Some providers advertise unlimited high-speed Internet – all the speed you could ever want, at any time of day. The truth is, no high-speed Internet connection is really unlimited. There are always limits to how fast you can get online and what you can do online, even if we’d like to think otherwise. But some providers are more “unlimited” than others – and no matter what provider you choose, there are steps you can take to make the most out of your high-speed Internet connection.
Why isn’t there unlimited high-speed Internet?
The Internet may be unlimited. There are millions of websites and webpages out there – and the capacity for millions more. But your high-speed Internet connection has its limits.
We get online using bandwidth, the amount of data that can be carried between two points over a certain time. Higher bandwidth means faster speeds. But bandwidth isn’t unlimited, no matter what kind of technology your high-speed Internet provider uses.
Different high-speed Internet technologies offer different amounts of bandwidth. Super-fast Internet options like fiber-optic Internet have the most bandwidth, while slower services like dial-up have less. More people, programs and devices on a network use more bandwidth, resulting in slower speeds.
High-speed Internet providers limit their service in different ways. Some providers set limits on the amount of data subscribers can use during a period of time. If users go over their data limit, their connection speeds will slow significantly. These providers often offer “unlimited” access during times when Internet traffic tends to be less.
But most providers don’t set official data limits on their plans. Instead, their services are limited by the number of people who are online. Think of it like a crowded highway at rush hour – the more people that are on the road, the slower traffic will be.
What you can do to get “unlimited” high-speed Internet
You may not be able to get a truly unlimited high-speed Internet connection. But it is possible to get high-speed Internet service so fast that you’d never know its limits. Internet providers now offer speeds up to 1 Gbps. That’s more than fast enough to support anything you could do online.
The trick is determining exactly what speed you need to support your online activities. Some activities – like downloading large files, online streaming and video-chatting – require more speed and higher power. Other activities – like surfing the Web, listening to music and checking email – don’t need super-fast connections.
The FCC recommends minimum speeds for some online activities:
- Surfing the Web: .5 Mbps
- Video-chat: 1 Mbps
- Streaming video: 1.5 Mbps
- Online gaming: 4 Mbps
As long as you stay at or above the recommended speed for the activities you do most online, you won’t notice your Internet connection slowing – even at the busiest times. The best high-speed Internet connection for you will have all the speed and support you need.
Use these tricks to make sure you’re getting online with the best high-speed Internet connection.
- Keeping your computer and other devices free of viruses can help improve your Internet speeds.
- If your devices and routers are on the old side, upgrading to newer technology will make them run faster.
- Clean the cookies, cache and history from your Internet browser to boost your speed.
- If your speed still isn’t fast enough, explore different high-speed Internet providers in your area.