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What is a good internet speed for home in Canada

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If you are like the rest of the Canadians you probably have the same Internet connection for at least the past few years. But the demand for internet connection in our daily lives and homes keeps on growing.  The reasons for the growing internet demand are certainly many.  Though to group them easily, we have:

  • More mobile devices connected (phones, tablets, laptops..)
  • IoT Smart things (Smart speakers, Smart Plugs, Smart thermostats..)
  • High-Quality Streaming Content (HD, Ultra HD, and 4K)
  • Audio & Video Streaming (Spotify, TuneIn, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crave)
  • Work and/or Study from Home

Determining how much Internet speed you need is not always a straightforward calculation since it involves many factors. You’ll need to consider the total number of persons using the various devices and online activities they engage in, the bandwidth necessary for those activities, and how many of those users will be using the Internet simultaneously.

Read between the bytes

The hardest part may be figuring out how much bandwidth each activity really uses.  A teenager won’t use the same as Mom or Dad, nor is it the same if either part is working from Home. Lastly, you’ll want to think about all the other devices in your home that connect to the Internet and how they use those connections, such as TV receivers, game consoles, smart appliances, and lastly you do want to future proof. Before we look in detail the usage let’s clarify what Download and Upload mean.

  • Downloading is the actual transfer of the data from one place to another. When you download a file, movie, or song, get an email, or search and save from the web, you have a copy of the item on your device. Downloads typically use more bandwidth over a shorter period of time than streaming, because if your Internet speed allows it, you can download faster than you can watch.
  • Uploading is similar to downloading but in the reverse; whatever you send is copied to another device or location. Uploads use in general less bandwidth. It could become the bottleneck if there are many devices uploading at once.

Let’s get Technical

Now let’s review the typical utilization in an average home of two adults and two kids. We show some of the most typical utilization, and most use intensive applications.

Quantity Estimated Usage
General Use
  Web Pages Browsed 6,700 1 GB
  Text Emails Read 250,000 1 GB
  Pictures 220 1 GB
  Music Files 240 1 GB
  Movies 1 1.5 GB
  1 Hour TV Show 3 1 GB
  Standard Definition 1 hour 1 GB
  High Definition 1 hour 1.5 GB
  Radio 130 hours 1 GB
  Netflix SD 1.5 hour 1 GB
  Netflix HD 1 hour 3 GB
Video Messengers (i.e: Skype)
  Online Call 30 hours 1 GB
  Video Call 6 hours 1 GB
  XBOX/Wii/Playstation 20 hours 1 GB
  Games Apps 120 hours 1.5 GB

It is clear not everyone will need a NASA type of Internet Connection, which reportedly rides on a shadow fiber backbone of 400 GBs. However, on the other side, the majority of Homes are likely in a need of an upgrade.

Internet Speed by User Type

Below we have categorized three Home Internet connections and show the characteristics for the present times.

New Normal Power User Extreme User
Download / Upload Speeds 75 Mbps / 7.5 Mbps 150 Mbps / 15 Mbps 300 Mbps / 20 Mbps
Number of Connected Devices @ Home Up to 7 Up to 14 Up to 20
Video Streaming Quality (Netflix, YouTube) SD, HD & Ultra HD SD, HD & 4K SD, HD, Ultra HD & 4K
Support  Digital Home Phone (VoIP) Best Best Best
Download Large Files Good Experience Best Experience Best Experience
Sharing Pictures Online High-Resolution High-Resolution Highest-Resolution
Using Cloud Storage (Google Drive, Amazon Drive, Dropbox) Average Experience Best Experience Best Experience

Internet Upgrades matters

Our suggestion if you are to upgrade go one step higher. For example, if your current connection is below the one we called the “New Normal” then aim to have the “New Normal” On the other hand if you have a connection that resembles the “New Normal” aim to have “Power User” Finally if you already find yourself as a “Power User” then your goal shall be to have the “Extreme User”. The goal when upgrading is not just to get more but also to anticipate the demand, so you get the best connection for your evolving needs. You also need to know where you can get these types of Home Internet plans, at competitive rates. Chances are if you call the usual suspects you’ll get nowhere. So better to know your choices.

Altima Telecom CIK Telecom CanNet Telecom
Cable & Fiber Internet Cable & Fiber Internet Cable & Fibre Internet
Canada Wide Canada Wide Canada Wide
Power User Starts @ $65 Extreme User Starts @ $74.99 New Normal Starts @ $39.98

If you happen to live in Ontario then look at our Article Comparing Best Internet Providers in Ontario, so you see side by side the usual competitors in the Home Internet connections. You may also want to check your internet speed; test to see if the actual performance agrees with the expectations.

Calling Maybe?

While you are at it, why not review your Home Phone? You could also upgrade or get a Home Phone at the same time you are upgrading your internet connection. VoIP, or Voice Over the Internet Protocol uses the internet to send voice communications. Though the difference in other streaming services is that a VoIP Home Phone, or Business Phone for that matter, is that uses minimal bandwidth and will remain to be minimal.  To understand and illustrate, a typical VoIP call consumes 0.085 Mbps of your bandwidth. Thus in the current aspect of the broadband internet, we are talking about a Digital Phone is of negligible impact. Rather, is a smart way to reduce expenses and get your home phone a modern twist.  Below some of the best Home Phone plans in Canada today.

VoIP Much Home Phone VoIPly Home Phone VoIPo Home Phone
Canada Wide Canada/USA Wide AB, ON, MB & QC
Plan Starts @ $9.45 Plan Starts @ $7.16 Plan Starts @ $7.70

To quantify and look at how much savings you could obtain by moving to a VoIP Home Phone you can look at our latest annual Home Phone Comparison. As always is remarkable to see! Otherwise, you can look at the analysis we conducted to determine the declining status of the traditional landline phone in Canada. Our needs will continue to change and evolve, so are the utilities and services we use. Though changing needs does not always have to mean paying higher prices. We, the human element on the Internet, do not need a thing to become smarter. The fact is, we are smart already.  Stay ready, stay smart, be ahead & shop smarter.

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