What internet speed do you need? In this pandemic, we use the internet for work, play, and school more than ever. With the introduction of IoT products, more devices are connected to our WiFi and users are growing quickly. This has led to more and more demands from the gaming and streaming fraternity. They all want their internet connection to run smoothly than ever before. This has only been possible due to the rapid advancement in internet technology.

We started from slow dial-up connections and now fiber optics, DSL, and cable connections deliver blazing-fast speeds for your homes and businesses.

Internet connectivity is a moving target. Many times you can enjoy seamless connectivity for streaming and gaming. However, there are times when the connection speed is too slow to even function. As a result, games or videos have trouble running smoothly due to a phenomenon called lag. This occurs due to various reasons. Therefore, we need to understand the internet speeds in detail. Before further ado, let’s begin:

What are internet speeds?

Internet speeds can be compared to water pressure through a pipe. It is all about the volume of water moving in the pipe at a given time. If the water pressure is greater, the water will run smoothly with a stronger stream. Similarly, internet speeds refer to how fast data can be transferred at a given point in time. The information is transferred in the form of electronic packets. These packets are a simple unit of data. Therefore, a faster internet stream will automatically transfer more data at a given time.

Internet speeds are categorized into download and upload speeds:

Download Speed

Your download speed refers to the time taken by your internet to receive the electronic packets of data from the server. It is measured in Megabits per second or Mbps. Greater download speed means; it will take you a lesser amount of time to download a movie or file.

Upload Speed

The upload speed refers to the time taken by the data to reach the server from your end. Upload speeds are also measured in Megabits per second or Mbps. Upload speeds are always less than the download speeds because an average consumer spends more time downloading than uploading.

Testing your Internet Speed

Ideally, you should be getting the speeds you are paying for. If you are signed up for 100 Mbps, you will not get full speed all the time. Ideally, it should fluctuate between 60 Mbps to 80 Mbps. This is because internet speeds are influenced by many factors such as bandwidth, internet equipment, and the number of users using the service. However, you should be getting the maximum internet speed. If you don’t, you should report it y to your internet service provider. Many internet providers like CenturyLink offer, internet speed tests with the service because they believe in transparency and giving customers what they pay for. Using CenturyLink speed test, you can monitor your internet speeds by CenturyLink and report it to the CenturyLink customer service, if there is an issue.

Keep this as a regular practice and check your internet speed every week. In case you don’t have CenturyLink internet, you can choose other internet speed tests available online.

What is Bandwidth?

The best way to understand internet bandwidth is through the example of a highway. If there are more cars on the highway, the traffic will move slower and it will take you some time to reach your destination. However, if the highway is free, you can move faster keeping in mind the speed limit. Similarly, if more and more people are using the internet in an area, the internet gets slower due to a phenomenon called network congestion. Network congestion disrupts the efficiency of your connection and if the congestion persists, it may result in an outage.

This is the reason why internet outages are quite common in the pandemic as more and more have to work and stay at home.

Type of internet and how they affect your speeds

Internet connection has five types: fiber, cable, DSL, dial-up, and satellite.

Fiber: It is the fastest available internet technology. Fiber internet uses a special stream of glass cables called fiber optics that are capable of transmitting a large amount of data quickly. The only problem with fiber is accessibility. The fiber infrastructure incurs a massive cost. Therefore, it is not widely available. Fiber internet ensures smooth and seamless connectivity.

Cable: Cable internet uses the same cable required for the transmission of TV services. The coaxial cable network is evenly spread across the United States. Spectrum is the prime example and it has services across 41 states. Cable internet is quite reliable as the connection is not interrupted by the weather.

DSL: DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Lines and DSL internet uses cables similar to phone lines. The wiring from the inside is different. Therefore, you can expect faster download and upload speeds than dial-up.

Satellite: Satellite internet works with the help of a dish that is installed on your rooftop facing the southern sky. The signals travel wirelessly and as a result, rain, windy, or cloudy weather may affect the overall distribution of the signals and your service may suffer. However, one potential benefit is that you may get constant download speeds. For example, with Hughesnet’s 25 Mbps, the speeds will stay constant provided that the weather is fine.

What internet speed do I need for streaming?

Video streaming is a crucial part of our activities related to the internet. Slower download speeds may result in poor video streaming quality. Therefore, you need high-speed internet to stream in high-definition. For example, for streaming a video in 4K, you need at least 25 Mbps. Many streaming services require even faster download speeds.

  • For instance, Netflix requires a 3 Mbps minimum to stream a movie or TV show in standard definition.
  • You need at least 5 Mbps to stream videos in HD.
  • Streaming in 4K or HDR requires download speeds up to 25 Mbps.
  • Hulu is a popular streaming platform and requires 3 Mbps for on-demand and 8 Mbps for Live TV.
  • Just like Netflix, YouTube requires a minimum speed of 3 Mbps.
  • To stream an HD video on a single device, at least 7 Mbps is recommended. However, if you are streaming simultaneously on multiple devices, you need at least 13 Mbps.

What speed do I need for online gaming?

High-speed internet is crucial for smooth and lag-free online gaming. If you have a slower internet speed, you may face issues coping up with the game. Therefore, get the highest possible speed by your provider if you are really into gaming. If you have high-speed internet and yet face issues like lag and higher ping rates, you need to test your internet connection. CenturyLink customers can check their internet speeds by My CenturyLink speed test and if you have other providers, you can just google a speed tester. For online gaming, you need at least 10 to 25 Mbps for seamless connectivity and lag-free gaming.


There is high time we should start investing in higher download and upload speeds. With streaming and online gaming becoming more and more advanced, we need something to cope up with these advancements.


How to run CenturyLink speed test?

You can run the CenturyLink speed test through the CenturyLink mobile app.

What internet speed do I need for gaming?

You need up to 10 Mbps for online gaming.

What internet is best for 4K streaming?

You need at least 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.