What Internet Speed Do You Really Need

You'll need at least Max Turbo

Whenever you shop around for internet access, you generally run across a plethora of different plans, speeds, bundles, boosters, and extra features. While this can be confusing, most companies explain what option you will need based on what you want to do. Unfortunately, they tend to lie. Lets take AT&T’s U-verse service for example. Currently, on the page showing the different speeds you can purchase, they have a handy chart explaining what speeds you need to purchase in order to utilize those nifty features of the internet you’ve read so much about.

See the related article, The Data Cap Problem, to learn more.

AT&T U-verse Comparison Chart

Click to make larger.

See, according to AT&T, if you get 3 Mbps (Megabits per second), you can do basic things like email, share photos, and socially network with buddies. Want to game online? That requires the 6 Mbps connection. You’ll have to shell out for the 12 Mbps connection if you want to watch video clips or email/upload files. And streaming video or downloading movies? That’s obviously going to require a whopping 18 Mbps. Video Conferencing? Better whip out that Max Turbo speed. This chart honestly looks like someone put it together in 5 minutes, and labeled it with internet…ish things.

Whats Wrong Here?

Setting aside the speed for a second, the chart makes some strange distinctions. Somehow, AT&T thinks that “Emailing / Uploading Files” takes 4x the bandwidth as “Emailing” and “Sharing Photos”. This is a bit odd, being that they’re the same thing.  You see similar distinctions between “Watching TV” and “Streaming Video”. The one that makes the least sense is that “Video Conferencing” needs 18 more Mbps than “Online Conferencing”. You could almost just mix up the labeling here and have it make just as much sense.

What Speed Do You Need?

In order for us to fully understand why the chart is so horribly misleading, lets break down what speed different internet services require.

Video Streaming

Applies to:

  • “Watching TV / Video Clips”
  • “Downloading Movies”
  • “Streaming Video”
  • “Video Conferencing”
  • Online Conferencing

Video streaming is a very broad term that can mean watching YouTube videos, Netflix/Hulu, Skyping, etc. The bandwidth that each requires can vary greatly, even within different services themselves. For example, lets take the largest user of US internet bandwidth, Netflix. Now, I’m going to assume that this would be under AT&T’s Downloading Movies/Streaming Video category, which they say needs 18 Mbps. Surely Netflix must recommend the same speed, right? Here’s what they have to say,

Netflix will work very well on your average broadband connection, if you can watch Youtube you can watch Netflix, but with much better quality. You will get great DVD quality streaming at bandwidth rates around 2 megabits per second, for a full-fledged HD experience with surround sound you’ll need about 6 megabits of bandwidth. We do offer specific speed settings for those members that may have bandwidth caps on their broadband subscriptions or for some other reason want to manage the bandwidth used by Netflix. You can find details in the “your account” section under “manage video quality.” This is what it comes down to:

Good quality (up to 0.3 GB per hour)
Better quality (up to 0.7 GB per hour)
Best quality (up to 1 GB per hour, or up to 2.3 GB per hour for HD)

Default in the US is “best quality” though using our “adaptive streaming” technology we automatically, constantly and transparently optimize the streaming bitrate to your Internet speed. This minimizes loading and buffering times, delivering the best click and watch experience.

So that means that good quality would be roughly 0.7 Mbps, better quality is 1.6 Mbps, and best quality would be 2.3 Mbps (5.2 Mbps HD). That’s not even close to what AT&T says you need. Even if you had two people watching two different HD movies in full surround sound on their two home theater setups in their house, you only hit 12 Mbps. Hulu plus needs even less bandwidth. For your standard show you only need 1.5 Mbps, and for an HD show (Hulu Plus only) you need 3 Mbps.

Looking at the chart, you would think that Video conferencing must use much more than your lowly movies and TV. But, as common sense would dictate, it doesn’t. Lets take a look at Skype’s recommended speeds. Skype recommends a whopping 1.5 Mbps for your top of the line HD video call. Now, video calls are unique due to the fact that you  are uploading as fast as you’re downloading. Unfortunately, AT&T does not list their upload speeds, so you could possibly have to pay for Max Turbo with 24 Mbps to get your 1.5 Mbps upload (which would be shameful), but that’s still only if your needing full HD. High quality is only a third of the speed.  If you decide to use Skype’s conference feature to chat with 8 people at once, you only need Mbps, and 0.5 Mbps upload.  This is staggeringly less than what AT&T says you need.

General Use

Applies to:

  • “Emailing”
  • “Emailing / Uploading Files”
  • “Downloading Music”
  • “Downloading Movies”
  • Pretty much anything else you do online.

