Best Internet Speeds for Remote Workers

remote worker using internet

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

Are you a content creator that requires a fast upload speed for posting high-resolution photos on social media? Are you a business owner that needs a solid download speed to support video conferences? Or, are you a sales agent that only requires the bare minimum for online chatting and file sharing?

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.

Quick Read

Minimum Internet Speed Required for Remote Workers

Video Conference for Remote Work

We could throw out a random number, and say “This is the speed you need.” But, we know internet needs ultimately come down to your individual usage.

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 on a daily basis 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 for remote work. This allows for extra bandwidth to avoid network congestion during your work hours.

What to Look For in Internet Plans

In addition to considering your online activity, be on the lookout for certain features included in internet plans that may make the difference in your home internet performance.

Symmetrical Speeds

Symmetrical speeds refer to an internet plan with equal download and upload speeds. Typically, providers prioritize download speeds over upload speeds because they’re needed for common activities like web browsing and 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 you uploading a work assignment on time or keeping up with your online posts. 

Free WiFi Hotspots

WiFi Hotspots are 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 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. For example, newer types of internet like cable and fiber internet are typically more reliable than DSL and satellite. Providers and availability vary by location, but if you work from home and want the best signal, you may consider shopping for cable or fiber options.

To help you determine which internet speed is best suited for 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 numbers of online tasks simultaneously.

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. A sales agent, on the other hand, 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 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

Watching 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 11/11/20.
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 11/11/20.

Run an Internet Speed Test

Internet Speed Test

Since your online activity requires a certain amount of speed to work well, we recommend testing your internet connection regularly to see how it performs over time.

An internet speed test should tell you your download vs. upload speeds, ping time, and IP address. Take a speed test today to gauge your current internet connection and understand how the speeds you subscribe to actually perform.

Remember that internet service providers always advertise their network’s fastest speeds, but you should at least be 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. To see current providers and plans available near you, enter your zip code below.

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Paula Novo
Written By
Paula Novo
Written By
Paula Novo
Paula began her career in the telecom space, writing on all things tech for 3+ years. With a degree in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, Paula’s passion for connecting with consumers is unparalleled. Beyond that, Paula is considered a Jane-of-all-trades who loves DIY projects, attempts to cook Thai food, and photographs brands in her spare time.