Do I really need that much speed?  Before you buy into the marketing tactic that you need a 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, or even 1000 Mbps download speed… take a look at the information I have provided here.  You may be surprised!  If you don’t believe me, CTRL+SHIFT+ESC and view your network card graph in real time and see for yourself. 

Browsing The Web

Conditions: 802.11g (54Mbps) Wifi connection on opposite side of home from Wifi Router, full signal. 

Notice that despite the media-rich site browsing activity, the browsing activity did not demand more than 1-2 Mbps, with one initial spike over 11 Mbps and a few ~3 Mbps spikes. 

 

Watching 2 480p Videos Simultaneously

Conditions: 802.11g (54Mbps) Wifi connection on opposite side of home from Wifi Router, full signal. 

Aside from spikes, 4-6 Mbps seems to be all these videos would need to run without buffering. 

 

Watching a 1440p (HD) Video

Conditions: 802.11g (54Mbps) Wifi connection on opposite side of home from Wifi Router, full signal. 

Notice that the download duty cycle is not 100%.  I had no buffering issues.  The average download speed demand was about 10 Mbps and was around 20 Mbps during download spikes.  

Things to Consider

While limited exceptions exist, download speed is much more important than upload speed.  Whether you are updating a game, watching videos, steaming audio, or simple web browsing, it all requires data to be sent to you, hence the term download. When you see upload speeds that are much lower than download, that is fine for the vast majority of users and is standard practice. 
ISPs commonly conflate megabits per second (Mbps) and megabytes per second (MBps).  This may be due to incompetence or to mislead.  When measuring download and upload speeds, it is industry practice to use Mbps.  We measure data file size in bytes.  A bit and a byte are different units of measurement.  8 bits=1 byte.  To make more sense to the average user, this also means 8 Megabits=1 Megabyte. 

ISPs that offer residential service can only offer “up to” speeds, not dedicated speeds.  This means that when a company advertises 100 Mbps, they really mean “up to” 100 Mbps.  More often than not, data caps are also in play. Speeds may slow during peak usage hours due to capacity limitations. 

Enterprise business users pay for dedicated connections, which means that their speed is guaranteed 24/7 without limitation. 

 

Large ISPs love to bundle other services with your internet for a “reduced” rate.  Don’t buy into these tactics.  Your rate will increase if you ever discontinue one of your bundled services.  They also like to offer gift cards or loaded debit cards.  The value of those cards is eroded by the ridiculous rates they charge for service. 
Large ISPs like to offer promotional rates.  The rates do not include taxes or fees.  When you get your bill, you will be shocked to see miscellaneous taxes and fees tacked on, including the infamous modem and router lease fees.  After the initial promotional term, your rate will increase to unpleasant levels! 

Some ISPs prioritize certain traffic, such as certain websites and streaming services over others.  Throttling (arbitrary speed slow down) also occurs.  Seek out an ISP that is content- neutral in these matters.