Richard Bucker

How fast is fast enough?

Posted at — Jun 10, 2019

There was a time when I would download many GB and possibly TB of videos all for the purpose of binge watching an entire series over many seasons. Now that Netflix, Prime Video and no hulu fill most of that need every is streamed. So what sort of speed do I need in the house?



It’s not that difficult of a question and there are some generalities you can apply. How many HD or 4K TVs? Are you actually downloading big things?

So; since I no longer download I do not need the big pipes. What I really need is symmetrical speeds (same upload and download) and reliability. Since the later is impossible to predict but can be implemented with multiple vendors and load balancing that’s what I did. The former is possible from both ATT and Comcast so both boxes checked.

As for speed… there are 4 people in the house… but let’s assume one guest… so there could be 5 streams going at once. HD needs about 8Mbps per stream for a grand total of 45Mbps. And if that were a 4K stream then basically multiple by 4x. That get’s me to 200Gbps. Add 100Gbps for headroom, computers, phone and iPad uploads and downloads and you’re in the 300-400Gbps.

What’s amazing is that my 3 ISP configuration at 300Gbps per service with hulu and HBO costs less than 1 ISP 1G with a HD TV and my Tivo.

And here is the proof… While it’s not exactly 30 days it is telling…


350GB = 2,800Gb… even at a full 1Gbps that would be about 46 minutes. What would we do with the remaining 30 days and 23 hours and 15 minutes?

ATT has an interesting pricing.


For $100 you get unlimited data and 1Gbps data rate. And if you want to throttle down to 300Mbps for $90 you are capped at 1TB per month.