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Is 5 Mbps Fast?

What is Broadband Internet?

by stacy

Even though we live in an era of gigabit speeds, millions of individuals in the United States are still experiencing slow internet. Many individuals would consider 5Mbps to be insufficient. Is this, however, true? The constraints of 5 Mbps will be discussed in this essay. Learn what 5Mbps can do for you and how to get the most out of your internet subscription. Let’s start with the fundamentals.

Basic Internet Terminology

Each day we use an assortment of internet terms. But do we really know the meanings of each term? These are some examples.

What is Broadband Internet?

Although you might think that all internet is broadband and that they are synonymous, the truth is quite different. The United States has the following: FCC defines broadband internet High-speed internet transmission of large-bandwidth data at speeds up to 25 Mbps download and three Mbps upload. This definition has been in use since 2015 and has yet to be revised. Many people in the United States do not have access to the FCC-mandated benchmark speeds, which we shall discuss in one of the future chapters.

It is important to remember that accessing the internet does not mean you have to subscribe to it. Rural areas may not have the same benchmark speeds, so many people opt for cheaper plans. While they can still get 25/3 speeds, these plans often offer lower speeds such as 10/2 and 5/1.

Broadband Internet Connection Technologies

Cable and fiber are the most popular connection options in urban areas. These connections offer download speeds up to 1 Gbps. Fiber has symmetrical upload speeds up to 1Gbps while cable can upload at speeds of around 100 Mbps. Both types of connection are far more capable than other connections.

While rural residents may be able to access cable internet, the vast majority of rural internet users still use DSL or fixed-wireless internet. These connections are slower and less reliable than cable or fiber. 

In remote and isolated areas, DSL or fixed wireless internet may not be available. These areas may be without internet access. satellite internet. Satellite internet can be quite fast (it meets FCC definitions of broadband internet), but it often comes with high latency. 

connection types

This definition has been in use since 2015 and has yet to be revised. Many people in the United States do not have access to the FCC-mandated benchmark speeds, which we shall discuss in one of the future chapters. There are currently a total of no internet providers in the US using BPL

Speed is the same thing as Bandwidth?

No, it isn’t, yet many people, including internet providers, confuse the two names. If you say internet speed instead of bandwidth, it’s not a major deal, but we think it’s still useful to know the difference.

When you state your plan has a download speed of 100 Mbps and an upload speed of 10 Mbps, you’re referring to bandwidth rather than internet speeds.

Bandwidth simply refers to the internet connection’s capacity. Bandwidth is the amount of data your internet connection can transfer per unit of time. Thus, bandwidth does not indicate the speed of your internet connection; rather, it indicates the maximum capacity of your internet connection. Latency is more important than speed when it comes to determining how responsive your internet connection is.

Bandwidth, speed, throughput and other factors explained

We should also add the phrase throughput. It’s similar to bandwidth in that it measures the amount of data that can be transported per unit of time, but instead of a theoretical maximum, it measures actual data rate. Your advertised bandwidth of 100/10 Mbps will mean that your actual data rate or throughput (or throughput) may be lower than this. This depends on many factors such as distance from the server, network congestion and other factors.).

Mbps VS.MBps (MB/sec).

Bandwidth and throughput can be expressed in Megabits per Second of Mbps. When you download a file from the internet or transfer files from one location to another, you’ll see that the data rate is stated in Megabytes per second (MBps or MB/sec). Although these two metrics measure the same thing, they are not the same — MB/sec is 8 times faster than Mbps.

Megabytes per second

MB/sec = Mbps x 8

If you discover that your data rate is substantially lower than your quoted speed (or bandwidth) while downloading, it’s possible that your bandwidth is advertised in Mbps, but your PC displays data rate in MB/sec.

The maximum data rate you’ll observe when downloading is 12.5 MB/sec if your maximum download speed is 100 Mbps. The actual data rate will be substantially lower than 12.5 MB/sec if you’re using Wi-Fi and someone else is using the internet at the same time (5 MB/sec, for example).

Broadband Internet and Average Internet Speeds Available in the USA

You will receive different data from multiple sources about US internet coverage and average speeds. We’ll be looking at the most reliable sources.

According to Statista, there’re 313 million internet users in the US. That’s 90.8% of all the population in the US. That doesn’t mean that only 90.8% of all the population has internet access – it means that only 90.8% use the internet. 

there’re 313 million internet users in the US

Over the past decade, there have been significant improvements in broadband internet coverage and average internet speeds. The rise in average internet speeds has been noticeable, especially during the past COVID years. 

