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Different online activities have different internet speed requirements. While light activity such as scrolling social media or shopping online doesn’t need fast internet, things like streaming video or playing games online will depend heavily on strong connections and reliability. 

Spectrum offers ideal internet speeds for consumers who expect to game online and/or stream content at home. When trying to find the best internet speed for gaming and streaming, keep the following items in mind if you plan to watch videos, play games online or broadcast your own live streams. 

What is a good internet speed in general?

Good internet speeds are truly relative depending on your needs and circumstances. Generally speaking, a strong starting internet speed for a busy, highly connected household is 300 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads, although faster is almost always better. 

These speeds will allow multiple people to simultaneously conduct typical online activities without interruption, such as open and send email attachments, watch YouTube videos and participate in video conferencing calls. Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Spectrum are rated on the speeds they deliver to their customers. 

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The modern smart home often demands faster performance to support multiple devices simultaneously. For example, if you have a family of six, each with their own iPad for streaming videos, you’ll likely need to boost your speeds so everyone can use the internet at the same time without lag. Spectrum plans offer an internet speed of 300Mbps or more, enough to support a busy household’s bandwidth needs.

What internet speed do I need for streaming?

Video streaming requires faster download and upload internet speeds because it uses a fair amount of bandwidth. If you want to stream videos on YouTube, social media or Netflix, you’ll need speeds like what Spectrum offers that can handle that activity. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time watching the screen load, buffer or pixelate. 

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Generally, the more Mbps you have to work with, the less likely you are to encounter buffering issues related to the speed of your service.

What internet speed do I need for gaming?

If you want to play games online, you’ll need fairly fast internet speeds—especially if you have multiple gamers in the house. A speed of 300Mbps is sufficient for most, but if you have several live streaming gamers in your home as well as other internet activity, you may look for speeds as fast as 500Mbps or 1Gbps (equivalent to 1,000Mbps).

When considering internet for gaming, pay attention to latency as well as speed. Latency tells you how long it takes for data to go from your gaming console to the recipient. For gaming, you want a latency of 20–40 milliseconds. Anything higher (longer)—especially over 100ms—can give you excessive lagging. Providers like Spectrum are great internet options for gamers because they offer low latency. 

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With plenty of bandwidth for streaming, gaming and more, Spectrum ranked as the fastest fixed broadband provider among top US internet service providers, according to the Q2 2023 Ookla Speedtest Intelligence report. With three different speed tiers, its entry-level plan comes with a download speed of 300Mbps, and it also offers options for 500Mbps and 1 Gbps. Meanwhile, internet providers such as Cox, Xfinity and MediaCom offer plans starting at 25, 50, and 100Mbps, respectively, with faster tiers available depending on customers’ needs. 

Woman playing video games on a desktop computer

Getty/mihailomilovanovic

Internet for streaming FAQs

How fast does your internet speed need to be for gaming?

A provider like Spectrum offers multiple tiers that are great for gaming. Spectrum Internet offers 300Mbps for $49.99 per month, Spectrum Ultra offers 500Mbps for $69.99 per month and Spectrum Gig offers 1Gbps for $89.99 per month. 

What is considered average internet speed?

The median download speed for US fixed broadband providers is 202.40Mbps, according to the Q2 2023 Ookla Speedtest Intelligence report. You can use a free internet speed test to see what you’re getting.

Spectrum Internet is one of three tiers of Wi-Fi service that Spectrum offers, and you can always upgrade your service later if you want more speed.

Are VPNs good for internet speed?

A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure connection between a device and a network, but it isn’t necessarily “good” for internet speed. In fact, in most cases, a VPN will actually hinder your internet speed. This is because your internet connection is routed through a remote server rather than direct connection.

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What if I’m not getting the speeds I’m paying for?

There are many factors that can affect internet performance, including your modem, the age of the house, the wiring inside the home and your Wi-Fi signal strength. For larger homes, you might need a Wi-Fi extender, which might be offered by your ISP, such as Spectrum Pods. Look into these factors first if you’re experiencing a lag.

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