The Ultimate Guide to Internet Bandwidth Requirements

When deciding how much Internet speed or bandwidth you need, it is important to take into consideration which services and devices you use most. Some require more bandwidth than others, but it may not be as much as you think.

When thinking about your Internet speed, it helps to know the difference between upload and download speed. Upload speed refers to how quickly your connection can send data (i.e. uploading photos to Facebook or emailing files). Download refers to how quickly your connection can receive data (i.e. streaming videos or surfing the web). Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular services and how much bandwidth they require:

Streaming TV shows, movies and other videos can be one of the most bandwidth-intensive activities. The amount of bandwidth required can vary depending on the service and what video quality you are streaming in.

  • Netflix – 3 Mbps download for SD and 5 Mbps download for HD
  • Hulu – 3 Mbps download for on demand content and 8 Mbps download for live TV
  • Amazon Prime – 1 Mbps download for SD and 5 Mbps download for HD
  • YouTube – 2.5 Mbps download
  • HBO Max – 5 Mbps download
  • Peacock – 2.5 Mbps download
  • Disney Plus – 5 Mbps download
  • ESPN Plus – 2 Mbps download
  • Sling – 5 Mbps download

Streaming music requires very little bandwidth. Many music streaming services even allow you to download your music so that you don’t have to use your Internet when listening to music.

  • Spotify – 96 Kbps download
  • Apple Music – 256 Kbps download
  • Pandora – 150 Kbps download
  • Amazon Music – 500 Kbps download

Playing games on an online server typically require a relatively small amount of bandwidth, but have requirements for both upload and download speeds.

  • Nintendo Switch – 3 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload
  • PS4 – 3 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload
  • XBox One – 3 Mbps download, .5 Mbps upload
  • Google Stadia – 10 Mbps

Wi-Fi based security systems and cameras constantly use your Internet speeds and need a good download and upload speed.

  • Nest – 150 – 4000 Kbps upload per device
  • Ring – 2 Mbps upload and download per device
  • SimpliSafe – Cameras require 0.75 Mbps – 2 Mbps upload per device

Since you are sending and receiving data when video conferencing, both your upload and download speed need to be sufficient.

  • Zoom – 2 Mbps download and upload
  • Skype – 1.5 Mbps download and upload

About unWired Broadband
unWired Broadband is the leading Internet provider for rural and underserved areas in Central and Northern California. Their network includes over 200 towers connecting communities that have been ignored by cable and fiber Internet providers. Since their inception in 2003, they have expanded their connectivity suite to also include redundancy solutions, a data center and most recently, fiber Internet.