Let’s first discuss findings from the latest FCC’s Broadband Internet Deployment report. Although the report was published in January 2021 and data dates back to 2019, The data from 2020 hasn’t been processed yet.

According to the research, 95.6 percent of the US population – 98.8% of urban residents and 82.7 percent of rural residents – has access to broadband internet (at least 25/3 Mbps). This also means that 25/3 Mbps is unavailable to 4.4 percent of the US population (1.2 percent in urban regions and 17.3 percent in rural areas). It may not appear to be a large number, yet it is more than 14,440,000 people.

Population in the US

According to the same report, 97.8% in the US have access to 10/1 Mbs. That’s 99.1% of people living in urban areas and 92.5% in rural areas. So, 2.2% of people living in the US don’t have access to 10/1 Mbps or don’t have internet access at all. We have 7.2 million people without internet access at 10/1 Mbps. All these people are using the internet at slower rates or don’t have any kind of internet. We have probably millions of internet users who subscribe to internet plans with download speeds up to 10 Mbps. 3 Mbpsor 5 Mbps. 

Different Speed Tiers

You can take a look to the Microsoft Airband report published in 2019, you’ll see a comparison of the FCC data from 2018 with Microsoft’s data. While “only” 21.3 million people do not have access to broadband internet (25/3), nearly half of the US population does not use the internet at broadband speeds, according to this report.

While we are well aware of the changes in the last two years, we still can say with high certainty that millions of people use the internet at speeds lower than 25/3. Many of those people access the internet at speeds as low as 5 Mbps. 

FCC data from 2018 with Microsoft’s data

Let’s now discuss average speeds. Statista report The average internet speed for US households was 18.75Mbps in 2017, according to reports. 

Average internet speed increase over the years 2007-2017

Average internet speed increase over the years 2007-2017 (source – Statista.com)

We have internet service via fiber or cable with speeds up to 1 Gbps for a large portion of the population. In 2019, almost 25% of the world’s population could access gigabit speeds.More than 60% of the population had access to 500 Mbps (cable/fiber). Even better is the current situation. Fiber covers 43% of the population (AT&T Verizon FiosThe best coverage Cable provides 90% coverage across the country (Xfinity, SpectrumAnd CoxGet the best coverage on cable.  

The average speed increase over the past two year also suffered from the effects of the pandemic. We had to update our plans as we are now spending more time at home. Many people work and study at home. That lifestyle demands more bandwidth. 

Varying sources show different average speeds, but they all agree on one thing: in comparison to the Statista study, average speeds in the United States have grown dramatically.

Highspeedinternet.comSix months ago, a report was published on the average speed of downloads in the US. According to the report, the average speed within the US is 99.3Mbps. Rhode Island, however, has the highest average download speed (129 Mbps). Rhode Island also boasts the highest fiber coverage in the US. 

According to Ookla Speedtest, the average download speed in the US is even higher – 203.8 Mbps. The average upload speed of the US is close to 74 Mb. 

Ookla Speedtest

Source – Ookla Speedtest report

However, median download speeds in this Ookla Speedtest report do not exceed 158 Mbps, which is significantly closer to the Highspeedinternet study’s estimates.

Some states, such as Wyoming, Montana West Virginia, New Mexico and Alaska, have low median download speeds. Below 100. Montana has a median download speed 54.4Mbps. 

These average speeds are also higher than the FCC-described benchmark speeds (25/3Mbps), even in states with low average speeds. But that doesn’t change the fact that millions of Americans, particularly in rural regions, lack access to broadband speeds.

These places have slower speeds. People are just compelled to utilize the internet at slower speeds, partly because the infrastructure cannot sustain faster speeds and partly because internet services in rural areas are significantly more expensive.

Internet Prices in the USA 

It’s not surprising that the US internet is so popular. much pricier than in other developed countries. Internet in rural America is the most expensive. That’s partially justified by the price of the infrastructure. However, there’s another reason – ISPs charge more because they can. It’s that simple. You often have several providers in urban areas and can choose from them all. This means ISPs must compete. They should offer lower prices than others. In rural areas, there is often one provider. This means that you can accept the deal and still have internet. If you refuse, you won’t have internet. 

