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The Speed You Need: How Many Megabits Should I Be Using?


Whether it's using smartphones, desktop computers, or video game consoles, the vast majority of Canadians rely on the internet daily. You likely use the internet so often, in fact, that it can be difficult to determine just how much internet speed you may really need.


How many megabits do I need for my internet speed


Even though your service isn't slow or spotty, you could still be paying a premium for extra internet speed and not even know it. The best way to save money on internet service? Don't buy more than you need.


When it comes to your internet speed, Mbps is the most important feature of your service plan. Not sure what Mbps even is? We'll show you why your Mbps matters and how much coverage is right for your personal needs.



Internet Speed: What is Mbps?


Your internet speed, or bandwidth, is determined by your plan's Mbps. It may look intimidating, but it's an acronym for something very simple: megabits per second. More megabits per second mean faster download speeds and a larger data threshold.



Imagine that your internet cable is a water pipe. Mbps determines the volume of water that can rush through the pipes at any one moment. When you download something substantial, such as a movie, your pipes course at their full speed. With larger pipes, you'll ultimately complete your downloads more quickly compared to thinner pipes with fewer Mbps.


Sometimes, providers or other services may track the megabytes per second rather than the megabits. Megabytes per second (MBps) are denoted with an uppercase B and are eight times larger than megabits. That's a huge difference. Always read the fine print. 



How Much Mbps Do I Need?


Someone who uses the internet just for emails and social media will have different needs than heavy internet users who stream high definition video and download large files.


For light internet users, who use social media, emails, and basic websites, 1 Mbps will be more than enough for their needs.


Moderate internet users will need a little more. These users may need stable connections for their online games, video conferences, or simple video streaming, such as Youtube. For uninterrupted service, a bandwidth of 4 Mbps should suffice.


Then there are heavy internet users. These are people who regularly download massive items from file sharing websites and stream high definition video. 6 Mbps is an excellent starting point to handle these demands.


Once you have a good idea of the Mbps that suits your needs, make sure you choose the best cable provider. Fortunately, nearly every internet provider will offer plans within this range, even for those who rely on rural internet options. Many providers even offer 10 Mbps or more.


You may be thinking it seems like overkill, but there are some factors that may require you to opt for these higher internet speeds.



Why You May Need More Mbps


Since your plan's Mbps determines your maximum download speed at any one time, it requires some special considerations. If you live on your own and only use one device, determining your Mbps is easy.


But what if this plan covers your entire family? 6 Mbps is a fast internet speed for a single person streaming high definition video. But what if you are streaming Netflix on your smart TV while your roommate or family member downloads a video?


Since Mbps is shared between users, your maximum download speed won't be able to keep up with the demand of these two users. You may experience choppy video and your roommate will suffer slow download speeds.


Even if you live alone, you may require more Mbps than you first realize. If you're streaming video to your phone while you download music on a personal computer, it's no different than if there were multiple users. These two devices will split your bandwidth and split your maximum Mbps.



What are the Average Connection Speeds in Canada?


The graph below is presented by, from their article "Average internet download speed in Canada 2018", it is also broken down by province.


Which is very telling, as you can clearly see which Canadian provinces are still having rural connectivity issues as some homes may not have access to high-speed fiber internet, or are still on a dial-up connection. 


Average Internet Download Speeds In Canada by Province Chart



How to Choose the Best Internet Speed


There's a secret to determining the best internet service plan for your needs. The key is discovering your peak internet usage.


Are you and the family all home on a Friday night, often typing away on your own devices? Make sure your Mbps is fast enough to give the entire family the internet speed they need.


Keep in mind our guidelines for light and heavy internet users. If all four family members use their own devices to stream high definition video at the same time, they will each need at least 6 Mbps to maintain seamless viewing.


This means your peak internet usage should account for at least 24 Mbps. You might otherwise experience interruptions and spotty connections.


Outside of your peak hours, you may only use 5 Mbps of your 24 Mbps plan. Some internet users may not mind paying higher rates even if they aren't always getting the most out of their download speeds. On the other side of the coin, perhaps you don't mind dodgy internet during peak hours, so long as you're saving on your monthly internet costs.



The Best Internet at the Best Price


Don't get lost in all the confusing technical jargon. When it comes to internet speed, Mbps is all that matters. With some trial and error, you'll get a good sense of the bandwidth that works for you and your family. Choosing the right internet plan will save you money every month, even if it can be difficult.


Luckily, choosing the best internet provider in Ontario doesn't have to be. We offer premier internet speeds to rural residents at affordable prices. Check out our rural internet plans and see which one is right for you.

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