How much internet speed does your smart home need?
The majority of home automation systems use Wi-Fi in some way. It could allow you to communicate with your system from your phone or tablet. Or you might be using a device that works over Wi-Fi, such as a Sonos speaker, a Google Nest thermostat or an Amazon Echo Show.
But have you ever stopped to consider: how much internet speed does your smart home need? It’s a great question. We should ask annually to ensure we have plenty of network capacity in our homes.
With our growing reliance on Wi-Fi, it’s worth questioning if UK internet speeds are getting left behind or are sufficient for our needs. Thankfully, we can easily find data on internet speeds for most counties around the globe.
Many Smart Homes in the UK use up to twenty-five internet-connected devices. And according to The Eco Experts, this number is growing, especially as new devices and technologies are constantly coming to the market.
So, how much internet speed does your smart home need? Come with us as we explore this question.
It’s simple why we use Wi-Fi enabled smart home device
Smart home devices make life more comfortable and secure. For many, adding these devices is super simple, so they keep buying more! Yet few spend a few moments to check how much bandwidth each one uses and whether their home’s network has enough capacity.
Without doing this, you could find that your existing setup won’t provide enough bandwidth to handle everything. You’ll quickly notice the speed of your Wi-Fi slows down as you increase the number of devices on the network.
It’s not all gloom and doom. Most smart devices don’t use a ton of bandwidth. Compared to computers, tablets, and smartphones, most smart devices use a tiny amount of the available bandwidth.
What are the typical smart home devices?
Plenty of smart home devices only use a tiny amount of bandwidth, so you don’t always need to worry. These include devices like:
- Light bulbs
- Smart speakers
- Virtual assistants (Alexa/Siri/etc)
- Security cameras
- Door locks
- Smoke alarms
If you introduce smart home devices that require fast internet speeds, you’ll probably notice your Wi-Fi speed slows down. So, it’s worth seeking expert advice when considering adding smart home devices. You’ll ensure there’s enough bandwidth for your needs.
Do any home automation devices need fast internet speeds?
Some home automation devices need more bandwidth and so work best with a high-speed internet connection. These are devices like:
- Video doorbells
- Wi-Fi cameras
For example, if your home network’s speed is higher than 4 megabits per second (Mbps), you’ll find that devices with cameras will work as expected.
However, if your broadband speed is slower than 4 Mbps, you could find that your camera enabled smart device uses up most of the bandwidth, resulting in other devices suffering. You’ll notice they don’t work as you expect.
There is good news. You can configure your smart devices with cameras to record at a slower speed, as long as you’re fine with a lesser image quality. So depending on how you’re using a device, a drop in image quality could be acceptable.
So, how much internet speed does your smart home need?
While this is a good question, it’s might not be the best one to consider or research. You now know the majority of smart home devices won’t greatly impact the overall speed of your Wi-Fi network.
If you have a good connection and are running several smart devices, you should be fine. However, adding a few devices with cameras to the mix, and you might feel that your internet connection starts to lag.
You might also notice a slower speed if you’re using several devices, particularly if you’re also using smartphones and computers. Using all of these at once could affect how other smart devices in your home operate.
So be mindful when using devices that you don’t stack too many operating on the network at once!
General rule of thumb when considering how much bandwidth is needed
As a general rule, you need 10Mbps for every person in your home. If someone is gaming or streaming 4K content, they’ll need double (20Mbps).
If you’re using 10 or more devices or have six people in your home, 100Mbps should be enough. However, if you notice that some devices are slower than you expect, you might need to re-estimate how much bandwidth you need and upgrade to a higher broadband plan!
As we measure broadband speed in megabits per second (Mbps), a higher speed will allow you to download files much faster. Plus, you can enjoy a higher quality of streaming, including 4k.
You’ll need to find the right broadband deal to suit your requirements and keep all of your smart home devices working properly.
If the speed isn’t fast enough, connection issues and frustrating delays become a real concern. Plus, the situation only gets worse when multiple people in the home want to get online all at once.
How much bandwidth for my household?
1 or 2 people
If there’s only you or you and a partner, 10Mbps should be enough for you to browse and shop online. You’ll find plenty of broadband packages o the market that offer 10Mbps.
3 or 4 people
You’ll want to look for packages within the 30 to 60 Mbps range if your household is 3 or 4 people. The reason is larger households that enjoy streaming movies and use several connected devices at once need more capacity to ensure devices can work properly.
So you’ll find that a broadband deal that offers a speed between 30 and 60 Mbps is adequate. If one or more of you work from home, you’ll benefit from the capacity, especially if you spend a lot of time on Zoom.
5 plus people and gamers
If anyone in the family likes gaming, and there are five plus people in the household, you’ll need a speed of anything from 60 to 100Mbps. With this amount of bandwidth, you can stream content via a smart TV, run multiple smartphones and tablets, and several smart home devices.
As long as you have a reliable connection with adequate speed, you should be able to enjoy streaming and browsing without experiencing buffering or slower downloading.
What can we do with over 100Mbps?
If your download speed is 100Mbps plus, you’ll be fine and able to use multiple devices without any lag or dropouts. Even if you have several users on the system and a myriad of devices, you’ll have enough capacity!
How many devices can 500Mbps support?
If you have a download speed of 500 Mbps, you’ll be able to stream ultra-HD video on as many as 20 devices at once. Also, you should be able to download an HD movie in one minute! Talk about speedy!
Where to start to ensure you have enough bandwidth?
If you’re wondering how much internet speed does your smart home need but don’t know where to start, here’s our best advice.
Start by getting clear on your current download speeds. If you’re unsure, run a test. There are plenty available, including Fast.com and Broadband SpeedChecker. From there, you can assess if you have enough capacity or need to research the market for a better deal.
You’ll be able to find multiple options, whether you’re looking for 10Mbps or 100Mbps. So start researching options and compare a few different providers.
Again, for most people, running a few smart home devices, a laptop, and several smartphones won’t put much pressure on their internet connection. So you might not have anything to worry about.
If you have several devices on your network with a camera, you should consider upgrading your broadband package, even if you don’t feel you need the extra capacity. It will come in handy and ensure everything works smoothly without too many hiccups.