In our ever-evolving world of sophisticated tech, it’s important to recognize that there’s very little “future proofing” to be had. By and large, the thing that’s newest and shiniest today is going to be outdone tomorrow. “High-speed internet” provides a solid example for this way of thinking since our understanding of how fast “high-speed” is has changed along with the technology. Not too long ago, 10 Mbps was a fairly fast connection. Now, it’s practically scraping the bottom of the barrel, while the top speeds are consistently much higher. In the following article, we’re going to illustrate some of the benefits that come with a truly high-speed internet connection—we’re talking 50 Mbps and up. With speeds like that, your gaming, Netflix-streaming, and overall online activity will benefit in ways that you might not even realize!
Read on, if you want to learn about the tried-and-true benefits of a high-speed internet connection, in just about everything that you do online!
Whenever speed enters a discussion, it’s easy to say that faster is better. Apart from when you’re driving (please don’t break any laws, dear readers) the more untapped speed that you can bring to a system, the more that you’re going to be able to get done. When it comes to streaming, a faster connection means faster streaming, but it also means better video quality overall. Or, if you’re an audiophile, it can mean unpaused bridging between high-quality music playback.
If you’re a gamer, the ante runs even higher. Higher speeds typically mean lower latency, which means that your online performance is going to be better. Maybe you’re a competitive Overwatch player that can’t risk even a second of connection lag standing between you and victory. If that’s the case, high-speed is the way to go; as fast as you can order it. However, it’s not just the gameplay that’s affected by zippity-quick internet speeds. Let’s say that you’re a fan of digital downloads for your PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or even your Windows PC—Steam is rather popular these days, right?
You’ve probably noticed that games have become massive with regard to the amount of space they occupy on your hard drive. We’re talking 50 GB and up, only going lower when games install themselves on your home consoles. That can take an awfully long time to download…unless you’re working with a high-speed internet connection. If you’re rocking 50 Mbps down, those gigantic game installations can happen in no time at all.
The list of benefits could go on and on (and they will, below) but it suffices to say before we get started—there’s very little to say against a faster internet connection. We’ll save our handful of drawbacks for the bottom of the list, but first, we’re going to point out all of the ways that it can make your online experience better.
How Much Speed is “High-Speed?”
What we constitute as “great” technology seems to change almost faster than we can keep up with us. Internet speeds that are considered fast today might be seen as slow, by the same time next year. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s an inevitability. A fault of perception more than it is innovation.
When we’re told that the latest and greatest technology will “future-proof” our experiences, we’re essentially buying a lie. Instead of spending money on tech—like a high-speed internet connection—to prevent having to spend more money in the future, think of it differently. Take stock of your use case right now—what do you need high-speed internet for?—and then invest in that use case. When your use case changes, you’ll know that it’s time to upgrade!
That taken into account, there are plenty of reasons to spring for a high-speed connection of 50 Mbps and higher.
Finding the Best High-Speed Connection
Here’s where things can get a little bit complicated. Not everyone is going to have the same amount of luck when it comes to finding a high-speed internet connection. In some areas of the US, high-speed internet access might cost more. In rural areas, speeds as high as 50 Mbps might not be found at all, if the infrastructure isn’t in place to support it.
However ironic it may be, the best way to go about finding the best connection local to you is by searching online. There are many tools, ratings, and review systems available for internet service providers, and a combination of online resources and previous customers’ testimony will definitely help to point you in the right direction.
Benefits for Netflix and Other Streaming Services
Let’s talk about the benefits that come with ponying up and paying for the fastest internet speeds that you can afford. They’re going to be many, and there’s little doubt that acquiring faster speeds is the best thing that you can do for your experience with Netflix and other streaming services.
- First, faster internet speeds will greatly allow you to reduce the amount of time necessary for buffering videos. All of that time spent watching your buffering go from 0% to 100% before you can watch a movie or TV show on Netflix? Imagine if that went by in the space of two blinks, instead of 15 seconds. With speeds up to 50 Mbps—or anything relatively close to that—it’ll appear almost instantaneous.
- Better resolutions! Though we’re going to talk about the much-lauded 4K content below, one thing is relatively always true—faster internet speeds will allow you to stream higher-quality videos. We’re not just talking pixel clarity; we’re also talking overall scaling, the difference between 720p and 1080p video.
- Faster download speeds come hand-in-hand with faster internet speeds, too. This is slightly different than buffering, especially if you’re downloading entire movies or television shows online. When you have several gigabytes of a movie to download, it’s refreshing to know that a blazing-fast connection can handle it all in a matter of seconds.
When it comes to great clarity and resolution for your video content, 4K is about as good as it gets, right now. While most people don’t even have televisions that support 4K viewing (they’re still rather expensive) it is possible to stream it. However, you’re not going to have much luck with anything less than a 50 Mbps connection speed.
Let’s be clear about that—you need a fast internet connection if you want to do any 4K streaming. Otherwise, you’re going to be left buffering your videos for an eternity, before they’re ever ready to play. You also run the risk of encountering hiccups and stops in your playback, as a slow connection will definitely struggle to keep up streaming something with that high of quality.
Is 4K content excellent? You bet it is; and if you need proof of how well high-speed internet can serve your entertainment needs, it’s worth giving a shot.
Benefits for Gamers
Gamers might be the only crowd to benefit from a high-speed internet more than people with Netflix addiction. (I know, I know—it’s not an addiction, it’s a philosophy.)
Because so much of gaming is now dependent upon having an internet connection, at all, you might correctly imagine that all of these features will benefit from that connection being faster. Games that you download, rather than purchasing them in a store, can be ready to play the faster that you download them. Most titles will be within your reach in the space of a few minutes, if you’re rocking a 50 Mbps download speed.
However, the benefits will change depending on whether you’re using a Windows PC or a game console.
PC gaming has been dependent on internet speeds for decades. Games with an online multiplayer component—especially MMOs—will directly benefit from this. Games that you download through Steam can be played faster. Any content, really, that depends on your being online—automatically better.
This is especially true of you’re fond of streaming your gameplay via services like Twitch. It’s often not enough to possess a passably fast internet connection when you’re also broadcasting your activity to the world. You need speeds fast enough to upload without any lag.
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
And what about the newest entries in the esteemed “console wars?” They benefit in many of the same ways that PC gamers do. Games that you download to the hard drive of your PS4 or Xbox One will show up much faster at higher speeds, and the same goes for the inevitable patches and downloadable content that modern games tend to receive.
Since the PS4 and Xbox One are each capable of streaming, that are of play benefits, too. And guess what more and more people are using to stream Netflix and other video services? If you were about to guess “game consoles,” you’d be right!
The Cost of Going Fast
The sole drawback of getting a 50 Mbps or faster internet connection is always going to be the cost. In some regions, you might be able to get speeds like this at a competitive price, but in most, you’ll be paying a premium. Most high-speed internet connections are not this fast, which means that you should expect to pay more than what’s advertised at consumer-level price points from your internet service provider.
However, as we’ve illustrated above (hopefully!) the benefits of having a hyper-fast internet connection far outweigh this single drawback. As long as it fits into your budget, these internet speeds are one of the best upgrades that you can give to your gaming and Netflix experiences in 2017. If you have any further questions about high-speed internet access (or how it can augment your entertainment) let us know in the comments below!