When it comes to internet connections, everyone knows they want a fast connection, but how can we tell how fast a connection is? More importantly, how do we know when a connection is fast enough?

What does a 60Mb or 60Mbps connection mean?

Caution: Math ahead. Skip this section if you don't need the details. For starters, Mb stands for megabit. You may have heard the term megabyte, which is a measurement of how large a piece of data is. A byte is 8 bits, and likewise, a megabyte is 8 megabits. If the “B” in MB is capitalized, then it stands for megabyte. So, what does that mean for the 60Mbps connection? A 60Mbps connection can receive 60 megabits of data every second. To really understand how fast that is though, we have to do a bit of math.

A two-hour DVD-quality movie takes up about 5GB, or gigabytes, of memory. A gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes. So that means that the movie is 5000MB, or 40,000Mb. With a 60Mbps connection, you should be able to download a movie like this in about 11 minutes. But, unfortunately, that’s not all there is to it. When an internet service provider (ISP) lists a connection as 60Mbps, that is only referring to the download speed. Upload speed, which is how fast your device can send data, is usually slower and often goes unlisted in advertisements. So, if the server you’re downloading a movie from is using a connection with a 30Mbps upload speed, the movie will take 22 minutes to download.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, don’t worry, that’s still not everything. A 60Mbps connection doesn’t mean that each device you connect will be able to download at that speed. If you have two devices downloading a file, the combined speed of the two won’t exceed 60Mbps. They may each be downloading at 30Mbps, or it may be less even depending on other factors.

How fast do I need my internet connection to be?

What speed you should shop for is going to depend on how you use the internet. Do you primarily use the internet for web browsing? Do you like to stream movies in 4K? Do you have one main device that uses the internet, or many devices online all the time?

What can I do with a 60Mbps connection?

A 60Mbps connection is likely to be more than enough for many people, but here’s a breakdown of activities and how much data they use in the same terms that ISPs use:

There is one more factor to consider before deciding whether a 60Mbps connection is fast enough for you. If you need to download a lot of large files, and those files are being uploaded faster than 60Mbps, then a faster connection would mean a shorter wait for the files to download. Other than that though, unless your household streams more than four 4K quality movies at the same time, 60Mbps is likely to be a sufficiently fast connection for you.

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