Does it make any sense to get a gigabit Internet connection?

We’re moving from a rural home (with 5M DSL) to one in the suburbs that is served by fiber. The ISP offers gigabit service. I question the utility of it. First, I’m somewhat skeptical that they can actually deliver it. Second, even if they can, for the most part, would it do any good? If the servers that I connect to aren’t gigabit, I’ll be throttled to their speed, right?

I mean, it sounds cool but other than that, is there any real reason for a residential customer to pay for such a thing? FWIW, 50M is $54 and gigabit is $119.

If you’ve been ok with 5Mb you’ll think 50Mb is fantastic.

If you just have one device using the internet, then gigabit is indeed not necessary. It might be something to consider if you have 8 or 10 devices all streaming video at the same time.

I wouldn’t exactly say that I’ve been ok with it. I just didn’t have a choice.

Sure, but gigabit bandwidth isn’t for customers who connect to one server or website at a time. It’s for homes that are streaming HD video simultaneously on multiple devices, while downloading games, updating software, syncing with cloud servers, checking email, downloading attachments, and browsing websites and facebook while streaming music…

What does your household look like? I mean, going from 5 to 50 is going to be a revelation anyway, but if it’s only going to be a small number of devices using the capacity, then a gig might not be worth it.

You might also consider an intermediate, cheaper bandwidth like 100 or 200 Mb if you don’t need 1000.

Doing a lot of uploads? Multiple Gigabyte downloads every day? Terabyte backups and restores? Reading medical scans at home? Sharing your line with 100 other people? Self hosted web-server with millions of peak-hits?

It is fairly easy for a family to notice the difference between 50 and 100 when somebody is watching netflix, somebody is syncing photos, and somebody is playing an online game. If you’re already hitting your limits at 50, then you can understand going to the next level. If you’re just web browsing, 50 isn’t going to limit you. Maybe you’ll get snappier performance by buying a better computer first.

It’s just me and my wife. 99.9% of the time, the most we would be doing is having 2 phones connected and watching Netflix. During holidays, we might have 4 more phones connected.

I do RDP into work occasionally but I know that doesn’t use much bandwidth.

I’d suggest getting the 50Mbps connection and, if possible, monitoring your usage and performance. It will probably be enough for your needs and you’ll save $600 bucks a year. If you need to, you can upgrade later.

Four devices simultaneously streaming video won’t come close to saturating a 50 Mbps connection, unless you’re streaming 4K video (which you won’t be if you’re doing it on a phone). These are the bandwidth recommendations from Netflix. HD video only uses 5 mbps. And unless you’re doing something unusual, video streaming is the highest bandwidth activity you will be doing.

I had fibre installed about 6 weeks ago and I can saturate the 1gb connection. The nice thing is it is symmetrical, as opposed to my cable 1gb connection which only had 30mb upload.

Do I need it? No, but it was actually cheaper than a 300mb connection due to the promo I received.

Same here on all factors. Is it great if you have a promo? Yeah. Will the average user benefit or even notice? No.

Actually taking advantage of a gigabit Internet connection requires a wired connection to your PCs or multiple independently uplinked wireless base stations. Even the fastest 802.11ac base stations will, in practice, peak out around 500 Mbps with you sitting in directly in front of the access point.

In theory, a gigabit connection could let your house watch about 40 4K video streams at once. It would let you download a modern PC game in the 75 GB range in around 10 minutes (assuming the content delivery network can fulfill it). Unless you can put numbers on how it will benefit you, I wouldn’t splurge.


Since this is asking for advice, lets’ move it over to IMHO.

How many of you are there in the house? Or, how old are your children? What is your peak usage going to be? Think about the bandwidth requirements for streaming four or five 4K movies, for instance.

I recently went from crappy unreliable and painfully slow ADSL to 50Mb cable, and it was astonishing. Sharing amongst three, on several kinds of devices (phones, tablet, console, and PC) means no delays, no noticeable lag, no problems, and 98% reliable (something still glitches out occasionally, no idea what it is). Then our ISP recently upgraded everybody on this plan to 100Mb which is way more than we needed, but is pretty cool for HD streaming.

It’s true that max speed depends on the servers you’re downloading from, but most of them are built to cope. If I grab a video game from Steam, watch anything on YouTube, or any of the other big name services you could name, they’ll deliver at super duper speeds. It’s usually lesser known servers that could be a problem, and those you won’t notice because they’ll be tiny files or webpages only, they’ll zip down in milliseconds anyway.

The 50Mb is still going to seem fantastic. Get that, you can always upgrade if somehow you manage to need more, and I doubt you will unless you have at least 6 pale slump shouldered kids.

Be aware that they may not deliver on the 50Mb, that may be the potential but plenty of cable companies have overloaded their lines and then they try to push the higher speed connection on you as a solutions.

When I recently switched from Comcast to Google Fiber, I chose gigabit because it was only $20 more per month than 100 Mbps. I think my Comcast connection was 100 Mbps downlink. I just ran a test on speakeasy and it says my desktop computer (wired ethernet connection) is getting 850 Mbps downlink and 250 Mbps uplink. I can definitely tell the difference for large file downloads, but can’t tell any difference for other uses including video streaming.

p.s. Personally I wouldn’t pay $65 extra for gigabit.

Honestly, the faster internet speeds are probably big profit centers for the cable companies and other providers. Very few people really take advantage of the greater speeds (except in short bursts as they’re downloading something) but the charge continues each month.

Personally, I’ve had a wide range of internet speeds, but rarely need more than 5-10Mbps. If you have multiple people in your household you may need a little higher since multiple people can be streaming and gaming at the same time.

But I once got a deal with comcast to get something like 100+ Mbps, and almost never used it. The only time I used it was when I was downloading a large file on a P2P network. many servers can’t handle those kinds of speeds anyway from what I know (like when I had to redownload my steam library, I think I was maxed out at about 6Mbps despite my internet being capable of more).

For me I don’t notice any real benefit above 5-10Mbps. Even HD streaming only takes about 5Mbps.