If you’re not streaming any type of video, your internet speed  doesn’t change anything except the time it takes to download something. The quality of whatever you download or upload won’t be affected. As far as general browsing is concerned, your average webpage is around 400 kB (3.12 Mb). This can change depending on how many ads are on the page, how many images, etc. But relatively, it doesn’t change very much. Your bottom barrel 3 Mbps would load a webpage in about a second, while Sir Max Turbo will load it in about a tenth of a second. While that’s ten times faster, it’s still only 0.9 seconds faster (not much). The only item that deals with general browsing on the AT&T chart is “Social Networking”. If they put reading articles, reading news, checking the weather, etc. it might make the 3 Mbps option too appealing for your standard user.

You’ll notice a difference when you’re downloading files, but it all depends on the size of what your downloading. For our example, let’s use The White Album by The Beatles, an episode of South Park, and the movie Lady and the Tramp. The White Album about twice the size of your normal album, and a good quality version is about 200 MB. A South Park episode can be about 400 MB, and Lady and the Tramp will be about 1 GB (3 GB HD). Lets break down how long it will take to download them.

 Internet Speed 3 Mbps 6 Mbps 12 Mbps 18 Mbps 24 Mbps
The White Album
200 MB
9 min 4.5 min 2 min 1.5 min 1 min
South Park
400 MB
18 min 9 min 4 min 3 min 2 min
Lady and The Tramp
1 GB
44 min 22 min 11 min 7.5 min 5.5 min
Lady and The Tramp (HD)
3 GB
132 min 66 min 33 min 22.5 min 16.5 min

As you can see, faster speeds equal faster downloads (shocker). But you really can download anything at any speed, and once its downloaded, its downloaded.

Emailing doesn’t take up any real bandwidth, and the only time you’ll notice a difference in speed is when, once again, you’re downloading or uploading something. Since the max attachment size for an email is usually 20 MB, you’ll only have a 45 second download difference between the 3 Mbps and the 24 Mbps. So, not too bad.

Other Factors

There are quite a few factors that affect your overall internet experience besides speed. There’s latency, which is how quickly your computer gets a message from a website and vice versa. Your latency would be much higher on a cellular data connection than it would on a normal home connection, simply because the message has to make more stops between your phone and the webpage. This is very important for online video games, often more so than the speed of the connection.

There is the amount of downtime the network experiences, which can cause your connection to be spotty or go off all together. If you don’t have a steady stream of bandwidth to your computer, it can cause Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu videos to buffer frequently, regardless of your speed.

The actual speed you get can also vary quite a bit. This all depends on who your Internet service provider is, what type of connection you have, and what time of day it is. When the FCC published its findings on promised speed vs actual speed, AT&T generally only delivered about 85% of the bandwidth they promised. That’s like a delivery man bringing your pizza with a slice missing.

Very rarely will you ever see these figures on any advertisement, mainly since it can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. This is something you’ll have to rely on your coworkers and friends experiences to find out.

In Conclusion

Essentially, AT&T is counting on your average consumer not being informed, and just put out a chart that’s not only useless, but flat out lies. All the services they have listed will work on any speed they offer, and it really comes down to preference. If you just browse the web, Facebook a bit, and watch Netflix, you’ll get by fine on 3 Mbps. If you’re more of a stickler for video and sound quality, you might want to go up to 6 to 12 Mbps. And if you download large files frequently, faster is faster. It all comes down to how long you want to wait.

It still befuddles me that AT&T can put out information so misleading, with no clarification or disclaimer, that is so very wrong. But I guess that’s the real lesson here kids. Large ISP’s are big, evil, greedy corporations that will lie to your grandmother to get a few more bucks a month. Shameful.


Mbps = Megabits per Second
Mb = Megabit
MB = Megabyte
GB = Gigabyte
kB = kilobyte
1 Megabit = 128 kilobytes
ISP = Internet Service Provider (eg. AT&T, Cox, Verizon)

Author: Alex McKenzie

  • Practicalprofessor

    thanks.  very helpful and well explained.  I’ve spent several days trying to find information such as this.

    • I’m glad it was helpful! If there is another topic you would like to more about, or can’t seem to find the info for online, please let me know.

    • Practicalprofessor said exactly what I am thinking. Trying to decide has been giving me a headache for two weeks because none of the information made sense. You explained everything perfectly. Thanks so much!

  • Torey Severino

    Very informative. AT&T, Cox, TW, all the providers lie so much over the phone and definitely want you to pay much more than what we truly need! Thanks for info

    • Thank you for the feedback!

    • PissedoffinAZ

      COX has jacked their prices and changed the speeds on the packages to cover the deception. I have been paying for way moredata than I needed for many years, and when I called today to go to a lower package, it was a whopping $10 less a month, rather than the $30-35 I was expecting. I checked online – they tell you the sale price, and that it’s good for 3 months, but nowhere can you find the REAL, post-promo price.

      • drew329847

        that’s what drove me away from charter. seems like cable companies are the worst about this. any company that fails to advertise its real price as far as I’m concerned isn’t worth my money. I also discovered that I can consistently get 12mbps DSL internet-only in my area for 40 bucks a month and have had that for 3 years now.

