Wireless Home Internet speed: how much speed do I need for different online activities?

Different online activities require different internet speeds and bandwidth. Typically, about 90% of online activities rely on download speeds (as opposed to upload speeds) for smooth streaming, surfing and more.

How much download speed do I need?

Take a look at the chart below – it’ll provide an estimate of how much download speed your online activities (gaming or streaming) need on a connected device (for a phone, tablet or laptop).

While one online activity on one device may not require much download speed, your home’s internet connection will need to support all the connected devices in your home that are online at the same time, including smart home devices and applications running in the background, like computers and gaming consoles downloading automatic software updates.

Speed snapshots:

  • Basic surfing and checking emails require very little download speed.
  • Streaming music, video calls and gaming require more speed to download the larger file sizes.
  • 4K video streaming requires the most speed to support higher video resolution
Online activity Typical download speed required per device*
Emails and web surfing 0.5 to 1 Mbps
Music streaming 1 to 2 Mbps
SD video streaming 2 to 3 Mbps
Video calls and gaming 3 to 5 Mbps
HD video streaming 5 to 25 Mbps

4K video streaming

25 to 50 Mbps

*Speeds may vary based on file size and quality.

Keep in mind: When you run a speed test on your device, the results you get are specific to:

  1. Your device’s make and model
  2. Whether you’re currently running other apps on that device
  3. Whether other devices in the home are online at the same time
  4. Whether you are doing the test over WiFi vs. a wired connection.
  5. Interference from neighbouring devices.

How much upload speed do I need?

For everyday usage of the following online activities, the typical upload speed required is between 1 Mbps to 5 Mbps per connected device.

  • Video calling:
    • Skype recommends 1.5 Mbps for HD video calling.  Learn more.
  • Live video streaming: Even for HD video quality live streaming (720p), only 1.5 Mbps to 4 Mbps is required for popular platforms:
    • Facebook Live recommends 4 Mbps. Learn more.
    •  YouTube recommends between 1.5 Mbps and 4 Mbps. Learn more.
  • Gaming: 
  • Home security cameras:
    • Rogers Smart Home Monitoring Live Video Streaming Service requires 0.2 Mbps
    • Google Nest requires 0.8 Mbps to 4 Mbps for uploading video from your camera to the cloud. Learn more.
  • Data backups: These typically run in the background, aren’t time-sensitive and simply use the amount of upload bandwidth available without a specific minimum requirement.