Understand Internet Speeds (2024)

AT&T networks

We deliver internet to your location through copper or fiber wiring or through the AT&T wireless network, depending on the service you ordered.

  • DSL and lower broadband services are usually wired using copper.
  • Most high-speed broadband services (IPBB) deliver internet through a hybrid fiber and copper network.
  • AT&T Fiber delivers internet directly to your location using a 100% fiber network.
  • AT&T Internet Air and Fixed Wireless Internetdeliverinternet over the AT&T wireless network, using 4G LTE and 5G technology.

Networks can be impacted by the condition and quality of the connection to your home and the geography in which your home is located.

  • Copper networks can be impacted by the distance between your home and the central office from which your internet service is provisioned.
  • Wireless networks can be impacted by your distance from the cell tower serving the wireless network, the capacity and technology of the antennas on the cell tower and on the receiver you’re using, and the number of users connected to the same cell tower.

Home network

Many factors inside your building affect the rate you send or receive internet data. These include:

  • Age of wiring inside your building
  • Distance between the gateway or hub and your device
  • Age and type of gateway, hub, or router
  • Number of devices connected to the gateway or hub
  • Type of connection used: wired or Wi-Fi

Connection types

You can access your internet through a wired Ethernet connection or a Wi-Fi® connection.

Wired connections use Ethernet cables plugged into the Ethernet port on your wall or Wi-Fi gateway. These connections provide the best performance, consistently. We recommend using a Cat5e or better Ethernet cable.

To reach speeds above 1Gbps, you must use at least a Cat6 cable plus an Ethernet port rated for multi-Gbps speeds. Some older Ethernet cables, ports, routers, and gateways may not be capable of supporting speeds above 1Gbps to a single device. This includes Ethernet wiring in some older buildings.

Speeds are shared among all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi gateway or All-Fi Hub. So more devices connecting at the same time may result in slower speeds.

Wireless (Wi-Fi) connections let you move throughout your building but aren’t as fast as wired connections. Wi-Fi connection speeds depend on the Wi-Fi technology in your device and in your gateway or hub. You get the best Wi-Fi signal closest to your gateway or hub, with fewer devices running, using the latest Wi-Fi technology. Older devices and older gateways use older Wi-Fi technology, which run at slower speeds. Wi-Fi speeds are shared among all the devices connected to the gateway or hub by Wi-Fi, so more devices connected at the same time may result in slower speeds.

Type and number of devices

Internet devices come in all shapes and sizes. Each device has a maximum internet speed it can reach. But, that speed might not be as fast as your possible internet service level. For example, if your older laptop or tablet only supports 11Mbps and you have 1Gbps internet service, your laptop will never be able to reach the more than 11 Mbps.

When a device connects to your network, it uses a portion of your allotted speed. Several devices sharing your internet connection can affect the speed each device experiences.

TV and internet speed

In some cases, your TV and internet may enter your location using the same terminal. Using both services at the same time consumes more available bandwidth and can affect internet download speeds. For example, in certain speed tiers, watching multiple HD TV shows at the same time as heavy data internet usage, such as downloading an entire HD movie file on your laptop, will lead to reduced internet speeds as compared with such speeds when no other uses are placed on the network.

Other networks and websites you visit

Even though you purchased a specific speed and the AT&T network is highly reliable, the websites you interact with may not provide their services at the same speeds. Things to consider as you surf websites:

  • Websites may not have the same network speeds as you.
  • Website server capacity can impact your Internet speeds.
  • Website owners may use other ISPs to deliver content back to you. These network serving arrangements can also impact your internet speeds.
  • Visiting sites during their peak hours may also result in slower speeds.

Additional impacts on internet speed performance and speed test results

As noted, many factors can affect service speeds and test results. These include:

  • Your equipment
  • Connection type
  • Network issues
  • Internet usage

In addition, protocol overheads, such as IP overhead in IP technology, reduce internet speed and speed test results. Overheads means the various control and signaling data (for example, transmission control protocol (TCP)) required to achieve the reliable transmission of internet access data.

Understand Internet Speeds (2024)


How to understand internet speeds? ›

Broadband speeds are measured in 'megabits per second', often shortened to Mb Mbits p/s or Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data, with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps (megabits per second) you have, the speedier your online activity should be.