Rural areas have a higher internet price per Mbps than urban areas. That’s another reason why people in rural areas pay more and have much lower average internet speeds. One study by satelliteinternet.com, there’re rural areas with average speeds lower than 10 Mbps or even lower than 5 Mbps.

Rural areas with average speeds

Source – satelliteinternet.com

These areas have slow internet speeds due to poor infrastructure and high prices. While we all would love to believe that internet speeds are lower, this is not true. Only if there is some type of competition can this be true. Prices will skyrocket if there is no competition, and average speeds will be low.

Speed recommendations for various internet activities

People living in large cities can use internet speeds up to 25/3. However, rural residents often access the internet at much slower speeds. So, what can they do with those speeds? What can someone do with 5Mbps? That’s our main topic for today. Let’s see if 5 Mbps is fast enough for streaming, online gaming, video calls, etc.

FCC Recommendations

FCC sets benchmark speeds for broadband internet access and gives bandwidth recommendations to different activities. 

FCC-recommended speeds

FCC-recommended speeds

According to this guide, 5 Mbps is sufficient for a lot of things. You can stream online radio and make HD video calls. Use social media to share video content, watch it in SD, or HD, and play online games. You can’t watch 4K video content. 

Video streaming

Every streaming platform and communication software has its own set of speed guidelines (often even two – minimum and recommended). Let’s take a look at some of the most popular platforms and see what you can accomplish with 5 Mbps.

NETFLIX is a popular movie streaming platform that streams video content in HD, SD, and 4K/UHD. Theoretically, you can stream videos in HD (1080p) with 5 Mbps, but only if your connection is perfectly stable and if you’re not doing anything else. Buffering can occur even for simple tasks like email checking.


YouTube has the lowest recommendation, possibly because they use more aggressive compression, especially for HD and4K files. You can view videos at 720p with a 5 Mbps download. Theoretically, you should be able to watch videos in 1080p (Full HD) if no other processes are running in the background. You can’t accomplish it with 5 Mbps because YouTube compression is harsh and requires “just” 20 Mbps for 4K/UHD streaming.


Amazon Prime offers the highest compression and lowest requirements. HD video requires at minimum 3.5 Mbps. A 4K video requires 15Mbps. 

Amazon Prime

Hulu also has a powerful compression for 4K videos but doesn’t compress HD videos as much. Only 720p videos will be streamed smoothly at 5 Mbps. Both 1080p and 4K videos need 6 and 16, respectively. 


Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO GO, for example, do not offer 720p video streaming. All HBO programming is available in HD (no 4K), although HD streaming is available through Apple TV+, Disney+, and Disney+. A minimum of 5 Mbps is required for all three services. So, ideally, you should be able to stream in HD at 5 Mbps, but not in 4K.

Apple TV+
Audio Streaming

No matter what streaming service you use, audio streaming shouldn’t be an issue. Spotify, Deezer and YouTube Music are all popular music streaming services. They have very low minimum speeds. Online radio is the same. 

Popular music streaming services

TIDAL and Apple Music, among others, offer Hi-Res streaming. These services require speeds of at least 5 Mbps. You should know that 5 Mbps is not sufficient if you are an audiophile who wants to hear your music at the best quality. 

Live Streams

Upload speeds are more important than download speeds when streaming live. That is, if you’re creating material, upload speeds are important. If you’re watching videos, download speeds are even more important. If your download speed is 5 Mbit/s, your upload speed will most likely be about 1 Mbps. For content creation and live broadcasting, this is simply insufficient. You won’t be able to use YouTube Live, Facebook Live, or Twitch with 5/1 Mbps. You will be able to watch videos but not produce them.

Minimum Required Speeds for Live Streaming

Online Gaming (Gaming Consoles, Multiplayer Online Games).

Online gaming is more difficult than video and music streaming because it is dependent on more than just your download and upload speeds.

Online games can be played with speeds up to 5 Mbps theoretically. FCC recommends speeds of 3 and 4Mbps for online gaming consoles and online multiplayer. But that doesn’t mean that your experience is going to be great. 

Latency, packet loss, and jitter will all affect the quality of your gaming experience. Each value is dependent on other factors, such as server location, router quality, and game complexity. 

You need to have low latency for the best gaming experience. Latency refers to the time it takes for data to reach your server. That’s the time needed for data to travel from your PC to your server. Higher latency is likely if the server lies further from you.  A latency of less than 20 to 30ms is considered excellent. If it’s higher than 100ms, you will probably experience some problems. Anything above 200ms is unacceptable. There are many tutorials that will help you reduce latency. Find one of them below.

