Spectrum Resource Center


What Is a Good Download and Upload Speed?

4:00 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. When we’re streaming TV and music, browsing social media or updating apps, we’re downloading. And the more devices you have on your home network doing these at the same time, the more of your available download speed you use.

Upload speed measures the speed by which you can send data from your home to the Internet. When you’re uploading photos to social media, making a video call or sending emails, you’re using your upload speed. Other passive activities like cloud and smart phone backups use smaller upload speeds over longer periods of time.

Download speed is the most important factor when deciding which Internet package is good 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 Good Download Speed?

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

  • Single or Small Household: 100-200 Mbps

  • Small to Medium Household: 200-400 Mbps

  • Large Household: 400 Mbps to 1 Gig

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 peak times.

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.

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 5 Mbps is enough for most households. Upload speed is used for fewer online activities and is not usually used 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?

In theory, download and upload speeds over your home WiFi network should be close to your Internet speed with an Ethernet cable plugged in. In practice, though, WiFi speeds tend to be a bit slower than a directly connected device. Some common causes for slowness over WiFi include:

  • Multiple devices performing bandwidth heavy tasks at the same time, like 4K streaming, video calls or file transfers

  • Neighbors whose WiFi networks operate on the same channel (Spectrum Internet is secure and private)

  • Devices with older WiFi technology that limit the speed at which they can connect

  • Poor router placement where the antennas are blocked, the router is on another floor of the home, or it’s near a signal-interfering device like a microwave

  • Routers that need a software update

Do you find that, even with an up-to-date router, your WiFi network still runs slowly? Upgrade your home network with Spectrum Advanced WiFi and get complete control of your WiFi network. Spectrum’s router 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 WiFi speed, try Spectrum's Internet Speed Test. In a few seconds, you’ll see the upload and download speeds for your connection.

What Should Your Internet Speed Be?

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 this chart and see if your current plan falls into the right range:

Single to Small Household

Internet speed: 100-200 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: 200-400 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: 400 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

If your usage does match up, but your Internet is still not good – slow-loading websites, buffering videos, dropped video calls and failed uploads - you might need a plan with more speed. But be sure to check these common issues, first:

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. 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.

Software and hardware updates can both 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 available Spectrum Internet plans in your area.


Make the right choice with Spectrum Internet®, delivering speed and reliability you can count on. Shop our best deals now.

Featured Offers