Best Internet Speeds for Remote Workers

graphic of a remote work employee on a laptop

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What is a good internet speed for remote work? The short answer: it depends. Internet speeds will vary from user to user based on lifestyle needs.

Are you a content creator who requires a fast upload speed to post photos on social media? Maybe you’re a business owner that needs to support video conferences? Or, perhaps you’re a sales agent that only requires the bare minimum for online communication?

Whatever your specialty may be, we’ve compiled a breakdown of the Best Internet Speeds for Remote Workers to help you stay connected and productive at home.

Key Takeaways:

  • We recommend minimum internet speeds of 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed while working from home.
  • When looking for internet, be on the lookout for remote-friendly features, like symmetrical speeds, free WiFi hotspots, or a fast connection.
  • Certain online activities require more data and speed requirements. If you regularly attend video meetings or upload large files, you’ll need a higher bandwidth plan.
  • If your internet is slow, try restarting your equipment or using an ethernet cable for the best connection.
  • Before shopping for a new provider, take an internet speed test to compare your current internet speeds to other plans.

Minimum Internet Speed Required for Remote Workers

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At the bare minimum, the FCC recommends a minimum of 25 Mbps for homes with more than one user. However, standard internet packages now start at speeds up to 50 Mbps to account for multi-person homes.

If you’re a remote worker, be it running a business or creating digital content, you’ll want to consider what tasks you perform daily and how many tasks you work on at once. Generally speaking, we recommend investing in a high-speed internet plan of at least 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed for remote work.

This should support all online activities related to work – be it file sharing, video conferencing, or instant 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

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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

One of the biggest concerns with remote work is losing an internet connection when it matters most. For example, your video glitching during a presentation, or your files not uploading before a deadline.

If you subscribe to a plan with internet data caps, you’re much more likely to suffer from this. To avoid service interruptions, look for an internet plan that includes unlimited data or gives you the option, at least, to add it to your plan.

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 streaming and online gaming.

However, if you’re a remote worker or content creator that frequently uploads files to the internet, you will want to pay attention to this feature. Sub-par upload speeds can be the difference between uploading a work assignment on time or not. 

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. A real workcation scenario.

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 signal.

To help you determine which internet speed best suits your professional needs, we break down minimum speed requirements by online activity below.

Data & Speed Requirements by Activity

The reason internet needs vary from user to user is because we all perform different types of online tasks and different amounts of online tasks at one time.

For example, someone who is a graphic designer may perform multiple tasks at once that require higher bandwidth, such as uploading large design files while simultaneously streaming how-to videos. Whereas a sales agent may only need the internet to chat with clients online. 

While it’s hard to calculate future usage, here are estimates of the data and speed required for different internet-based activities to give you an idea of what internet speed you need:

General Usage:

ActivityData Per HourRequired Speed
Basic Web Browsing 20 MB 1 Mbps
Email 50 MB 1 Mbps
Social Media 150 MB 1 Mbps
Activity Basic Web Browsing
Data Per Hour 20 MB
Required Speed 1 Mbps
Activity Email
Data Per Hour 50 MB
Required Speed 1 Mbps
Activity Social Media
Data Per Hour 150 MB
Required Speed 1 Mbps

Working:

ActivityData Per HourRequired Speed

Telecommuting

1 GB

25 Mbps

Online Classes

1 GB

25 Mbps

File Downloading

2-5 MB

10 Mbps

Activity

Telecommuting

Data Per Hour

1 GB

Required Speed

25 Mbps

Activity

Online Classes

Data Per Hour

1 GB

Required Speed

25 Mbps

Activity

File Downloading

Data Per Hour

2-5 MB

Required Speed

10 Mbps

Streaming Videos:

ActivityData Per HourRequired Speed

SD Video Streaming

1 GB

4 Mbps

HD Video Streaming

3 GB

8 Mbps

Ultra HD 4K Video Streaming

7 GB

25 Mbps

Activity

SD Video Streaming

Data Per Hour

1 GB

Required Speed

4 Mbps

Activity

HD Video Streaming

Data Per Hour

3 GB

Required Speed

8 Mbps

Activity

Ultra HD 4K Video Streaming

Data Per Hour

7 GB

Required Speed

25 Mbps

Video Conferencing:

ActivityData Per HourRequired Speed

SD Video Calls

200 MB

1 Mbps

HD Video Calls

350 MB

2 Mbps

HD Video Conferences

1 GB

6 Mbps

*Data sourced from FCC.com on 4/12/22.
Activity

SD Video Calls

Data Per Hour

200 MB

Required Speed

1 Mbps

Activity

HD Video Calls

Data Per Hour

350 MB

Required Speed

2 Mbps

Activity

HD Video Conferences

Data Per Hour

1 GB

Required Speed

6 Mbps

*Data sourced from FCC.com on 4/12/22.

Tips for Improve Your Slow Internet

Even when you think you have enough bandwidth to support your work at home, it’s normal to experience service interruptions. More times than not, it has to do with the maintenance of your equipment rather than your actual service. 

If your internet is slow, there are several tips you can try to remedy the situation before reaching out to your internet provider. Try troubleshooting your connection with these quick fixes first:

  • Restart your router and modem. Like all devices, they may just need a break.
  • Connect to the internet using an ethernet cable instead of WiFi. Plugging into a direct source mcan decrease connectivity issues.
  • Relocate your WiFi router. Moving it to a high, central location of your home can improve your WiFi signal.
  • Try these other tips to improve your internet, so you can get back to work without waiting for a technician.

Run an Internet Speed Test

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We recommend testing your internet connection regularly to see how it performs over time.

Use TestMySpeed to gauge your current internet connection and understand how the speeds you subscribe to actually perform. This internet speed test should tell you what your download speed, upload speed, ping time, and IP address are. 

Remember that internet providers always advertise their network’s fastest speeds, but you should be at least 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps within range of that top speed you’re paying for.

Remote workers depend on reliable internet service, so make sure you’re getting the speeds you need. If your speeds are significantly slower than the plan you pay for, your speed test may be used to negotiate a better price or free service upgrade.

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Paula Novo
Written By
Paula Novo
Written By
Paula Novo
With over four years of telecom experience, Paula Novo is the Site Editor for HighSpeedOptions. She has helped develop the criteria by which HighSpeedOptions reviews and recommends internet service providers. Paula also leads HighSpeedOptions' coverage of the digital divide, broadband policy, and ISP reviews.