Spectrum Resource Center

Spectrum Resource Center


What Is a Good Download and Upload Speed?

6:00 Minute Read

Is your Internet plan the right one for you? With Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing so many packages, plans and tiers, it can be tough to figure out which is the right one for your household. You want faster Internet, but you don’t want to overpay for a package you don’t need.

In this article we’ll go over some of the terms you need to know when researching your Internet plan and look at some home-network fixes to consider before changing your service. Whether you’re experiencing Internet slowness and considering an upgrade or want to see if you’re making the most of your current plan, this article will give you the tools to make an informed decision.

What Do Download and Upload Speeds Mean?

Download speed is a measure of how quickly data can move from the Internet into your home network, and upload speed is how fast online data is sent from your computer to the Internet.

When you’re streaming TV and music, browsing social media or updating apps, you’re downloading. When you’re adding photos to social media, making a video call or sending emails, you’re using upload speed.

What Is Download Speed?

Download speed is the most important factor when deciding which Internet plan is right for your home. Most home Internet use across all your WiFi-connected devices depends on download speed. This includes streaming video, refreshing your social media feed, online gaming and more.

What Is Upload Speed?

Upload speed is how fast your device can send data to another device, usually during activities like video chats, livestreaming or uploading large files. Upload speed can be slower than download speed because most Internet connections maximize download speed as people spend more time downloading.

What is Good Download Speed?

A good download speed is at least 25 Mbps. That amount should be enough for casual Internet users who video chat, connect on social media and surf the web.

While a good download speed can vary based on your use, these speeds will be more than enough to support average use for these households:

Average use includes a couple of simultaneous high-bandwidth activities and a few connected devices per person, but that range can change as you add more devices, users and high-bandwidth activities. To get a sense of the best speed for your home Internet, consider how much download speed you’re using during peak times.

Working from home or distance learning? Connecting over VPN, transferring files and video calls can use 25-40 Mbps for each person in your household during high-usage periods.

Settling in to stream 4K video to your smart TV? You may need as much as 25 Mbps for each streaming device.

While most other use - video streaming, social media browsing, online gaming and more - may only take 3-10 Mbps per activity, they can add up when they're all happening at the same time. And since more and more of our household devices are managed via apps that use WiFi, you’ll want to bear in mind how many additional devices are tapped to your Internet connection.

Once you've accounted for your peak usage, you’ll start to get a better idea of the minimum download speed you need for a stable, fast connection.

What is Good Upload Speed?

An upload speed of 3 Mbps is enough for most households, and should be enough to video chat, game and upload files quickly.

Upload speed is used for fewer online activities and doesn’t usually happen on multiple devices at the same time. However, like download speed, the best upload speed is the one that meets your household’s Internet use.

There are some activities that use more of your upload speed than others. If you regularly transfer large files – or large batches of files – to cloud storage or regularly live stream in high-resolution video, you may need an Internet package with a faster upload speed.

What is Good Download and Upload Speed Over WiFi?

A good WiFi speed should be close to the download and upload speed of your Internet plan, though WiFi speeds tend to be a bit slower than a directly connected device. But if you are experiencing more serious WiFi slowness, you can find tips to improve your WiFi by learning more about what WiFi is

If your WiFi network still runs slowly, upgrade your home network with Spectrum Advanced WiFi and get complete control of your WiFi network. Advanced WiFi lets you manage your in-home WiFi network from anywhere, letting you optimize your Internet speeds by controlling who and what devices are connected.

How to Check Your Current Internet Speed

If you want to find your current Internet speed, try Spectrum's Internet Speed Test. In a few seconds, you’ll see the upload and download speeds for your connection.

What Internet Speed Do I Need?

To get a sense of the best speed for your home Internet, consider how much download speed you’re using during peak times. Add up both the number of users and the number of devices on your network and see how each person uses the Internet during peak times. Once you have a good idea of how your household uses your Internet speed, take a look at the below chart and see if your current plan falls into the right range.

Single to Small Household

Internet speed: 100-300 Mbps

  • At least 2 high-bandwidth activities at once, such as work from home, distance learning or 4K streaming

  • Multiple connected devices browsing apps, gaming and HD streaming

Small to Medium Household

Internet speed: 300-500 Mbps

  • High-bandwidth activities on multiple devices

  • An “always-on” smart home with around 10 devices, including smart home appliances and voice assistants

  • Upload/download of large files and batches

Large Household

Internet speed: 500 Mbps to 1 Gig

  • Many users and connected devices performing high-bandwidth activities

  • Smart home with over 10 devices, including cameras

  • Live streaming in high-resolution video

  • Upload/download of huge files and batches

Keep in mind that there could be many factors that could lead to a slower speed than expected. If you are looking for a faster connection, Spectrum has options for you. In the meantime, be sure to check these common issues addressed below to ensure you are maximizing your current setup.

If you’re a Spectrum Internet customer, you can download the My Spectrum App to control which devices have access to your WiFi network.

An increase in the number of users in your home may be slowing available speeds, especially if each person is using multiple devices. With Spectrum Advanced WiFi, you can turn off unused devices or limit the number of connected devices in your household. 

Distance between router and device and physical barriers like closed doors, walls and floors can affect the Internet speed you get on your device. Move your router to a location near where you use the Internet the most.

Microwaves and radios can emit signals that interfere with the transmission of your WiFi signal. Try separating them or moving your router to another room.

Both software and hardware updates can limit your available speed. Routers may require software updates that don’t automatically install, and older devices may be using outdated WiFi technology that caps the potential Internet speed. Install software updates and consider upgrading older devices.


If you’ve tested these changes and you’re still experiencing significant slowness during normal Internet usage, it may be time to update your Internet plan.

Check out Spectrum Internet plans available in your area.


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