  • Rob

    I appreciate the very detailed reports on the streaming, but what about the average gaming Mbps in comparison?

    • That’s a great question. Different online games use a different amount of bandwidth, but its usually very small. Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield can use between 30 and 50 Megabytes in one hour. This comes down to between 0.06 and 0.11 Mbps. This applies to other online games too, like WoW or Guild Wars 2. Generally speaking, your internet speed isn’t going to affect your game play.

      That being said, there are some other factors that can. If you have a high latency, which is the time it takes for your computer to talk to their server round trip, it will cause you lag in the game. You will also experience lag if your internet connection is spotty, or unreliable.

      You can also have problems if someone else in your household is using up all of the bandwidth while your playing. This can happen if someone is watching Netflix in HD or if they are downloading a large file.

      I hope this answers some of your questions, and feel free to let me know if you would like any more information. Thank you for your feedback!

  • Marty

    Recently, some friends and I moved into a house on our college campus. Our internet seems to crash a lot when 4 or 5 of us are on our laptops or phones doing stuff. The internet is almost unbearable to watch netflix or try to play any games given its inconsistency. We have CenturyLink internet and are promised up to 10 mbps. Generally, we get anywhere from 1-7 mbps at any given time. What would you recommend as far as more consistency in our internet? We havent been able to enjoy any multimedia whatsoever.

    • There are a few things that would cause your internet to be inconsistent.

      If it is your internet connection, then you would either have to call CenturyLink to see if there is an issue on their end, if you could upgrade your speed, or you would have to switch internet providers.

      This could very easily be caused by your router though. If you have 5 people with multiple devices, it can affect how well your router directs the information. I would recommend the Cisco-Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router. This will manage your wireless connections much better than cheaper routers out there, plus it is discounted pretty well on Amazon at the moment.

      Another tip would be to plug in whatever you can to the router directly. Interference is a big issue for wireless routers, and can be affected by microwaves, cordless phones, and other routers around your house. Your router can handle traffic much better for hardwired devices too.

      Let me know if this helps!

      • Ben

        Usually internet services advertise speeds up to a certain speed. CenturyLink is known for not delivering advertized speeds. I bet if you look closely you were promised speeds up to 10mbps. I have never recieved advertised speeds from centurylinl, and that is why i get my internet from Xfinity.

  • RandomRedditor

    For our example, lets use The White Album by The Beatles, an episode of South Park, and the movie Lady and the Tramp. The White Album about twice the size of your normal album, and a good quality version is about 200 MB.

    minor details, but *let’s

    *The White Album is about

    Good article in general though! 😀

  • Reddit

    Hello there, from Reddit.

  • Pingback: On The Radio With Geek Solutions :: Unbreak-IT()

  • junasie14

    Thanks so much for this helpful article. I currently have U-verse Pro at 3 Mbps and find it more than adequate for watching youtube videos, but assumed I would have to upgrade my service if wanted to use Netflix or other streaming video to watch movies and TV shows. I am going to give it shot now and see what I can do with what I have, before I spend any more money than I need to!

  • Awesome article. I’ve always gone with 6mbps because that is what was recommended for online gaming and streaming. I see that 3mbps is more than enough for that. But these days I find that all I’m doing is downloading large files, and I don’t like to wait around. The part about download speeds was incredibly helpful, as 22 minutes vs 44 minutes is a big difference to me. I think I’ll stay with 6mbps, thank you!

  • Chris in Ohio

    Thank you, Alex, for the info. It is very helpful. I am currently looking for a new ISP. The speed I have with the AT&T service I have is laughable. Now I will know just what to look for, and not end up getting screwed out of money.

  • Tamara Novak

    Question: So, when we are streaming movies, we are actually downloading? And, is that the download speed or is that a web page loading thing? Because I was noticing you were saying that Netflix says we can get great DVD quality (as I watch everything on my laptop, I don’t care so much about HD) at 2 megabits per second, and they say that they are consistently and transparently streaming their bitrate to our internet speed. So, are we watching Netflix on their personal server? So, I guess what I am asking is: Is it possible to get better movie streaming on various websites, even if I am on an apartment internet connection, which is obviously shared and gets 86 down and 54 up? Because I just realized that I am paying 45 dollars per month for internet (with CenturyLink email, like I ever use that!) for 1.5 down rate.

  • I see a couple problems with this analysis. First, the author is assuming there will be only one computer or device watching Netflix. Meanwhile, nothing else is happening on the home network. In reality, a typical home probably has several things going on simultaneously. The bandwidth needed is the maximum amount of simultaneous bandwidth likely to occur. Sure, you won’t use most of the bandwidth most of the time. But that’s the way we use our brains, too.

