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Internet speeds - How slow is too slow for high usage?

by WriterlassMS / January 18, 2013 2:36 AM PST

Hello everyone.

I'm currently househunting and the internet speeds in the region in which I'm looking are all over the place - and often very prehistoric. What I need to know is, what speed is just NOT going work for me? I am online all the time - emails, sending files, listening to music, researching websites, managing my web pages, watching videos and occasionally TV, etc.

Some of the speeds I'm running into for DSL are as low as 1.5 (which is probably impossible). More average I'm finding "up to" 3 MGs, 5 MGs, 6 MGs. These are on regular telephone lines, not cable telephone.

(I have been accustomed to using 8MGs on a normal phone line and recently 24MGs on a phone cable connection. )

I am hoping someone can tell me whether the above speeds are going to be functional for me or will they drive me to suicide.

Thanks for your help!

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That really depends on a lot of things
by wpgwpg / January 18, 2013 2:43 AM PST

Don't you love those "it depends" answers! With computers though, that's more often the case than not. If you're going to download things like Windows ISO files (3 GB more or less), it takes me 20 min. to download one of those with my 24 mbps wired cable connection, so for me that's the minimum when I'm at home. For streaming video you need something fairly fast, but I can't say where the threshhold would be. For most email and web surfing, you don't need all that much, I'd think 3 mbps would probably be OK.
If you have a laptop or tablet, you could go to a motel or most fast food places and see how that works for you.

Good luck.

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by WriterlassMS / January 18, 2013 5:07 AM PST


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DSL won't work
by eljayhalflife / January 20, 2013 3:47 PM PST

I have DSL. It's all I can get in my neighborhood. I have the highest speed AT&T offers anywhere in my area (Silicon Valley) and I can't watch a video on Yahoo! news or YouTube without the thing buffering for 5 minutes. I've been turned down for a game-streaming service for lack of speed. I can't watch videos on Amazon Prime or Netflix without downloading them (12 hours for a movie with nothing else running on the network). Casual games of 150MB take 3 hours to download. You would hang yourself after about a week. (Yes, this is supposedly 1.5mbps DSL, and my speedtest comes out to 1.3mbps.) Remember, the internet connection speed is advertised in megabits per second, whereas files are measured in megabytes, not megabits.

If you really want to stream lots of high-quality content, you're probably going to need 6mbps cable. My pal back home in Ohio recently upgraded from 3mbps and she says the higher speed allows her to watch TV and movies without stutters or hesitation. She didn't have the overt "buffering" that I do, but she watches all her TV online, so the better quality is important for her. Of course, a lot depends on how many devices you have sharing the connection. If you don't have 2 teenaged kids and a spouse hogging up your bandwidth like Jan does you might not need the bigger package. If you're the only person in the household or you only watch occasional TV or movies through streaming services, everything else you do would probably be fine with the 3mbps package.

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by WriterlassMS / January 21, 2013 12:08 AM PST
In reply to: DSL won't work

I wouldn't be sharing my internet. It's me and I'm the only one using it. The areas I'm looking for houses in - some have very low speeds. Right now I have 25 mbps phone cable (a rarity up here!!!), and I'm used to 8-12 (DSL). I do watch some videos online, and occasionally TV. The Direct TV package I have appears to need an internet connection - which I don't quite understand?

I don't play games on the computer. So it's email, moving files around, managing my websites, and lots of social networking. I have found that Facebook has been terrible on slower speeds. I have been known to watch TV too.

So you think I'm okay with 6mbps or 3? I am worried about 3. It just sounds prehistoric, esp when the internet is getting so fat. I'm always using my wireless as well via a laptop. This is not something I'd be able to fix - I'm house hunting, and internet speed is playing a role in what I can get. If I end up with something terrible, I'm going to be stuck with it for years.

I can't believe you're in Silicon Valley and you can't get better than that!

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