Do You Really Need a Gigabit Internet Connectivity?


All those Internet Service Providers advertise their superbly fast gigabit internet, enticing you to purchase one of their gigabit plans as it is going to catapult you into the future. So you buy a gigabit plan, but discover it has only an infinitesimal impact on your online life; it’s the same browsing, streaming, gaming, etc. 

So what are you going to do with all those megabits? 

Unless you run a small business or have a household full of furiously serious gamers, streamers, and live a high-tech lifestyle, chances are those megabits are going to waste. The cherry on top, you are paying an exorbitant amount for something you have no need of.

Therefore, it’s highly essential you identify your internet needs before purchasing a plan and utilize those savings for something useful. Depending on your internet, entertainment and connectivity needs, you could bundle up with TV, phone, or both. 

Providers of Charter Spectrum’s stature have a myriad of plans and bundles from megabits to gigabits in order to cater to different types of connectivity requirements across individuals and households.  

Bit, Byte, Megabit, Gigabit: Unfurling the Muddle

Bit: The speed at which data is transfered i.e. how fast a video can be downloaded?

Byte: The amount of data you utilize i.e. how much data can be stored on your hard drive?

Bytes entail eight bits of data. Moreover, a byte is denoted with a capital B and bit as a lowercase b. Hence, an 8 Mbps is equivalent to 1 MBps.

Megabyte: A million bytes of data

Gigabyte: A billion bytes of data

Terabyte: 1024 Gigabytes of data

Most of the plans by your Internet service provider are found in megabits, from 10 Mbps to 987 Mbps. Some providers offer gig speeds, but they prevail in the business cliques. Only Xfinity offers 2 Gbps of speed and that too has an infinitesimal coverage.

The data cap is the limit your provider places over the amount of data you can utilize every month. After crossing a certain threshold, the service is either hard-capped, in which the internet is unavailable until the next month of the plan or it’s soft capped, your internet service slows down considerably. 

You’ll see the providers capping data in Gbps, some like Cox have 1TB of data caps that are quite impossible to cross. However, very few providers don’t restrict their customers with capping such as Charter Spectrum™. 

 The Million-Dollar Question: How Much Speed Do You Actually Need?

If you’re the only internet user in your house, you need only a 5 Mbps to download speed to stream a standard HD video, and a 25 Mbps of speed for an Ultra HD (4K) video. However, you’ll need to move up the steps of your internet plan if you have more users, as these aforementioned speeds are just requirements of the service itself. 

A rough outline of download speed requirements:

Minimum 1-5 Mbps: For basic browsing and emails  

Minimum 15-25 Mbps: Streaming movies, TV shows, and other videos in standard HD

Minimum 20-100 Mbps: Streaming content in Ultra HD (4K) and playing online games 

Minimum 200 or more Mbps: Streaming content in Ultra HD (4K), playing intensive 3D games, and downloading huge files.

The more intense your level of activity, the number of users and device connectivity is greater the internet speed needs. However, a gig speed is still going to be a superfluous luxury. Therefore, it’s usually ideal for humongous households, techies, gamers, and connected homes. 

Are Upload Speeds Important?

For some users, upload is just as important as download speed. However, most don’t give it much thought and even the ISPs refrain from advertising upload speeds as they are embarrassingly low as around one-tenth of the download speed.

Good upload speeds are offered in fiber internet plans, which have symmetric speeds i.e. same download and upload speed. Alas, DSL, satellite, and cable connection types cannot reach that benchmark. Not even the fiber-cable hybrid that offers fiber download speeds at the price of cable internet. 

Upload speed is necessary when you’re uploading huge files on the cloud, are in the habit of uploading gig size videos, telecommuting, etc. However, as an average user, you wouldn’t feel the need for a gigabit upload speed.

What We Conclude? 

A 200 Mbps of download speed is considered fast by most standards and will fulfill most of your needs quite easily. As you enjoy streaming 4k content, 3D games, or download extremely large files, the more bandwidth you would need. What takes hours to accomplish via a lesser connection, it would take a mere few seconds to achieve with a gig speed.

 Like we mentioned above, if you and your household have heavy data requirements, then a gigabit plan would sound appropriate.