How much internet bandwidth do you really need to work remotely?

How much internet bandwidth do you really need to work remotely?

If your company shifted to a remote work setup, you should understand how crucial having enough internet bandwidth for remote workers is. But what does “good enough” mean? And what’s the minimum bandwidth ideal for work-related tasks? Let’s find out.

What is internet bandwidth?

Bandwidth is how much data your internet connection can transfer in a second. A higher bandwidth allows more data to be transferred at once. Most internet providers have different bandwidth limits for downloads and uploads.

Data transfer speed is calculated in megabytes per second (Mbps) or bytes per second (Bps), which indicates the maximum amount of data that can be sent through your home internet connection.

Minimum Internet Speed Required for Remote Workers

Realistically, most people could perform their jobs with just 10 Mbps download and upload speed. But practically speaking, the more bandwidth you have, the better your various applications and tasks will perform. The Federal Communication Commission considers 25 Mbps to be considered broadband internet. Keep in mind that this is a minimum speed requirement.

If you’re working from home you’ll want to consider what tasks you perform daily and how many of those tasks and applications you have going at the same time. To reduce buffering, lag, and frustration during your workday, we recommend investing in a high speed internet plan. A minimum of 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed is a good starting point for remote work. If you have multiple people in your home working at the same time, then consider these speeds per person.

This should support all online activities related to work – be it file sharing, videoconferencing, or chat. If you live in a metropolitan or suburban area, you have a good chance of finding multiple internet providers that offer such speeds.

What to Look For in Internet Plans

In addition to considering your online activity, be on the lookout for certain features commonly found in internet plans that enhance your home internet experience.

Unlimited Data

Working from home requires a lot of data. All the video calls, file transfers, emails, and Slack messages add up quickly. Then factor in how you use your internet connection outside of work, which can easily double your data use per month. For this reason, we suggest finding an internet plan that does not impose potentially costly monthly internet data caps.

Symmetrical Speeds

Symmetrical speeds refer to an internet plan with the same download and upload speeds. Typically, providers prioritize download speeds over upload speeds because they’re needed for common activities like using online streaming platforms and online gaming. Symmetrical speeds are not required for efficient remote work, but you will notice a significant improvement in your video calls and file transfers with a faster upload speed.

Free WiFi Hotspots

Some WiFi providers offer free nationwide hotspots with their service – a nice perk to have as a remote worker. With no tie to a physical office, you have more freedom to take your work outdoors or to coffee shops for a change of scenery.

To support full connectivity, providers like Xfinity, AT&T, and Spectrum offer free WiFi hotspots to customers nationwide.

Connection Type

Your speed isn’t the only aspect that affects internet performance. Another key element of internet service is connection type. Thanks to transferring rates and reliability, newer technologies like cable and fiber internet deliver better service than DSL and satellite internet. Providers and availability vary by location, but we recommend shopping for cable or fiber options if you work from home and want the best connection.

Data & Speed Requirements by Activity

Below are estimates of the data and speed required for the most common remote work activities:

Activity Min. Upload Min. Download Recommended Upload Recommended Download
Zoom* 500 Kbps 500 Kbps 3.8 Mbps 3 Mbps
Skype* 128 Kbps 2 Mbps 512 Kbps 4 Mbps
Google Meet* 3.2 Mbps 3.2 Mbps 5 Mbps 5 Mbps
Microsoft Teams* 150 Kbps 200 Kbps 2.5 Mbps 4 Mbps
Slack* 100 Kbps 200 Kbps 1 Mbps 2 Mbps

*Speeds are based on group calls at 1080p HD quality.

As you can see, you don’t need a tremendous amount of bandwidth or speed to engage in common work-from-home activities. But keep in mind that these are minimums and more bandwidth and faster speeds will significantly improve your remote work experience.

Contact Beringer Today!

At Beringer, we understand that our customers want to work both in the office and remote. Give us a call today to ask how we can help your company to understand the technical needs of your workers when they are not in the office, but must continue to work as efficiently and effectively as if they were.

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution also provides expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and Training,  Unified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.