What broadband speed do I need?

In this day and age, broadband speed is becoming more and more important to all of us. This is because we rely on the internet for so much. We use it for work, to do our banking and taxes, to communicate with friends and family, and of course we use it for entertainment too. The world of broadband speed can be a confusing one, however, and you may be asking yourself “what broadband speed do I need”? And what is broadband speed, exactly?

In This Guide:

What is broadband?

Before we take a look at what the numbers mean when it comes to broadband speed, let’s take a step back and discuss what broadband is and how it works.

Broadband is currently the most popular type of internet access. Essentially, the term “broadband” refers to wide-bandwidth data transmission that’s separate from your phone line. It provides a high-speed internet connection by using multiple types of technologies that include fibre optics, cable, ADSL and satellite.

ADSL and fibre are the most common types of internet connections used by homes and businesses in South Africa.

Fibre vs. adsl 

Fibre is the fastest and most reliable type of internet connection. It relies on fibre optic cables to transmit data and can run at superior speeds to ADSL. It’s also the connection type that’s least likely to have interruptions. The pitfall with fibre, especially in South Africa, is that it is not yet available in every neighbourhood.  

ADSL is slower than fibre but it is still much faster than the old dial-up connections we used to rely on. The speeds offered are usually fast enough for typical household use, unless many users are online at once. ADSL is the most popular type of internet connection in South Africa because it is more readily available and is usually cheaper than fibre.

How do you measure broadband speed? 

Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The higher the number of megabits you can download in a second, the faster your internet speed will be.

When you compare broadband deals, you will notice that many packages offer speeds of up to 76Mbps (this would be a fibre deal). You can, however, get even higher speeds of up to 1,000Mbps.

Keep in mind that broadband speeds are generally advertised as ‘up to’ because not everyone will be able to achieve these speeds.

What speed do I need? 

The speed that you need is entirely based upon your own preferences and what you will be using your broadband for. For example, a household of two who use the internet sparingly could happily subscribe to lower speeds while a large corporate environment would only be able to function with a faster connection.  

Therefore, it’s essential to  consider your intended internet usage before you decide what speed you need:

Light Use

Required speed: Under 10 Mbps

Slower speeds will be suited to:

  • Small business or households with up to three devices
  • Checking and sending emails
  • Online browsing
  • Occasional downloads (of smaller files)
  • Light streaming

An ADSL line will be able to provide you with this speed, although a fibre connection would be more reliable.

Medium Use

Required speed: 10 Mbps – 40 Mbps

Medium speeds are suited to:

  • Medium-sized businesses and households with up to five devices
  • Frequent downloads (of larger files)
  • HD Streaming
  • Real-time internet usage
  • Online browsing
  • Video calling

You will be able to get this type of speed with both a fibre and ADSL connection, with fibre being the more reliable option.

Heavy Use

Required speed: 50 Mbps – 100 Mbps

High broadband speeds are suited to:

  • Large corporations with many devices
  • Media-rich data downloads
  • HD Streaming (with multiple users)
  • Real-time internet usage
  • Video chats with several users at once

For this type of speed, a fibre connection will work best.

What are the benefits of faster broadband speeds? 

With a speedy broadband connection, you will be able to download files faster and seamlessly. You will be able to stream all of your music, TV series, and movies without any lagging or interruptions and there can be multiple users at once.  Faster upload speeds will ensure that you can easily share and store your photos and videos online – or you can give your family overseas a clear, lengthy video call. 

How can I compare broadband deals and prices?

Before signing up for the first package promising a fast connection, we urge you to shop around and do a broadband comparison. If you don’t feel like doing this admin, then we encourage you to use our online quoting tool. Simply fill in a quick form and we will do the “shopping” for you. We will request quotes from the best broadband suppliers in South Africa and then we will provide you with the information in an easy to read format.

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