    Second, websites for the history of the web so far, and especially with the onset of mobile technology, have been specifically engineered for low bandwidth requirements. Netflix has a technology to change the bitrate of streaming video “transparently” to the viewer. It’s not actually transparently. When this happens, things suddenly get blurrier or sometimes blocky. This technology wouldn’t be required at all if bandwidth limits weren’t an issue.

    Finally, symmetrical bandwidth is a significant issue for some people. In most areas, with most ISPs, it’s not possible to host a successful web server at home. That’s by design, of course.

    There’s one thing that’s pretty axiomatic in computing: the usage will eventually expand to fill up the available capacity.

    • Ymemag

      First, the author does no such assuming. He clearly states what the requirements would be for one computer but he never says that would be your household bandwidth. He even gives an example if you had two computers running Netflix.

      Secondly, Netfix’s transparent technology is the speed sensing that goes on behind the scenes. It is transparent in that you don’t see the computer, the server, nor the switches involved “trying to find an acceptable speed”. You only see seamless video. The quality of the video may change but the video should be almost completely seamless. You don’t see the work going on but you see the result.

      Finally, who ever said anything about hosting web servers at home? This article is for the non-informed to slightly informed user not someone hosting a web site. You should not confuse “commercial/business” with “home user”. Mr. McKenzie did not intend this article for someone doing web server duties, he even goes as far as to say that most ISP’s don’t give you the upload speeds paired with the download speeds! You assume way too much in your uppity tone, anyone with a link to Wikipedia can see that Butter’s Law parallels Moore’s Law. Always remember, “you will never fill up that 170 MB hard drive” ….
      More /applause to Mr. McKenzie, you have confounded another “axiomatic” internet genius.

      • Victor Engel

        Wow. It’s been 11 months, so pardon me if I don’t entirely reread the article for completeness.

        Yes, he does make that assumption. The numbers given are for a single computer running a single process. It is left to the reader to add needed components together. That’s not a criticism, but it’s something that needed pointing out. He acknowledges as much in replies to other comments. Further, simply adding bandwidth requirements of the various items is not sufficient. Contention of bandwidth, especially when approaching limits results in more bandwidth requirements (can’t get a word in edgewise? It takes more bandwidth to do all the retries).

        Regarding the web servers issue, note that I said it’s important for “some people”. This affects not just web servers, but also backups to the cloud, which are increasingly popular these days.

        And the issue isn’t just about the total upload bandwidth needed, but the contention that results when it’s saturated. Suppose I have Carbonite or Crashplan loaded and it’s backing up my data, using up my upload bandwidth. That’s fine as far as the backup goes, but the ACKs for the downloads also need to use the upload bandwidth. Watching a Netflix video could have issues because of the online backup, not because it’s using up download bandwidth, but because upload bandwidth is preventing Netflix ACKs from getting through timely.

        This can all be sorted with good router firmware/software, but that’s beyond what most users can be expected to take on.

        • Jamie

          I really appreciate both the original article (which is something I knew but often found difficult to plausibly explain to friends) as well as this second version of your original comment. True statements throughout.

  • SPMediaGroup

    This really helped me a lot to make my decision much easier. ATT was wanting $150 more – $100 for the “high speed modem, and $49 “activation fee” for really not getting much more for the money.

    Thank you SO MUCH!

  • Stewart C. Hagerman

    The information you’ve provided has made it easy for me to pick my internet package. I will only need 3 mbps instead of the 10 they tried to sell me on!!!

  • jasper

    in belgium (fibernet) we have 120 mbps for €67, internet in america is quite expensive it seems!

  • Maggie

    This was such a helpful article. I am looking at ATT and couldn’t understand how that chart made sense, leading me to do a google search. You really made it easy to understand for those not tech-savy. Thank you!

  • Jay

    I just wanted to say, that this is the best article ever written. Thank you so much for saving me so much time and headache trying to research this subject with my extremely sub-par tech skills and knowledge.

  • Not Falling For Your BS

    I love the way you left off the part of the AT&T graphic that says “recommended speeds” for particular activities. This type of journalism is expected in today’s society where you, the journalist, get your approval from readers falling for your own misleading materials.

    If you read any speed tier graphics from AT&T or any other provider you will see that they recommend specific tiers to do specific activities in order to provide a top-knotch experience. Sure you can “get by” with lower speeds, but that doesn’t ensure you have the best possible experience. What you are referencing is customer tolerance for sub-optimal experiences…and we all have some tolerance for such. Yet to call out companies who provide guidance to improve experiences is simply shortsighted.

    You mention that I can browse the web, do Facebook a bit, and watch Netflix on just 3 Mbps. Can I do these all at the same time? Can i watch an HD movie, browse You Tube or Amazon, and play my favorite FB game all without a single bit of pixelation or delay? Your speed tier table above says “no”…yet you say yes. I may be able to do each one separately with some sub-optimal experience…however, I cannot do them all without significant delays and pixelation. I hope your future articles will include more research and less conflicting and inaccurate statements.