What is a good enough internet speed? ›

Are your speeds fast enough?
SpeedCategoryWhat you can do with a laptop or smartphone
5-20 MbpsBetter (but still meh)HD video streaming (1080p)
20-40 MbpsSolid4K video streaming; HD gaming
40-100 MbpsGoodHD gaming, video streaming, 4K video streaming
100+ MbpsFASTMulti-player gaming, 4K video streaming, huge file downloads
2 more rows

How to interpret internet speed test results? ›

1-5 Mbps: Good for basic web browsing and emails. 10-25 Mbps: Great for browsing, social media, and standard-definition video streaming. 25-50 Mbps: Ideal for HD video streaming and online gaming. 50-100 Mbps or higher: Excellent for multiple devices streaming in 4K or downloading large files simultaneously.

What is a normal WiFi speed? ›

Basic Service = 3 to 8 Mbps. Medium Service = 12 to 99 Mbps. Advanced Service = 100 Mbps.

Is 25 Mbps a good internet speed? ›

A 25 Mbps connection allows for basic internet activity, such as 1080p HD video streaming. Larger households and more devices require a faster speed. With 25 Mbps satellite internet speed, you'll easily be able to carry out daily tasks and pastimes, including: Light 4k video streaming.

What is a good internet speed for the average home? ›

A good download speed is at least 100Mbps, and a good upload speed is at least 10 Mbps. With 100Mbps, you can stream movies, attend Zoom meetings, and play games online all on several devices at the same time. Some people can get away with fewer Mbps, and others need more.

What is the average person's internet speed? ›

The FCC defines “basic” internet speed as between 3 and 8 Mbps, generally considered a slow speed. The average internet speed in the U.S. was 219 Mbps download and 24 Mbps upload as of November 2023, according to Speedtest.net.

What internet speed is too low? ›

Download speeds less than 100 Mbps are too slow to be considered broadband or good home Wi-Fi. With these speeds, users may experience buffering when streaming video, difficulty connecting multiple devices and other internet connectivity issues.

How many devices can run on 300Mbps? ›

Using 300 Mbps Internet for Streaming

With 300Mbps, you can stream ultra-HD video on up to a dozen devices at the same time. If you're downloading them instead, it'll take you about two minutes to download an HD movie.

Is there a big difference between 200 and 300 Mbps? ›

300 to 400 Mbps — These downloads are a bit faster than 200 Mbps for general downloading and the number of people using the internet at the same time is marginally increased. This has become a pretty standard level for households that want very fast internet.

What internet speed do I need for streaming? ›

For a 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, you'll need a minimum of 6-9 Mbps. For 1080p at a higher frame rate of 60 frames per second, you'll need at least 9-12 Mbps. If you're aiming for the ultimate streaming quality with a 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, you'll need a minimum of 25-35 Mbps.

How can I tell if my internet speed is good? ›

We recommend Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or CloudFlare. Each test should take 60 seconds or less, providing download and upload speeds. Conduct a few Wi-Fi tests for optimal results. W-Fi usage varies from person to person and amongst households, thus so does the Wi-Fi speed you'll need.

Why is my internet so slow but the speed test is fast? ›

A slow internet connection may be due to a variety of reasons. It could be your inefficient router, internet service provider (ISP) bandwidth throttling, outdated devices, or even malware. While speeding up your internet connection on your computer is not always easy, there are ways to optimize it.

What is a reasonable internet speed test? ›

Understanding Internet Provider Speeds

Depending on your connection type, a good speed test result is if the speeds are at least 50 to 200 Mbps within range of the advertised speed. It's important to understand that the provider's advertised speed is based on a wired connection.

How do you read internet speeds? ›

Mbps – Mbps, or megabits per second, is the main unit used to describe the speed of your connection. A bit is the simplest piece of digital information, and a Megabit refers to a million bits. So for example, a download speed of 20 Mbps would mean that you are retrieving data at a rate of 20 million bits per second.

Is 800 Mbps fast internet? ›

800 Mbps internet speed is more than enough to suffice all your data needs. You get good download & upload speeds while downloading large files, streaming content, gaming, video conferencing, and more. In fact, it is much faster than the average US speed.

Is 70 Mbps fast? ›

A good internet speed is anywhere between 50 and 100 Mbps which would allow a couple of people using a few devices to stream in HD or even 4K, stream music, game, and work from home. To make sure your connection is stable, check that the ping is below 50 ms and the jitter is under 10 ms.

Is 400 Mbps fast? ›

400 Mbps is equivalent to 400 Megabits per second. Therefore, you'll get a download speed of 45-50 MB/s, as web browsers display download speeds in Megabytes. Just so you know, it is faster than the average connection speed in the US.

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