What is a good Internet speed?

A good Internet speed depends on your household’s size and what you use it for. Figure out a good speed for you in 4 steps.

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The NBN comes in six different speed tiers, each with their own associated download speed (measured in Mbps). While most households fall into the NBN 50 or NBN 100 category, it can be hard to tell which one you'll need by guesswork alone.

Here's what you need to know to work out a good speed for your situation.

What do different speeds let you do?

Even without diving into your particular situation and needs, we can give a general idea of what different speeds are good for, in terms of activities and household size. We've split them up to align with the kind of NBN plans you can buy from providers.

Download speed (relevant NBN speed tier)Household sizeOnline activities
5–25Mbps (NBN 12 to NBN 25)1–2 peopleSocial media, basic browsing, standard video streaming, music streaming
25–50Mbps (NBN 50)2–3 peopleHD video streaming, online gaming, basic working from home
50–100Mbps (NBN 100)2–4 people4K video streaming, heavy gaming, working from home
100–250Mbps (NBN 250)3–5 people or a small business4K video streaming, multiple people working from home, multiple gamers, huge file downloads
250–1,000Mbps (NBN 1000)5+ people or a medium-sized businessPower users, home professionals – this speed will usually be overkill for households unless you have a lot of people sharing a house who are online and doing different things all at once

While this table gives a general idea of good Internet speeds for different households, you'll do better with a closer look at your specific needs with the following steps.

4 steps to find a good Internet speed

1. How many people live in your house?

The more people in your house, the greater the load on your network and the higher total bandwidth you'll need. Count everyone who uses the Internet regularly, including yourself.

City Traffic Congestion

Bandwidth vs speed

Think of your Internet connection like a car on a highway. Your plan's speed is how fast your car can go when no one else is around. But as soon as you add more cars to the highway, all of them have to slow down. This is bandwidth – the more traffic on your network (e.g. more people), the slower everyone's connection goes.

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2. How many devices are connected at once?

Similar to more people, the more devices you have connected at once, the more bandwidth they consume. However, this is only true if they're all being used at once. Having your phone connected to Wi-Fi on sleep mode while you're working on a laptop won't really increase bandwidth use. But if you're living in a household of four and you're all streaming different Netflix shows, you'll need more bandwidth available.

3. What are you using the Internet for?

Not all activities chew through the same amount of data and certain activities need faster connections than others. Here's a basic idea of recommended speeds for certain activities.

ActivityAverage speed recommended
Basic social media1Mbps
Streaming music1Mbps
Online gaming1–2Mbps
Group video conferencing2–3Mbps
Large file downloads10–15Mbps
Streaming standard video3Mbps
Streaming HD video5Mbps
Streaming 4K video25Mbps

4. Bring it all together

So what does all this mean? Based on the steps above, you have a decent idea of who and what in your house is using data. With that in mind, let's split up the occupants of your house into three kinds of users:

  • Light users don't use the Internet very much. They'll usually browse social media (1Mbps), check their emails (1Mbps) and have the odd video call (3Mbps) here and there on a single device. Assume that they'd need 5Mbps each.
  • Medium users do more. They'll be watching a video on their phone (5Mbps) while downloading something on their computer (10Mbps) and maybe scrolling through social media at the same time. Assume that they'd need 15Mbps each.
  • Heavy users are data guzzlers. At one time, they're watching an HD video in the background (5Mbps), video conferencing for work (3Mbps), browsing through a bunch of pages (1Mbps) and downloading/uploading various files (15Mbps). Assume at least 25Mbps is needed for each person.

Once you've decided what category everyone in your house falls into, add them all up and you should have a decent idea of what a good speed might be for your house. For houses with two or three people in them, you'll most likely fall somewhere around the NBN 50 category, or maybe NBN 100.

In general, you can always start at a lower speed tier on a no-contract plan, then upgrade the following month if it's not getting the job done.

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We've pre-set the filters to show NBN 50 plans and faster. If you're looking for something else, feel free to click "Filter results" and adjust the different categories.

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