    • To clarify, no where did it say recommended speeds, and I did not cut off any of the chart. There was no asterisk, footer note, or any explanation. It was advertised as the speed you need to enjoy those activities. That’s what first prompted me to write this article, since their chart was so misleading.

      The reason I didn’t really go into using your internet connection for multiple things requires more bandwidth is because I thought it would be more obvious. Apparently I should have gone into more detail, but I did say that if you want to watch 2 HD Netflix streams you’ll need over 12mpbs. AT&T’s chart says nothing about multiple devices. It implies that you will need X speed for each listed service.

      My intent was to break down how each services uses your internet connection, and how different speeds will affect those services so that the end user could purchase what connection is right for them.

      To be specific about your complaint, I nowhere said that you can use 3mbps for streaming HD and watching YouTube at the same time. You might want to reread the article.

      Lastly, I don’t think its fair to categorize me as a journalist just trying to get page-views. I’m a Sysadmin for a bank, not a journalist, and my only intention is to help people be informed and make informed decisions. I don’t make any money off of this website and I stand 100% behind what I wrote.

      • Not Falling For Your BS

        To me, your article is misleading and very slanted against providers trying to spin the story to the consumer. As a consumer, it is my responsibility to assess my needs and determine what threshold of sub-optimized performance I am willing to accept. If a company generically recommends a speed for a set of activities…and assumes I’ll be doing more than one thing at a time…then why skewer them for the recommendation. Instead, you could take time to educate your readers on how to assess speeds needed and what impact that decision will have to sub-optimal performance.
        Bottom line, this article was written to skewer providers and does nothing to educate readers on the realities of what they can expect for in-home service levels. You have the right to state your opinion on who is at fault…I belive educating your readers is more valuable than skewering providers.

        • Ymemag

          BS, you are not really reading his article. He was perfectly clear in his article’s intent and stated so. Mr. McKenzie does show how providers try to spin a story to an under educated consumer. He also does try to educate the consumer, he shows what actual companies state is their required needs and compares that information to the ISP. The only thing he leaves out in this article is that the ISP is a company trying to make money and therefore will skew information in their favor. All companies exist to make money, I can’t fault an ISP for trying to do the same. I am also a systems admin for a network and I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. McKenzie. I do fault you, BS, for not reading the article and for being a douche. This well written, very informative article should be given awards even if it is 2 years or more old. /applaud

          • Scott

            i agree with you Ymemag, the article explains exactly what I wanted to know. I had two reps from AT&T at my door yesterday trying to sell me on their service and draw me away from Time Warner Cable. I am actually trying to downgrade my service, because I have way more than I ever need with TW at $100+ per month! AT&T guys wanted me to switch with a locked in price of $130 per month locked in for 12 months (and they were going to waive the $198 installation fee!!) I don’t think Mr. McKenzie is misleading anyone. I think it’s the service providers who mislead and make people feel they NEED more speed and pay a premium price for something 90% of the population never uses.

        • Faith Jones

          I just have to say I really appreciated the article and didn’t think it was misleading. Last night, I was canceling service with one provider to downgrade with AT&T, and the customer service rep at my old provider sounded genuinely concerned that I would downgrade to 6 Mbps. He made it sound like I wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING. By his tone, you would think I was deciding to cut off air supply to my house. It was actually pretty hilarious. It’s nice to know that I won’t be going back to dial-up. 🙂

        • goldushapple

          Stop being a little b_tch. Do you work for a cable company or something?

        • Nafbatc

          You’re a loner and just hoping for some attention.

      • Dianne

        alex, I have been using charter who says my rate is 69 mbps. att has quoted me a need for 6 mbps only. we have 2 tablets, 2 smart phones and 2 laptops. we are on Facebook, netflix and Hulu simultaneously. can you tell me if you think it would be a mistake to switch carriers?

    • Greg Knittel

      Hysterical to come here in defense of AT&T! While you might think
      A practical assessment of internet speeds to be BS, by creating your
      Own exceptional fantasy criteria as a counter example simply proves you
      Are here with an Axe to grind. You sound as though you either work for
      That lying corporate giant or you are heavily invested in them. Of course that is
      Pure conjecture. But there is no need for anyone to worry about the economic
      Power of AT&T. No need to defend their deceptive practices
      Designed to over sell.

  • jmee

    The ATT image with horns is accurate. ATT is evil. Much of the evil is ignorance and a “customer assistance” and “billing” system that is a maze of confusion and ineptness. eventually, if you are insistent, you get someone who knows something and can help you. hours later. i am not kidding. heaven help you if you need to speak to someone who has knowledge and can do something for you more than once. heaven help you. thank you for this tutorial. its helped a lot. no wonder going from 3 to 12 mbps has made NO DIFFERENCE, except in the billing and other bogus charges. STAY AWAY FROM ATT!

