What is Internet speed and why is it important?
Think of internet speed as water pressure: how much it is growing in a given time. (With water pressure, it is technically how much volume increases in a given space, but for practical purposes, it is attractive.)
Computers connected to the Internet transmit information to each other in electronic packets. A packet is a unit of data. Consider it a dot. Just as high water pressure supplies more drops of water in a short time, a faster internet connection can deliver more packets in a short time.
The amount of data transferred by a connection at a particular time is the Internet speed of that connection.
For example, you can technically wash your hair with a showerhead, but having enough pressure to pull out the shampoo quickly makes all the difference. Up to internet speed, you can technically stream a video by watching one or two frames at a time, and then wait for the next few minutes to buffer, but nobody wants to do that. Faster Internet speeds makes everything online a smoother experience for you.
Test your speed
Comparing your Internet speeds and recommendations for Internet-based services such as Netflix and Hulu will help you with your connection.
Since speed is important for your Internet-based activities to work well, you should check your Internet speed regularly. You can easily test your current speed by clicking the button below.
Internet Speed Test Button
Knowing your internet speed can help you find the best deal on the Internet service, because when an Internet service provider announces a promotional deal, you have a reference point to see if the speed offer is actually faster than what you already have.
Upload speed vs download speed
After completing the speed test, you’ll see two numbers in the results: one is your upload speed and the other is your download speed.
Download Speed The speed at which information from your Internet-connected device reaches the Internet. For example, if you open a Facebook app on your phone, your download speed will determine how long it takes for your feed to load.
Upload speed is the opposite. It is the speed at which information travels from your Internet-connected device to the Internet. So if you post it on your Facebook timeline, your upload speed will determine how long it takes for your post to arrive on the Facebook server to see all your friends.
Upload speed, download speed and your internet activity
With most Internet plans, download speeds are much faster than upload speeds. This makes sense because users download more information than they normally upload. Broadcasting videos or music, reading blog posts or scrolling through your Instagram feed doesn’t really require upload bandwidth once you start.
Upload speed is important for interactive applications. While some simple interactive applications such as online gaming and video chat do better with better upload speeds, many users’ Internet services provide enough upload speed to handle these things without much trouble.
Upload speed is also important in a corporate setting. Sharing large files may require higher upload speeds.
If you want to send a picture to a customer for approval, you need a good upload speed. This is especially important if you have multiple people working at the same time because everyone on the same network shares the internet bandwidth. Also, if you need to create HD videos or anything else and upload them to a server or cloud, your upload speed will be up.
Bits and bytes
Internet speed is a measure of the rate at which information is transferred from one place to another on the Internet. That measure can be expressed in many ways, but the first step to understanding it is to understand the units of electronic information.
Electronic information means information stored or used by a computer or Internet device. It tells the computer what to do, what to display and how to interact with one another. The basic unit of electronic information is called bit. The bit can be expressed as single or zero so that the computer can work as part of the binary code.
In most binary code, eight bits are combined into a series, each with one or zero values. The byte of the US array of bits of information.
The variation in the value of the bits in the byte determines what information the byte represents. Which means that a byte 256 represents any of the possible information. Those bytes work together to create more diversity. Almost all electronic information – from displays in the basic calculator to HD blockbusters to stream – is made up of these bits and bytes.
Bite for a second
When computers send information over the Internet, that information is in bits or bytes. Bits or bytes take time to reach their destination. That time is measured in seconds. So Internet speed is measured by determining how many bits or bytes are transferred per second, so bits per second or bytes per second.
Because bits and bytes are so small, the number of times they move in a second is almost 1,000. The common practice is to express large numbers using metric-based prefixes:
1,000 to kg
Mega for 1 million
From GHz to 1 billion
Taken together, Internet speeds can be measured in many ways.
Kilobytes per second (Kbps)
Kilobytes per second (kbps)
Megabits per second (Mbps)
Megabytes per second (Mbps)
Gigabits per second (Gbps)
Gigabytes per second (Gbps)
Although expressions of this speed are technically correct, Internet service providers generally advertise their service efficiency using bit measurements of Kbps, Mbps or Gbps, perhaps by bytes of measurements. This is because the number appears eight times larger.
Internet speed conversion chart
Most Internet speeds are expressed in Mbps. Upload speed and very slow download speed are sometimes measured in Kbps. However, over the past decade, top-end Internet speeds have increased and faster Internet speeds are now often measured in Gbps.
Internet services that can access gbps are often called 1gig or gigabit internet. These super-fast internet connections are usually based on fiber-optic technology.
If you’re looking for a faster Internet connection, check out our guide to the fastest ISP in the US.
Although “bandwidth” and “Internet speed” are often interchangeable, they actually represent two different aspects of Internet service. Internet speed is a measure of how fast information is transferred, and bandwidth refers to the ability of a personal Internet connection. So if your internet connection has 5 Mbps bandwidth, your speed will only be faster when running at full capacity.
Many factors can slow down your Internet speed from reaching its full bandwidth, but the bandwidth of a connection always limits how fast information can be transmitted over the Internet. This is why Internet service providers list their Internet services at speeds up to “given speeds”. They don’t really advertise the speed of their services; They tell you the bandwidth of your connection by letting you know at high speed that they are capable of transmitting the connection.
The term “broadband” has been largely replaced by “high-speed Internet”, but it has the same false-equivalence to refer to “bandwidth” as “internet speed”.