VIDEO TUTORIAL – How to reduce latency on Windows 10

You also need to be aware of packet loss andjitter. If there’s too much data that has to be sent from your PC to the gaming server, and if your upload speed is too low or your router can’t handle all the data, some data packets may get lost in the process. Your gaming experience will be affected if packets are lost. 

Jitter refers to the consistency of your latency. If your latency is consistent, even if it’s relatively high (let’s say around 50ms), you won’t have that many problems. You will experience stuttering and other issues if your latency fluctuates. This will make the game unplayable. 

Online gaming over PS Now: 5 Mbps VS 100 Mbps

The minimum recommended speed for streaming services is 5 Mbps. It’s at least 10 Mbps For Google Stadia Recommended: 35 Mbps, at least 5Mbps PlayStation Now Minimum 15 Mbps GeForce Now

Video calls and Conferencing

You should be able make video and audio calls via popular platforms such as Zoom and Skype with a bandwidth of 5 Mbps. 

With Skype You should be able make video calls to HQ. 1.5 Mbps upload speed is required for HD video calls. However, most 5 Mbps internet plans offer only 1Mbps upload. So, you should be able to receive video calls in HD, but you won’t be able to send video in HD. You should also be capable of making group calls up to five persons. 

With Zoom You can make 1-on-1 video call in HQ. However, HD is not possible due to slow upload speeds. You should also be capable of making group calls in Headquarters. 

Video Calls and Conferencing

What are you going to do with 5Mbps?

To be honest, 5 Mbps won’t get you very far. You also shouldn’t be doing numerous things at once. Playing an online game while watching NETFLIX or listening to internet radio is difficult. While watching video content on YouTube, you cannot download anything. You can listen to stuff on Spotify while reading the news, but that’s about it. It’s impossible to undertake two difficult and demanding online activities without running into problems.

5 Mbps is plenty for HD video streaming, but only provided you don’t do anything else and the connection is completely reliable. Any streaming service can be used to listen to music. You can use Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, or Viber to communicate, but you won’t be able to share video in high definition.

We believe that 5 Mbps is insufficient for activities such as telecommuting and studying.

5 Mbps may be sufficient for online gaming. However, it must be consistent and the experience is enjoyable. Gaming will be difficult with speeds of 5 Mbps. 

It takes 5 Mbps to download MP3 audio files. Downloading an MP3 file of average quality takes approximately 8 seconds. Ideal conditions allow for a download time of just over 30 minutes. This is a 1GB file that takes 28min 37sec. Below are estimated download times for various file types and sizes.

Estimated download times for different file types and sizes


Q: Netflix: Is 5Mbps enough fast?

A: 5 Mbps is sufficient for smooth Netflix streaming in SD. It is the bare minimum for HD streaming – you may experience some buffering or video quality degradation issues if your internet connection is used for anything else but Netflix streaming. 

Q: Gaming at 5 Mbps is it enough?

A: It might be possible, at most theoretically, but only for some games or services. You will need to be aware of latency, server proximity and packet loss as well as jitter. In practice, gaming at 5Mbps is not possible. There will be glitches, delays, stuttering and other problems. 

Q: Is 5Mbps considered a good Internet speed.

A: It’s not. It’s good for some general browsing, social media, video calls, and music streaming. It’s good enough for video streaming in SD or 720p. It could theoretically be sufficient for HD streaming. It’s not fast enough for 4K streaming and it probably isn’t good enough for online gaming. 

Q: YouTube’s upload speed of 5 Mbps is sufficient

A: It all depends on the quality of your video. 5Mbps is enough for 720p video and the minimum for 1080p HD videos. It’s not fast enough for 4K videos.

Q: Does 5 Mbps speed suffice for music streaming?

A: Yes. It is fast enough to stream almost any music service at 5 Mbps.

Q: Can 5 Mbps be fast enough to make video and conference calls?

A: 5/1Mbps is sufficient for group and one-on-one calls in HQ. it probably won’t be enough for HD video calls (you can receive calls in HD, but can’t send video in HD). 

Q: Is 5Mbps sufficient for zoom?

A: 5-1/1000 Mbps is enough for 1-on-1 calls or group calls in HQ. The download speed is fast enough for video calls (both 1-on-1 and group calls) in 720p and 1080p, but the upload speed is not good enough for 720p and 1080p (you can’t send video in HD).

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