What's a Good Wi-Fi Speed and How to Measure It

How much bandwidth do you need?
Ash Ash (298)
Total time: 3 minutes 

If you're managing a wireless network, it's crucial to be aware of the overall network speed. Understanding how it's measured and using an appropriate amount of bandwidth will ensure all devices receive a smooth, seamless experience.

If you’re new to Wi-Fi in general, check out our list of frequently asked Wi-Fi questions. You may also appreciate our guides on how to get free WiFi and how to choose between 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels on your router.

How is Wi-Fi speed measured?

Wi-Fi is measured using two metrics: upload speed and download speed.

  • Upload speed refers to the speed that your machine is capable of transmitting data across the network.
  • Download speed refers to how fast your device can receive data.
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A quick and easy way to check your Wi-Fi speed is to use third-party software. Speed Check is a free, browser-based tool that provides real-time feedback about your current network speed. Just open a web browser, go to the url https://www.speedcheck.org, and use the tool to generate your network speed data.

To learn more ways to verify your network performance, visit our guide on how to check your Wi-Fi speed. To help better understand what network speeds are best for you, here are some examples of common environments and ideal bandwidth for each situation.

In a household with just a few individuals gaming and streaming media, you can get by with a download speed of 30 Mbps and upload speed of around 3 Mbps.

For serious gamers that don't want a hint of latency, download speeds in the 100 Mbps - 200 Mbps range a will provide more reliability.

Media streaming, like gaming, can require larger amounts of bandwidth - especially when streaming 4K media.

A small household with a few people using the internet to stream media can get away with download speeds in the 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps range. But if you want to ensure there's no lag in your scheduled binge, look for service that provides at least 100Mbps.

If you plan on working from home, you may need network service with a little more juice. Tools like remote desktop and video conferencing applications can place serious demands on network bandwidth. If you've got multiple people working from home that rely on these online resources, you may want to look for download speeds in the 50 - 100 Mbps area.

Casual computing refers to anyone who mainly uses the internet for basic browsing. They might enjoy the occasional video or browser game, but they aren't using the internet for MMOs or international group calls. Casual users can get by with download speeds of around 5 Mbps to 25 Mbps.