Internet Questions

Usage and Speed Explained

Here are some common examples of usage, the services below are showing two different video qualities streamed over an hour. These are very close approximations, in Youtube's case in particular it may vary more as there as so many more variables since their content is user created.

  • MB=Megabyte
  • Mb=Megabit
  • A single byte is equal to 8 bits (a factor of 8) so Mb/s is Megabits per second i.e. your speed.
  • Thus to donwload 100 MegaBytes at 100 Megabits per second would take 8 seconds.

Transfer speeds are like flowing water, the higher the speed the more data you can consume. Just like a fire truck, the larger the hose they use the faster it transfers water and the quicker they can empty their sotrage tank, which is like their data usage limit. Keeping Netflix as an example, here are streaming speeds as posted by them which you can view on their website as well here.

  • 5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Megabits per second - Recommended for Ultra HD quality

This means if you have our Family plan at 100mbps you could be watching four Ultra High Definition streams at the same time as 25mbpsx4=100mbps, or if you actually had enough devices, 20 High Definition streams at once. Keep in mind though that everything you do online uses bandwidth i.e. affects your transfer speed. Two people could be watching UHD Netflix streams while another is downloading a movie or game and you might hit your 100mbps limit. Some services but not all will let you download as fast as you can so if you have two UHD streams using 50mbps and someone downloads a 10GB file at 75mbps one or both of your streams will experience quality issues or 'choppiness' as you do not have enough unused speed to keep them running properly. There are ways to control allocation of speed through the device itself or your routing equipment but that is beyond the scope of this explaination.