Is 20 Mbps Good Download Speed? [Real-World Test]
Internet speeds of 20 Mbps are woefully inadequate in the year 2023. On the other hand, it is not overly quick.
It’s barely adequate for the requirements of two users. If one user is streaming Netflix in 4K, for example, the other user won’t have much bandwidth for anything else.
Four HD Netflix streams, ten low-bandwidth gaming sessions, two HD Zoom calls, and about 31 Spotify streams are all possible with a 20 Mbps connection.
Therefore, you should upgrade to a faster speed, like 50 Mbps internet, if there are more than two or three people using the connection at once.
Read on to find out what I learned after using Cox Internet’s 20 Mbps plan for a week, in case you’re curious about what you can accomplish with such a fast connection.
Is 20 Mbps a Fast Speed?
If you’re the only one using the internet connection, 20 Mbps should be sufficient for your needs. For remote workers, this rate is adequate.
However, this speed may not be ideal for transferring large files. Check out the table below to see if your 20 Mbps connection can handle your preferred online pursuits. Therefore, internet speeds of 20 Mbps are insufficient.
|Online Activities||Minimum Required Upload Rate||Upload Rate Prerequisites||Does it work with 20 Mbps?|
|Social Media (Facebook/Twitter
|500 – 2000 Kbps||200 – 300 Kbps||Yes|
|Messaging & Email||100 Kbps||12.5 Kbps||Yes|
|Web Browsing||100 – 1000 Kbps||12.5 – 125 Kbps||Yes|
|100 Kbps||12.5 Kbps||Yes|
|2-3 Mbps||250-300 Kbps||Yes|
|Skype HD Call||1-3 Mbps||125 – 300 Kbps||Yes|
|Skype Group HD Call||4-5 Mbps||500 – 600 Kbps||Yes|
|Zoom HD Call||3.5-4 Mbps||400 – 500 Kbps||Yes|
|Zoom Group HD Call||4-5 Mbps||500 – 600 Kbps||Yes|
|Watching YouTube Videos [480p]||500 – 1000 Kbps||200 Kbps||Yes|
|Watching YouTube Videos [1080p]||2-3 Mbps||250 – 300 Kbps||Yes|
|Streaming Netflix [720p]||1.5-2 Mbps||250 Kbps||Yes|
|Streaming Netflix [1080p]||5-7 Mbps||600-800 Kbps||Yes|
|Online Gaming||3-4 Mbps||300 – 400 Kbps||Yes|
|Streaming Audio Music||400 Kbps||50 Kbps||Yes|
However, this speed is a significant upgrade over 5 Mbps or 10 Mbps. At this rate, it is possible to use a small number of devices to participate in video chats, play online games, and stream media.
Is 20 Mbps Good for Streaming?
The minimum recommended download speed for Netflix’s Ultra HD stream is 25 Mbps. Therefore, you can only have a single Ultra HD streaming session with a speed of 20 Mbps. However, stop thinking you can accomplish anything else and just do that.
In terms of actual bandwidth, HD streaming only needs 5 Mbps. This means that up to four simultaneous high-definition streams can be enjoyed. Since Spotify has a relatively low bandwidth, its users can only have about 31 streams going at once.
Though you can stream full HD videos on any streaming platform such as Netflix, HBO, HULU, Hotstar, etc without any issues.
Can You Play Games at 20 Mbps?
When playing games online, having fast upload and download speeds is crucial. Games have different requirements in terms of upload and download speeds. Online gaming, however, typically has an upload speed of only about 4 Mbps.
That’s enough for eight to ten players to play at the same time. When it comes to downloading, this plan makes it possible to get low-end games like Fruit Ninja and Puzzle Games downloaded in a matter of seconds.
However, if you need to download large game files, such as Call Of Duty Modern Warfare is 120 GB in size, you should plan accordingly. The complete download will take more than 14 hours.
Is 20 Mbps Good for Working From Home?
Remote work requires a number of technological capabilities, such as access to the internet at all times, the ability to use a computer and other electronic devices, video conferencing, etc.
A high download and upload speed is also required for video conferencing. When making a video call, you’ll be sending out as much data as you’re receiving.
The ratio of download to upload speed is typically 1 to 6. With 20 Mbps, you’ll only be able to upload at a rate of 2.5 Mbps.
That, however, is only on paper. The maximum upload speed you could achieve with a 20 Mbps connection is 5.4 Mbps. You can make a couple of HD Zoom calls without worrying about your battery dying.
This plan also allows for up to three simultaneous group video calls. Therefore, 20 Mbps is sufficient for your needs if you are the only user on this plan.
However, if you frequently download large files or host video conferences, you may experience some lag.
Using a 20 Mbps Connection for File Downloads
Low-quality files can be downloaded quickly and efficiently at 20 Mbps. In less than an hour, you can get your hands on anything from a game to an app to an email attachment up to 30 GB.
Large-scale file downloads, however, may require some time and patience. Download speeds in browsers are displayed in megabytes (MB), but the speed of your internet connection is measured in megabits (Mb).
If you didn’t already know, the two are distinct concepts. You might find out how to tell the difference between megabits and megabytes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 20 Mbps good or bad internet speed?
For a single user, internet speeds of 20 Mbps may be sufficient. However, even a single user will not be able to complete tasks that require a lot of bandwidth at this rate.
With 20 Mbps, how many devices are supported?
That is usage dependent. If you need to do some basic web browsing, for instance, you can use almost 25-30 different devices with this plan. However, gamers will be limited to no more than seven or eight devices online at once.
Is 20 Mbps fast enough for Netflix?
At this rate, you can watch nearly four HD Netflix streams simultaneously. But then you won’t have much processing power left over for anything else.
To sum up, an internet connection that is only 20 Mbps is subpar. If you’re the only one who uses the internet, you should upgrade to a plan with at least 50 Mbps of download speed.
For domestic use, 100 Mbps is a viable option. However, you should consider your internet usage and the number of devices that will be connected to the internet before committing to a plan.