  • Jessie

    This has been SO HELPFUL. THANK YOU for this. excellent karma for you.

  • Ashleigh

    Alex, thank you for your well written article. I do have a question regarding my recent switch to AT&T(not by my choice-haha) We have downstream speed up to 18Mbps, and compared to our last package/provider our internet is amazingly faster. However, when the two of us are online at the same time, my internet starts lagging to the point my computer freezes. Now I always clear history, cache, cookies, etc..and there is nothing wrong with my computer. I just find it quite odd how it can work just fine when one of us is streaming but when the other gets on, all goes to hell. I saw someone else ask you a similar question, although he had more people online, is there anything i can do about this so we can be online at the same time? Oh and if this means anything, it only slows down my computer, the other one never gets affected by slow internet loading. My computer is new(toshiba 1TB 8G), the other is really old(acer 1G), more than 6yrs old. Idk if that means anything, but i thought id say somthing cause thats odd to me too. lol Thank you in advance for any advice or help you can give!! 🙂

  • kdh

    great article ! im putting your website bookmarked on my computer now !

    • Looks like I’ll have to write more content then!

  • kerednayira

    Thank you so much for your extremely helpful information as I was daunted as to what plan to choose. I’ll definitely save some money this way!

  • Roy

    This is really helpful for me.. Thanks for sharing..

  • CharlesMaglaughlin

    In my zip code, I only have 3 choices: AT&T, Bright House, and satellite.(dish). Dish is not allowed, Bright House does not know what to do with my Linux OS. I used ATT for several years. Upper management is a nightmare. Customer service is amateur, at best. In home installation techs are a gamble. Promotional rates are fantastic. Regular rates are atrocious. Get everything confirmed by email before signing up with work order number and sales person’s name, etc. 18 mbps is working for me perfectly, but promotional rate expires in 30 days. I have a personal problem with their U-Verse Voice digital phone. This would be the reason I go back to landline, and hope somehow to work them for a similar high speed. You need 18 mbps so you don’t need to buffer videos. Otherwise, great product, terrible upper management, ridiculous juvenile customer service. Their websites are a disaster. Their phone system set-up to reach a human being insults ANYone’s intelligence. Threaten to leave when promotional is expiring and hope you get a rep who will agree! What a freakin’ zoo they are!

    • Ymemag

      Just a quick observation and interjection, Mr. Maglaughlin… Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, better known as TCP/IP, is an amazing invention. It is one of the few protocols that bridges the gap between almost all OS’. TCP/IP works on Apple, Windows, Linux/Ubuntu/Unix, embedded systems, phones, serial devices, ETC!!!! So if you need to get Bright House because they satisfy your internet desires without breaking your internet budget, there should be no difference in your Linux OS compared to Windows machines! I would just suggest, their installer bring a windows laptop to ensure everything is working before he leaves. Once he is gone, change all your passwords and WiFi pass phrases.

  • Toadies Granny

    Thank you thank you thank you- for this most helpful article. I live in a section of a small town where AT&T is the only provider. We simply cant get anything else. To top that off, AT&T does not offer the top U-verse packages. So, I am hoping that the 12 Mbps package will give me what I need for watching Hulu/Netflix and internet serfing/Facebooking at the same time. Am I correct in thinking this? PS- Very well written ariticle. I don’t understand computer lingo, so this perfect for idiots like me. 🙂

    • That should work just fine. The caveats to consider are if you will actually be getting the 12Mbps you pay for, and if you have multiple people using the internet.

      But, if that’s all you can get, imagine it’s a moot point anyways. There’s not much competition for internet providers these days.

  • bdl45

    this is really helpful. Thank you!

  • Teeny

    You just made my day. I have zero time for research and I am forever grateful I found your article first. Bless you! Saving you in my favorites.

  • Kenny Hendrick

    Yesterday I was on the phone pricing Hughes sat. ip service. The agent literally talked me into purchasing a 300.00 sat. dish and assured me that the second package would be fine for magicjack voip (without any computers being used). Even the installer assured me (he left here aboutyy 3 hours ago) that it will be fine to use magicjack at the $60.00/10dl-1ul package. Within an hour after the installer left I quickly realized that this wasn’t the fact. I tried to call them but the magicjack is not working well enough for them to hear me….I went on chat with them and I was told that I need the $80.00/10dl-2ul package. I felt (or I should say I WAS) decieved but now I’m in so damn deep into this satelite expense….Okay….now I’m having to type the rest of this in notepad for expediency: In any event, the magicjack voip still is way too choppy even with the “upgrade”. There’s only one more upgrade available and it’s 130.00 FOR A FLIPPING VOICE TO TRAVEL UPSTREAM (I can hear them fine)….which begs the question as to who profits by limiting communications anyway. When the monopoly board holds so few players we all suffer. Now if anybody wants to take down our ability to communicate all they need to do is aim their bullets at 2 or 3 monopolies. This sure is a sad state of affairs across the board. Steel towers crumbling faster than my cigarette can burn (9-11), weapons of mass flipping lies (murder) and every anti-good thing is rampant these days (but what to do…). Sigh. Anyway…this may not be the forum for this but I needed to vent. I’m done now.

