Connecting and staying connected is more important today than ever before. With so many devices and high-bandwidth applications in our homes, having a fast, reliable internet connection is crucial. But what constitutes a “fast” internet speed in 2023? Is 370 megabits per second (Mbps) still considered fast? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a megabit vs megabyte
Before we discuss download speeds, it’s important to understand the difference between a megabit and a megabyte:
- Megabit (Mbps) – A measure of internet connection speed. 370 Mbps means your connection can transfer 370 megabits of data per second.
- Megabyte (MB) – A measure of data volume. 1 megabyte = 8 megabits. Your 350 GB/month data cap is 350,000 MB.
So when you see your internet speed advertised as 100 or 1000 Mbps, that refers to the connection rate, not the data allowance. The higher the Mbps, the faster large files like movies can transfer.
How fast is 370 Mbps?
Most internet service providers (ISPs) will advertise speeds in simple tiers like 100, 200, and 1000 Mbps. Some plans go even higher today:
- 100-150 Mbps – Entry-level high speed service
- 200-400 Mbps – Fast enough for 4K streaming and low latency gaming
- 500-1000 Mbps – Future-proof with some capacity to spare
At 370 Mbps, your connection sits in the middle tier. It is fast enough to handle multiple 4K streams, video conferencing, gaming, and smart home devices without slowdowns.
However, if you have many users or devices active at once, the extra bandwidth of gigabit (1000 Mbps) service helps avoid congestion and buffering issues.
Factors that affect real-life speeds
While 370 Mbps meets the technical definition of “fast internet,” your actual speeds depend greatly on external factors:
- WiFi performance – Router location and interference greatly affect wireless devices. Ethernet connections get full speeds.
- Device limits – Most devices can’t exceed 300-400 Mbps over WiFi when network congestion is accounted for.
- Network capacity – During peak hours, overall neighborhood usage can slow speeds.
- Distance to node – Longer copper line runs attenuate the signal, lowering speed capabilities.
So even though your plan goes up to 370 Mbps, expected normal speeds are 150-300 Mbps over WiFi when multiple devices connect at once. For reliable 4K streaming and gaming, 200 Mbps throughput is good.
Speed requirements for common uses
Understanding your household’s internet usage helps determine the right plan. Here are the recommended speeds for popular applications:
Web browsing & email
Basic web pages and cloud apps need very little bandwidth – 5-10 Mbps per device is sufficient for efficient loading and streaming. Email alone uses less than 1 Mbps.
Music & podcast streaming
1-3 Mbps allotted per device allows buffer-free streaming from Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and other audio platforms at normal quality levels. Audiophile lossless formats may require more.
This is where speed demands jump up. For reference:
- SD quality video: 2-5 Mbps
- Full HD (1080p): 5-10 Mbps
- 4K UHD streaming: 15-25 Mbps
So a 370 Mbps connection can reliably handle over 10 HD or 4K streams if the WiFi network is up to par.
Fast response times are critical for competitive online gaming. Most games use less than 10 Mbps data, but lag can become an issue on congested networks. For pro gamers, speeds over 200 Mbps prevent any packet loss issues.
Smart home devices
Individually, connected devices don’t require much bandwidth. But when all your IoT gear links to the cloud at once for updates, speeds under 50 Mbps can choke. Budget at least 25 Mbps for misc smart home traffic.
Key factors when choosing an internet plan
Now that you know the speed your household needs, how do you select your next internet plan? Beyond the advertised bandwidth, a few key points matter most:
- Data allowance – Caps from 250 GB to unlimited available. More = less risk of overages.
- Reliability – Consistent uptime and latency required for working and learning from home.
- WiFi performance – Whole home mesh systems better for large spaces vs basic routers.
- Cost – Monthly fees range from $25 for bare minimum DSL to $125+ for multi-gig fiber plans.
- Customer support – Knowledgeable tech experts ease troubleshooting woes faster when issues arise.
Focus first on data needs and reliability. Then choose affordable equipment to distribute your plan’s bandwidth around the home for peak WiFi experience. 370 Mbps gives you flexibility to expand devices and applications over time.
- For high quality streaming and low latency gaming, 370 Mbps internet is fast – faster than 75% of US households in 2022.
- Actual WiFi speeds depend greatly on your networking gear, number of connected devices, and activity levels.
- 25-50 Mbps per active user is sufficient for most purposes. Allow 100+ Mbps for steady 4K streaming.
- Match your monthly data allowance to usage needs for worry free streaming, gaming and working from home.
