Best Internet Speeds for Remote Workers

graphic of a remote work employee on a laptop

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While the Covid pandemic changed many things in our lives, it perhaps had the biggest impact on how and where we work. Many organizations have adopted a hybrid working model, while others have chosen to go 100% remote.

This shift in the work model has many asking, what is a good internet speed for remote work? The good news is that you don’t need the top-tier plan from your internet provider. Most work activities, like sending and receiving emails, transferring files, and videoconferencing, only require about 10 Mbps of bandwidth. 

The actual speed you need for your remote work depends on what you do and how many other users there are in your household.

internet graphic

Is your day mostly spent doing videoconferencing? Are you a content creator that downloads and uploads large files? Are you a day trader relying on a stable and lightning-fast internet connection?

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

Key Takeaways:

Best Internet Providers for Remote Work

ProviderStarting priceMax Download SpeedMax Upload Speed
Xfinity$19.99/mo. – $299.95/mo.50 Mbps – 3000 Mbps5 Mbps – 35 Mbpscall860-516-4266
Frontier$44.99/mo. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill – 49.99/mo.5000 Mbps – Call for details5000 Mbps – Call for detailscall712-250-3587
Spectrum$49.99/mo. – $89.99/mo.300 Mbps – 1000 Mbps35 Mbpscall470-890-5274
AT&T$55/mo. – $80/mo.300 Mbps – 940 Mbps300 Mbps – 940 Mbpscall620-322-0498
Windstream$19.99/mo. – $39.99/mo.100Mbps – 1000Mbps200Mbps – 50 Mbpscall302-469-1789
HughesNet$44.99/mo.25 Mbps3 Mbpscall260-786-5017
Viasat$64.99/mo. – $169.99/mo.25 Mbps – 150 Mbps3 Mbpscall855-339-3045
CenturyLink$30/mo. – $70/mo.20 Mbps – 940 Mbps100 Mbps – 940 Mbpscall877-326-1814
EarthLink$49.95/mo. – $59.95/mo.5Gbps – 100Mbps5Gbps – 40Mbpscall209-729-0232
Cox$49.99/mo.1000 Mbps35 Mbpscall251-325-3229
Optimum$29.99/mo.100 Mbps – 1000 Mbps100 Mbps – 1000 Mbpscall844-538-8802
Starting price$19.99/mo. – $299.95/mo.
Max Download Speed50 Mbps – 3000 Mbps
Max Upload Speed5 Mbps – 35 Mbps
Starting price$44.99/mo. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill – 49.99/mo.
Max Download Speed5000 Mbps – Call for details
Max Upload Speed5000 Mbps – Call for details
Starting price$49.99/mo. – $89.99/mo.
Max Download Speed300 Mbps – 1000 Mbps
Max Upload Speed35 Mbps
Starting price$55/mo. – $80/mo.
Max Download Speed300 Mbps – 940 Mbps
Max Upload Speed300 Mbps – 940 Mbps
Starting price$19.99/mo. – $39.99/mo.
Max Download Speed100Mbps – 1000Mbps
Max Upload Speed200Mbps – 50 Mbps
Starting price$44.99/mo.
Max Download Speed25 Mbps
Max Upload Speed3 Mbps
Starting price$64.99/mo. – $169.99/mo.
Max Download Speed25 Mbps – 150 Mbps
Max Upload Speed3 Mbps
Starting price$30/mo. – $70/mo.
Max Download Speed20 Mbps – 940 Mbps
Max Upload Speed100 Mbps – 940 Mbps
Starting price$49.95/mo. – $59.95/mo.
Max Download Speed5Gbps – 100Mbps
Max Upload Speed5Gbps – 40Mbps
Starting price$49.99/mo.
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Max Upload Speed35 Mbps
Starting price$29.99/mo.
Max Download Speed100 Mbps – 1000 Mbps
Max Upload Speed100 Mbps – 1000 Mbps

Minimum Internet Speed Required for Remote Workers

zoom web file graphic

Realistically, most people could perform their jobs with just 10 Mbps download and upload speed. But practically speaking, the more bandwidth you have, the better your various applications and tasks will perform. The Federal Communication Commission considers 25 Mbps to be considered broadband internet. Keep in mind that this is a minimum speed requirement.

If you’re working from home you’ll want to consider what tasks you perform daily and how many of those tasks and applications you have going at the same time. To reduce buffering, lag, and frustration during your workday, we recommend investing in a high speed internet plan. A minimum of 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed is a good starting point for remote work. If you have multiple people in your home working at the same time, then consider these speeds per person.

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

Internet solutions for slow internet graphic

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

Working from home requires a lot of data. All the video calls, file transfers, emails, and Slack messages add up quickly. Then factor in how you use your internet connection outside of work, which can easily double your data use per month. For this reason, we suggest finding an internet plan that does not impose potentially costly monthly internet data caps

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 using online streaming platforms and online gaming. Symmetrical speeds are not required for efficient remote work, but you will notice a significant improvement in your video calls and file transfers with a faster upload speed. 

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. 

To support full connectivity, providers like Xfinity, AT&T, and Spectrum offer free WiFi hotspots to customers nationwide.

  • Same-day installations
  • 8+ million free WiFi hotspots
  • Unlimited data available
  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds
  • Contract buyouts up to $500
  • Free access to WiFi hotspots
  • Nationwide availability

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 connection.

Data & Speed Requirements by Activity

Below are estimates of the data and speed required for the most common remote work activities:

ActivityMin. UploadMin. DownloadRecommended UploadRecommended Download
Zoom*500 Kbps500 Kbps3.8 Mbps3 Mbps
Skype*128 Kbps2 Mbps512 Kbps4 Mbps
Google Meet*3.2 Mbps3.2 Mbps5 Mbps5 Mbps
Microsoft Teams*150 Kbps200 Kbps2.5 Mbps4 Mbps
Slack*100 Kbps200 Kbps1 Mbps2 Mbps
Min. Upload500 Kbps
Min. Download500 Kbps
Recommended Upload3.8 Mbps
Recommended Download3 Mbps
Min. Upload128 Kbps
Min. Download2 Mbps
Recommended Upload512 Kbps
Recommended Download4 Mbps
ActivityGoogle Meet*
Min. Upload3.2 Mbps
Min. Download3.2 Mbps
Recommended Upload5 Mbps
Recommended Download5 Mbps
ActivityMicrosoft Teams*
Min. Upload150 Kbps
Min. Download200 Kbps
Recommended Upload2.5 Mbps
Recommended Download4 Mbps
Min. Upload100 Kbps
Min. Download200 Kbps
Recommended Upload1 Mbps
Recommended Download2 Mbps

*Speeds are based on group calls at 1080p HD quality.

As you can see, you don’t need a tremendous amount of bandwidth or speed to engage in common work-from-home activities. But keep in mind that these are minimums and more bandwidth and faster speeds will significantly improve your remote work experience.

Quick 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 you’re struggling with slow internet, 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 if you can. Plugging into a direct source can 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 WiFi, so you can get back to work without waiting for a technician.

Run an Internet Speed Test

Speed test graphic

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

Run an internet speed test. You can use the speed test tool below 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.

To see current providers and plans available in your area, enter your zip code below.

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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.