Many internet plans include a range of download speeds and GB (data) options. This meets different price points, but it can be overwhelming to estimate what you need. It might take trial and error to find optimal coverage; you don’t want more than you need, but you don’t want your data threshold to slow down your streaming three weeks into the month. Fortunately, there are ways to estimate what you’re likely to need in your data consumption.

What Are Mbps and GB?

Internet plans often provide tiers of speed and data. Download speed is measured in Mbps, or Megabits per second, and data is often measured in GB, or gigabytes. If download speed is like delivery speed, then data is like the amount of cargo you can get delivered in a month. Just like you can fill a box with three large items or multiple small items, some internet activity is data-heavy while other internet activity requires relatively little. Your monthly plan may offer 40, 60, or 150 GB of data at a variety of speeds.

Are My GB Priority Data or Limited Data?

Many internet providers offer priority data plans. No one wants to run out of data early, unable to access social media. Providers offer unlimited slow-speed data if the monthly priority data threshold is met.

If you have a plan with 40 GB of priority data, when you’ve used it, the rest of your data use for the month is technically unlimited but “throttled” or slow. It’s like getting all your fast delivery cargo in the first half of the month, then getting the rest of your cargo slowly delivered a bit at a time.

What Kinds of Internet Activities Use the Most GB?

There are many ways to conserve data usage, but some online activities consume a lot of data even if you adjust resolution settings.

Streaming music, videos, or video games are all activities that consume a lot of data. As a general estimate, streaming around 13 hours of high-definition videos uses about 40 GB. That is a household estimate, not just streaming on one device by one user. However, users could expect several thousand hours of surfing websites before they use 40 GB of data.

By analyzing your household consumption, you can estimate how much data you need and where you can conserve.

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