With more people working from home than ever before, having a fast and reliable internet connection has become incredibly important. But how much speed do you really need? Is a 100 Mbps internet plan enough for two people to work comfortably from home? In this article, we’ll examine the factors that determine ideal internet speeds for remote work and help you decide if 100 Mbps is sufficient.
What is 100 Mbps internet speed?
Internet speeds are measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). This refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transferred each second. A 100 Mbps connection means your internet can transfer up to 100 Megabits (or 12.5 Megabytes) of data per second.
100 Mbps is considered a fast internet speed for most households. The average internet speed in the US is around 50 Mbps. So a 100 Mbps connection is twice as fast as what many households currently have.
How much speed do you need for work from home?
The internet speed you need for remote work depends on several factors:
- Number of concurrent users – More users means more devices sharing the bandwidth.
- Types of tasks performed – Basic browsing needs less speed than video calls or large file transfers.
- Number of devices connected – Each device consumes part of your available bandwidth.
As a general guideline, here are the minimum internet speeds recommended for remote work:
|Number of Concurrent Users
|Minimum Recommended Speed
|50 – 100 Mbps
So for two people working remotely at the same time, an internet plan with at least 50 – 100 Mbps speed is recommended.
100 Mbps internet use cases
To better understand if 100 Mbps is sufficient, let’s look at some typical work from home use cases and the internet speeds required:
Video calls have become indispensable for remote work. Apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are used for meetings, presentations, interviews, and more. HD video calling requires 2-4 Mbps upstream and downstream per participant. So for two people on a simultaneous video call, you would need 4-8 Mbps. Even if you factor in overhead, 100 Mbps is more than enough for multiple HD video conferences.
Most business software today is cloud-based. Be it file sharing on Dropbox or Google Drive, CRM apps like Salesforce, or collaboration suites like Office 365, everything happens in the cloud. These services are designed to work well even over relatively slow connections. Routine cloud computing tasks can easily be handled even by 25-50 Mbps connections. With 100 Mbps bandwidth, you can expect snappy response times for cloud apps.
To access company resources remotely, employees often need to connect via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs create an encrypted tunnel for all data transfer between the remote device and corporate network. This adds a degree of overhead, but a 100 Mbps connection has plenty of headroom to handle it. Two concurrent VPN users can work smoothly over a 100 Mbps home internet line.
Working from home may involve sending and receiving large files frequently. These could be documents, presentations, videos, CAD files, or design assets. File sizes can range from several megabytes for documents up to a few gigabytes for videos. A 100 Mbps connection can download a 100MB file in 8 seconds and a 1GB file in 80 seconds. While transfers may take longer with VPN overhead, the speeds are still adequate even for large file transfers.
Web research and email
Basic web browsing and business email use very little bandwidth – just a few megabits per second at most. Even with multiple devices connected, typical browsing and email needs are easily met with 100 Mbps speeds.
Factors that can affect your internet speed
While your plan may advertise a maximum speed of 100 Mbps, the actual speed you experience depends on several factors:
Other household internet usage
If there are other heavy internet users at home – either streaming HD video or gaming – it will impact the bandwidth available for work needs. Ensure priority and quality of service for business devices.
WiFi speeds are typically lower than hardwired ethernet connections. Factors like signal range, interference, obstructions, and network traffic can further reduce WiFi speeds. Use ethernet cables when possible or position WiFi devices near the router.
During peak usage times in your neighborhood, the local network capacity may be congested. This could temporarily reduce your available bandwidth. Try scheduling large file transfers and video calls during off-peak hours.
Some internet providers deliberately throttle speeds during busy hours. This means you’ll experience significantly slower speeds than advertised at certain times of the day. Check your provider’s traffic management policies.
Age of hardware and cables
Old routers, network switches, patch cables, and ethernet ports can all impact your actual speeds. Check that all network equipment is gigabit capable. Upgrade equipment that’s over 5 years old.
Distance from WiFi router
With WiFi, being further away from the wireless router reduces your effective speed. Position your work devices as close as possible to the WiFi router or mesh networking nodes.
VPN and firewall processing
Any VPN or network security software can impact throughput. Configure your firewalls and anti-virus to prioritize business traffic. Consider upgrading to more powerful routers if needed.
Tips for improving 100 Mbps internet speeds
Here are some tips to maximize your 100 Mbps internet connection speed for working from home:
- Use wired connections instead of WiFi whenever possible.
- Position your WiFi router centrally for maximum coverage.
- Upgrade to latest WiFi standards like WiFi 6 for faster wireless speeds.
- Reduce interference by moving other devices away from your router.
- Limit bandwidth heavy activities like streaming or gaming during work hours.
- Set QoS priorities and traffic shaping rules on your router for work devices.
- Upgrade your router if it is older than 5 years and not gigabit capable.
- Schedule large file transfers and video calls during internet off-peak times.
- Test your actual speeds using online speed check tools.
- Contact your internet provider if speeds are significantly below advertised rate.
When you may need faster than 100 Mbps
While 100 Mbps is generally sufficient for two remote workers, you may want to upgrade to faster speeds if:
- You consistently transfer very large design, video or engineering files
- Your work involves video streaming or conferences with multiple high resolution cameras
- There are more than 3-4 active users in your household
- You experience frequent buffering or lag with video calls and cloud apps
- You need to use your internet connection for high bandwidth gaming or streaming movies while also working
In these cases, upgrading to 200 Mbps or even gigabit internet speeds may provide the headroom and performance needed.
For two typical remote office workers, a 100 Mbps internet connection is usually sufficient. It provides enough bandwidth for activities like video conferencing, VPN access, cloud computing, email, and moderate file transfers.
However, actual speeds can vary due to technical and environmental factors. Get a wired connection, use a strong WiFi router, schedule large transfers at optimal times, and set QoS rules to prioritize work devices. These tips will help maximize the 100 Mbps speeds available.
Upgrade beyond 100 Mbps if you consistently deal with large files, need many concurrent video streams, or have several household members using the internet simultaneously. For most home office setups, though, a 100 Mbps internet plan strikes the right balance between speed and affordability.