Is your network fast enough for HD streaming?
Tips & Tricks

Is your network fast enough for HD streaming?

As more of us cut the cord, streaming is how we enjoy TV. But how fast does our connection need to be for smooth, buffer-free internet television?

There’s no getting around it—quitting cable TV and upgrading to streaming TV puts increased demands on your home internet connection. This of course begs the question: If I rely on internet television, how fast should my internet be to ensure smooth streaming?

How internet bandwidths measure up

As an internet company, we have to understand measurements like megabits per second and gigabits per second as well as what’s required for different online activities. Luckily, there’s no need for you to have more than a very basic understanding in order to make sure you have the internet you need. In short, internet and network speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The bandwidth is the maximum speed your connection can theoretically handle. Let’s look at some common internet plan bandwidths.


5 Mbps is pretty old-school and isn’t recommended for HD streaming or video chatting. You’ll probably experience occasional buffering if that’s the only internet use happening, and as soon as someone else in the house gets online—forget it. 30 Mbps will give you a better experience, but again, you’ll be affected as more devices utilize your connection. 100 Mbps is where you can generally consider the start of “good-to-great” internet for families. And 1,000 Mbps (or 1 gigabit per second) internet like what Ting offers? Well, now you’re squarely in “amazing” territory where all family members (and heck, their friends who’ve popped over) can comfortably stream to their hearts’ content without the worry of a single spinning buffer wheel. 

Wait—are we talking about speed or bandwidth?

Both, actually. Don’t worry; it can be confusing. Recognizing this, some smarty-pants made up the “highway” metaphor. 

Bandwidth is like the posted speed limit on a highway. If everything is clear and traffic is flowing well, you can go up to that speed. (Unlike your uncle Mike, data will only go as fast as the speed limit.) However, if there’s a traffic jam or something’s wrong with your car, you can only go as fast as these other factors allow you to. How fast you’re actually going at any given time is your internet speed. 

This is really important to understand because not all internet is created equalicon-Ting-van@500x when it comes to speed vs. bandwidth. With cable internet, it’s very unlikely you’ll ever see speeds equal to your plan’s maximum bandwidth. The long runs of copper wiring, copper being affected by weather and other variables, and the fact that you share your connection with the neighborhood means that your speeds will likely be considerably lower. Hybrid connections that use both fiber and copper networks also experience speed losses.

So that 5, 30 or 100 Mbps that you expected to serve you and your family perfectly may fall short. With a 1,000 Mbps, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connection like the type Ting Internet offers, you know you’ll be getting lightning-fast, consistent speeds. It’s perfect for HD and ultra-HD internet television no matter how many users are online at the same time!

Measuring your current internet access speed

We have no doubt that right now, you’re very curious to find out what your actual internet speed is as opposed to your plan’s advertised maximum bandwidth. Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to figure this out using your internet! We provided a handy speed test (you don’t need to be a Ting customer to use it) that will let you know how fast your internet really is. 

So what internet speed do I need?

Ting-Internet@500xYou’ll have to consider a few things to answer this question, but it’s worth it. First, sit down and figure out what you will be using the internet for. Do you have gamers in the house? How many streaming devices do you expect to be using the home internet connection at the same time? To be safe, consider the maximum usage likely to happen at any one time. That might look something like this: two kids streaming Netflix in HD at the same time while your most studious bundle of joy is virtually learning. You may be having one of your many Zoom meetings in your home office while your partner unwinds by gaming in the basement. 

Keeping that in mind, take a look at bandwidth by activity guides as well as a bandwidth calculator like this one. This will help you start building a picture of what you need. And here’s why that speed vs. bandwidth distinction is so important. When you figure out what you need, research the actual speeds customers experience from different providers and plans. Armed with this information, you’ll likely be able to choose the internet plan that’s perfect for you (and your family’s flawless HD streaming of internet television).

Stream like a pro with Ting Internet

Quite simply, with Ting Internet, you’ll always enjoy crystal-clear HD streams with no buffering. Our 1 Gbps fiber connection offers enough bandwidth for all the online activities you and your family could ever partake in. At the same time, you’ll be choosing an internet service provider that’s community-minded, dedicated to amazing customer service, and committed to fair and simple pricing with no contracts. 


Check your address to see if you can order Ting today!

Sign up for our newsletter!

Be the first to know about news and special offers.