  • Kenny Hendrick

    P.S. Why can’t we get satelite service from another country (that is more accomodating to its citizenry)? I recently tried to get cellular through the #2 country on the bandwidth list (the first was one of the koreas I think) and never received a reply back….in fact it was a trick just to get an email to them (for some reason At&t/uverse and TimeWarner…we had both at the time….apparently were restricting communications wit the country…had to use a Tor just to get an email out of “our” country. Does anybody know of any other alternatives aside from smuggling oneself out of the country ?

  • nikamex

    Hi Alex…great article. I am arriving 2 years after you wrote it. Does the info still hold true? Also, you mention that a cellular data connection may experience more latency. Is ATT a cellular data connection? Comcast? Any thoughts about which of those 2 works better for internet? Thanks!

    • The information still holds up as a whole. The only difference is that your ISP might offer higher speeds now.

      A cellular connection literally means off of your cellphone. So if you get an internet connection that comes to your house over cable, DSL, fiber, U-Verse, etc. that part won’t apply.

      Generally, cable is faster than DSL. But AT&T does offer their U-Verse service which can compete with cable on speed. Just shop around and you should be fine.

  • K

    Thanks a lot

  • david

    what would be the best megabits per second if you had 6 devices streaming youtube?

    • That’s a good question! This depends on the size of the video. Your lower end 480p video will probably take up about 1 Mbit/sec, 720p is about 5.4 Mbit/sec, and full 1080p is about 11.5 Mbit/sec.

      If you all wanted to stream 1080p at the same tiem, that would require about almost 69 Mbit/sec!

      But, even if you had a 1000Mbit connection at your disposal, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to stream videos well. This also depends on the back end of your ISP’s network, and how they’re connected to youtube. If the connection between them isn’t strong, youtube might not be able to send you the video as fast as they would prefer.

  • Coolghoul9

    I just looked at their website looking for an internet speed deal and their Basic Internet runs up to 768Kilobytes per second and then their next, more expensive, “faster” speed runs at 3 Megabits per second. Isnt 3 Megabits per second less than 768 Kilobytes per second?!?!?! Outrageous!

  • Zfactor1189

    Thank you for this article, I found it to be very helpful! I am moving into an apartment complex and most people there use Comcast to provide internet. They are cheaper than AT&T at the moment, so I am going to do the same. They’re having a promotional right now on 3mbps and 25mbps – my biggest priority with the internet is video chatting / skyping. I have a good router and modem – can I get away with 3mbps? Will that be sufficient to video chat with halfway decent quality on one computer?

  • Chris Deckrow

    Exactly the info I was looking for. Thanks!

    I would also like to add a quick discussion of actual download speeds. In an ideal world, you would get the full speed of your connection while downloading. But that is almost never the case. Your download speed depends on the upload speed of your source for the download, as well as any bottlenecks between you and the source of the download. Bigger companies have faster pipes. My experience has been that Microsoft is about the fastest. Download an open beta copy of windows vs downloading the same file from a torrent and you will see exactly what I mean. You will get varying actual download speeds from different web sites, but you will almost never see your internet maxed how, no matter how big the file.

    That said. If you and your sister, and your mom, and your dad, and your neighbor that knows your wifi password are all watching HD video AND downloading the latest season of Green is the new Puke, then yeah, speed really really matters.

  • Veronica

    We are in a dead zone. I currently use internet for streaming videos from Netflix and my son uses it for gaming. but we are moving to a place that can only offer AT&T High Speed Internet Direct Pro – 3.0 Mbps
    Will this be enough?

  • larry2012

    Thanks for your article. I still wonder if I need higher speeds if more people are sharing my connection. I have 6Mbs now and due to rising cost of service want to drop it to 3Mbs. Will everyone still be able to surf, download, and check out YouTube videos at that speed? Thanks.

  • Charlie Williams

    Thank you for clarifying this…it doesn’t surprise me a bit!

  • rebirthkairos

    I receive a 1.5mbps data live video stream and have a 5mbps to receive, but to my surprise, the video still freeze at some time. This is becoming so embarrasing and seriously need your help on this.

  • carostans

    Great article, thank you. AT&T is robbery.

    FYI, AT&T upload speed is 1.5Mbps for all plans.

    • Hardin Rich

      That should read as “…speed is [up to] 1.5Mbps..”

