activities need different internet speeds and bandwidth for downloads and uploads. Most online activities depend on download speeds, which are key to smooth streaming, surfing and more. Read on to learn more.

How much download speed do I need?

Check out the helpful chart below – it’ll give you an estimate of how much download speed your online activities (like gaming or streaming) need on each connected device (like your phone, tablet or laptop).

While one online activity on one device may not require much speed, your home’s internet connection will need to support all the connected devices that are online at the same time, including smart home devices and apps running in the background, like computers and gaming consoles downloading automatic software updates.

Speed snapshots:

  • Basic surfing and checking emails require very little download speed.
  • Streaming music and video calls require more speed to download the larger file sizes.
  • HD and 4K video streaming or gaming requires the most speed to support higher video resolution.
Online activity Typical download speed required per device*
Emails and web surfing 0.5 to 1 Mbps
Music streaming 1 to 2 Mbps
SD video streaming 2 to 3 Mbps
Video calls 3 to 5 Mbps
HD video streaming and gaming 5 to 25 Mbps
4K video streaming 25 to 50 Mbps

*Speeds may vary based on file size and quality.

Keep in mind: When you run a speed test on your device, the results you get are specific to:

  1. The capabilities of your device’s make and model.
  2. Whether you’re currently running other apps on that device.
  3. Whether other devices in the home are online at the same time.
  4. Whether you are doing the test over WiFi or a wired connection.
  5. Your device’s distance from your modem.
  6. Obstructions and sources of signal interference between your device and your modem or from neighbouring devices.

How much upload speed do I need?

For typical usage of the following online activities, the upload speed required is generally between 1 Mbps to 6 Mbps per device.

  • Video calling:
  • Live video streaming: For HD video quality live streaming (720p or 1080p), about 1.5 Mbps to 6 Mbps is recommended for popular platforms:
  • Gaming:
  • Home security cameras:
  • Data backups: These typically run in the background, aren’t time-sensitive and simply use the amount of upload bandwidth available without a specific minimum requirement.

As your internet needs grow, you can optimize your internet speed and WiFi with these tips. You can also upgrade your internet package here.