What broadband speed do I need?
When choosing the right broadband plan, speed is an important consideration for any home. Overall, we understand that the larger the number, the faster the connection – but what does this mean to us in real life?
We measure broadband speed in Megabits (Mbps), which is also referred to as download speed. Broadband speed refers to how long it takes to download data from the internet. When you download a song or a film, your internet connection is transferring data from a server to you and how fast you can do this depends on your speed.
Generally, for each person in your home you need 10 Mbps for browsing the web and 20 Mbps for gaming or streaming high-definition 4K content. In 2022, a good broadband speed is considered to be at least 25 Mbps for standard broadband, with the average broadband speed in the UK sitting at 51.48 Mbps. As full fibre broadband is rolled out across the country, the average speed is likely to increase as more people take advantage of speeds of up to 910Mbps. At Vodafone, our plans start at 35 Mbps.
The benefits of faster broadband speeds
The benefits of faster broadband speeds include quicker downloads, less buffering whilst streaming, and more bandwidth so more devices can connect without delay or lag. If you want faster broadband, getting a full fibre plan is the best option, with plans ranging from 36 Mbps to 910 Mbps* – for whatever your budget.
Our fastest Full Fibre 900 plan will support 36 devices streaming Ultra HD TV on demand at once and upload large files in 47 seconds. This is perfect for large households with multiple devices or if you simply want the fastest speed you can get. In comparison, our Full Fibre 100 plan is better for smaller households, supporting four devices streaming Ultra HD TV and taking seven minutes and nine seconds to upload a large file. Compare to our standard broadband plans, all of our full fibre plans are 25x faster.
Do I need to get FTTC or full fibre broadband?
FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) is a standard broadband service that uses copper wires to carry internet to your home. It can only go up to speeds of 80 Mbps and is slowly being phased out across the UK because the outdated technology is too expensive to maintain.
Full fibre broadband, (also called FTTP, Fibre to the Premises) uses a fibre-optic cable instead of copper. This can provide much faster speeds – up to 910 Mbps* (Vodafone’s fastest speed) depending on which plan you choose. Learn more about FTTC and FTTP
If you can get it where you live, we recommend you choose a full fibre connection to future-proof your home. As FTTC is being phased out soon it eventually won’t be available in areas which have full FTTP coverage. Upgrading now will save you time and effort in the future.
At Vodafone, we have a range of full fibre plans to suit your budget, ranging from 100 Mbps to 910 Mbps*, so you can choose the right speed to meet your needs. Explore full fibre plans
What broadband speed do I need for Netflix?
3 Mbps for HD
5 Mbps for Full HD
15 Mbps for Ultra HD (4K) per device
So, if you have three people in your household streaming Netflix in Ultra HD, that’s 45 Mbps bandwidth being used at once. Remember that different streaming services have different recommendations, for example, Disney+ recommend speeds of at least 25 Mbps for Ultra HD.
If you don’t stream in the highest quality, you can use a lower speed. For example, if you usually stream in lower definition and use your phone for light browsing, a broadband speed of around 60 Mbps will work well if you have a small household. If you want to stream Ultra HD on a few devices at the same time, we recommend you get a speed of at least 100 Mbps.
Do smart TVs need a certain broadband speed?
Smart TVs are a great way to improve your television experience as you can easily use streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+. Streaming on a smart TV uses the same bandwidth as an Amazon Fire Stick or if you’re streaming on a laptop, so you don’t need a faster connection. This means the 15 Mbps needed for streaming Ultra HD Netflix will be the same.
Potentially more important than broadband speed is the reliability of your WiFi connection. Even if you have the speed needed, your streaming will suffer if your WiFi signal is weak – this may look like buffering or low picture quality. If your signal is weak, make sure there are no electrical devices (for example, a home phone) that could be causing interference or that nothing is blocking your router signal. If your smart TV is near your router, you can use an ethernet cable to plug it directly into your TV – this will make sure it has a fast and consistent connection. You can check your signal in your smart TV’s settings.
For working from home, what broadband speed do I need?
For working from home, it’s important you have a reliable connection. The right speed for you will depend on how you use your internet, with lightweight tasks like sending emails and web browsing using less data. Frequent video calling and downloading large files will demand a lot more from your connection and for this we recommend a speed of 100 Mbps or more.
Find out more on how to create your home office
Does gaming require a certain broadband speed too?
For online gaming, most video game console manufacturers recommend a minimum connection of 3 Mbps. However, this doesn’t consider the other people in your household using the same connection, which will slow down your gaming experience. Also, if you’re playing multiplayer online games you’ll want to ensure you have a higher internet speed. We would recommend 25 Mbps at the minimum.
Latency (often referred to as ‘ping rate’) is also very important for gaming. Latency is the delay that gamers experience during the action of an online game. High latency makes it harder for online multiplayer games as there will be too much lag for a seamless experience. To ensure a low ping rate, you’ll want to consider how many devices are connected to your WiFi while gaming. The easiest way around this is to choose speeds of at least 60 Mbps, ensuring there’s enough bandwidth available for your whole household. Learn more about broadband for gaming
If you’re considering a new broadband plan, explore our range of affordable speeds and find out what is best for you. Now is a great time to switch, especially if you’re out of contract – you could be spending more than you realise. Plus, it’s easy to switch and we’ll help you along the way. Find out more about switching
*910 Mbps speed is achieved by a wired connection