  • MI_Girl

    It has been a couple of years since this article was posted….however, can someone please share their thoughts on how much speed may be best for my home?? My step-son does online gaming while he is at our home and my step-daughter may periodically get on her laptop for social media or for school work. We use the internet to stream Netflix videos periodically, as well as periodically using our laptops for researching info for the kids school work or just surfing the net. We currently have a speed of 45 MBPS, and from what I gather from this article, this is possibly way more than we need?? Trying to avoid paying any unnecessary costs. 🙂

  • fredclown

    One thing to mention as well with download speed is that while you may have a 15+ Mb pipe from your service provider you are sure a heck not going to get a 15+ Mb connection to whatever website you are downloading data from. They cap their connection speeds. The only time you are typically going to utilize these big internet pipes is if you have multiple machines, you are downloading multiple things from different sources at the same time, or you torrent.

  • richardeverett

    I’ll tell you whats shameful is how all those lying bastards line the pockets of these crooks in washington dc. Thats h OI w they get away with it.

  • Ebony McHenry

    Wow it’s funny I came across this article as I’ve just signed up for Internet services yesterday with Att

  • Jon d

    Well said thank you for this article.
    I just want to point out that the speeds that are advertised on most sites are megabits per second (Mbps) and not megabytes per second (MBps). There is a difference between then contrary to what many representatives believe. MB is roughly 8 times faster then Mb.

  • Carol Benedict

    Where I live the fastest internet speed is 3mg from AT&T we really wanted to watch Netflix but didn’t think we could I read your article and decided to see we signed up for netflix not only could we stream with no buffering on one tv all the time most of the time we can stream on two tv’s so thank you very much for this information AT&T misleading information was the reason we didn’t think we could stream we can also stream Amazon prime which is a benefit to our prime account that we didn’t think we could use. What a difference the truth makes

    • Mona Garcia

      oh wow yay! 3 mg’s is the fastest in my area too and i was considering canceling because i thought it would be too slow, i guess i’ll give it a try now

    • discodecoequation

      So you can multitask on different devices at once with no problems? AT&T only offers 3 mb here but claims comparable to 58mb I currently have with cable bc fiber optics not shared like cable internet. Some people are telling me to pass on the deal which co claims is less than plain cable internet for both their internet and TV through DirecTV but comes out $13 more. Still cheaper than almost $100 for both from cable.

  • Toby

    I was looking into getting centurylink and was suggested by a friend that I get a 6 mbps connection before my friend suggested that I told him that I currently have a 60 mbps connection. If it helps i’m the only one in the house. Why would my friend suggest a downgrade.

  • Joe

    I just went round and round with AT&T. They just raised
    my package from $146.00 to $201.50. I called to cancel U-verse after making a
    deal with DIRECTV. They were saving me $85.00 a month. The deal they gave me
    dropped my internet from $52.00 to $22.00 a month for 15 Mbps and bumped the speed a
    little to 18 Mbps, of course that’s with a contract. AT&T canceled the
    order saying they would not do the deal even though the U-verse was in my wife’s
    name and the DIRECTV was in my name. I’m thinking about going with Xfinity even
    though it’s a little more, but much faster internet speed, but the reviews for
    customer service are poor. What do you think?

  • radiocycle

    Thanks for a great article! Just the info I needed. Yours in peace,


  • Justin Crumley

    I have internet through a local cable company at 12 mbps and I’m think about switching to AT&T u-verse, but they only offer 1.5 mbps in my area. A guy at AT&T said since u-verse is fiber optic it will be a better and more reliable connection and that their 1.5 mbps would be equivalent to 20-30 mbps with my cable company. Is he bull crapping me or is it true? Should I make the switch? I want to switch mainly for the many and sometimes my internet does have outages and buffers on Netflix.

  • Erika Mejia

    OK very good article and yes I’m very dumb or want to say not familiar with all the bandwidth nor mbps thing, it does answer most of my concerns but not quite sure if I’m understanding right. I want to make sure before I spend money more than I should. I love to play call of duty online every time someone gets on the wifi to watch YouTube or tries to stream a movie on our living room my game seems to lag so bad. The person trying to stream the movie on Firefox takes for ever and most of the time won’t play until I turn mine off. Our modem runs with a 11mbps and it’s a 801.11b/g type. Really don’t know the names sorry. But how can I be able to do all of that at the same time with no traffic no more lags no interruptions for any of us? Also it’s usually about 6 or 7 people who share this speed. It sucks. Please let me know if it’s possible or just simply a fantasy lol thanx.

  • candycusio703

    Savvy piece – For what it’s worth , if your company wants a SAIF X801 , my assistant encountered a template form here https://goo.gl/yFHJ05.

  • John Pape

    Can I game online with PS4 and stream in HD say, 3 firestick a at the same time with the uverse 45Mbps? They say yes, Xfinity says no, that Id need at least 75 or 150 with them.
    Uverse says the difference is that Ingetna dedicated line with them and I have to share a line with up to 1000 other users with Xfinity. It’s all the same price no matter who I choose