- Beyond speed ratings, factor real-world reliability, WiFi performance, data caps and customer support into ISP comparisons.
Getting an internet connection that meets your household’s needs comes down to more than just speed. While 370 Mbps is considered fast compared to nationwide averages, optimize for steady throughput during peak usage times – not just the highest advertised rate your provider claims.
Give priority to unlimited data, robust WiFi coverage from mesh networks, low latency for gaming, strong security tools and excellent technical support over pure bandwidth metrics. Understanding how you allocate capacity across devices today and plan to use your home network tomorrow makes selecting the right plan easy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is 370 Mbps good for gaming?
A: Yes, 370 Mbps provides plenty of bandwidth for online gaming, supporting multiple concurrent game streams without lag or buffering. Reduce ping times by using ethernet for the most demanding games.
Q: How many devices can be used at 370 Mbps?
A: You can connect 15+ devices simultaneously at that speed tier. But active concurrent usage will be far less – budget sufficient bandwidth for each person and app as outlined above.
Q: Is 370 Mbps good for a family of 4?
A: Yes, 370 Mbps accommodates a family of four’s connectivity needs nicely. Each family member can stream video, gaming and web browsing without interference. Upgrade to higher speeds if you have more household members.
Q: What is the average internet speed in the USA?
A: As of 2022, the average download speed across all types of internet connections is just 115 Mbps in the United States. Typical cable plans offer 100-400 Mbps, while fiber plans deliver 300-1000+ Mbps for higher demand users.
Q: Do I really need gigabit internet speeds?
A: Gigabit plans (1000 Mbps) future proof your home and provide extra capacity for more devices and data needs. But for many households today, 350-500 Mbps serves most 4K streaming, VR gaming and video call demands fine.
Q: How much speed do I need for WiFi 6?
A: You’ll need at lease 200-300 Mbps internet speeds consistently hitting your router for advanced WiFi 6 gear to offer any benefits over WiFi 5. Faster plans over 500 Mbps recommended to take advantage of the new protocol upgrades fully when you upgrade clients.
Q: Does long distance from the node/DSLAM affect my speed?
A: Yes, homes farther away from DSL or cable nodes receive lower maximum speeds. Actual performance also drops the farther WiFi signals travel, or ethernet cables extend through your home. Proper planning prevents major speed differentials room to room.
Q: Who has the fastest home internet speeds available today?
A: Several providers now offer affordable multi-gigabit home internet via fiber connections capable of 2-10 Gbps. In areas with modern infrastructure, users can get 1000 Mbps service quite reasonably for high capacity needs.
Q: Will I get 370 Mbps over WiFi?
A: You can expect between 150-300 Mbps over a quality WiFi 5 or WiFi 6 mesh system when connecting multiple devices simultaneously. For full 370 Mbps speed, connect your main computer via ethernet cable.
Q: Can I get 370 Mbps with DSL?
A: No, modern DSL packages peak around 100-150 Mbps realistically under perfect conditions. You’ll need DOCSIS 3.1 cable internet or fiber optic lines entering your home to reach 370+ Mbps capability today from major consumer providers.
Q: What is bandwidth throttling?
A: Traffic shaping or throttling intentionally slows speeds during peak congestion times to maintain reasonable service levels for all customers on that network. This prevents the minority of very heavy users from impacting the majority.
Q: Will a router boost my internet speeds?
A: No – your router can never exceed the throughput rates your ISP provisions to your home. But higher-end consumer routers do optimize WiFi range and device connectivity through features like MU-MIMO, band steering and mesh networking capabilities compared to basic models.
Q: Should I pay more for faster internet?
A: It depends on your usage. Casual users find 150-300 Mbps sufficient, while large households streaming 4K video or competitive online gamers require 500-1000+ Mbps plans. Avoid paying for unused bandwidth your devices can’t fully consume.
Q: How do I speed test my connection?
A: Visit Speedtest.net and Run a test over both WiFi and ethernet wired connections. Compare results to your subscribed plan rates and also test during peak evening times when more neighborhood usage may impact your speeds.
Q: Why does my internet slow down at night?
A: During prime evening hours between 5-11pm local time, increased usage as people arrive home from work places more load on shared network infrastructure. Less overall bandwidth capacity compared to late night or daytime off-peak windows.
Q: Can neighbors impact my wireless signal?
A: Yes, nearby WiFi networks transmitting on the same channels as your router compete and interfere with performance. Upgrade to WiFi 6, enable 5GHz bands, change channels or customize transmission power levels to mitigate signal congestion issues in dense areas.