How Much Internet Speed ​​Do I Really Need?

DSL, LTE, cable – there are many Internet tariffs, but how much speed do I actually need? TECHNOLOGY BUTTON shows the perfect connection for every purpose.

A move to a new apartment, an expiring contract or simply a line that is too expensive or too weak – reasons for changing the Internet tariff are numerous. But the variety of providers and tariffs is huge: Do I need DSL 100,000, is DSL 16,000 enough or does it even have to be a cable line with gigabit speeds? TECHNOLOGY BUTTON shows you which internet speed you should choose for which purposes so that long waiting times and unnecessarily expensive contracts are a thing of the past.

The various connections are briefly explained

Before we get to the explanation of which Internet speed is suitable for which user, we would like to briefly explain the different connection types.


The DSL tariff is the classic among Internet connections. It is usually implemented using the well-known copper cables, which are gradually being replaced by the more modern fiber-optic cables. Most manufacturers offer DSL speeds of 16 to 32 Mbit / s. In some cases, connections with a maximum of 6 Mbit / s are even marketed. VDSL is the expansion stage of DSL and already allows higher bandwidths of 50 or even 100 Mbit / s. Users are even faster on the move thanks to VDSL vectoring or super vectoring. For example, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone offer offers with up to 250 Mbit / s via super vectoring. Theoretically, even up to 400 Mbit / s would be possible.

Electric wire

If you like it even faster, you can use the cable tariffs that are up to 1 Gbit / s. The internet comes out of the TV socket. Often only one particular cable provider is active at one location, which means that users have no choice. In return, cable tariffs impress with their high bandwidths. In contrast to (V) DSL offers, however, it should be noted that the various users on a cable branch share the bandwidth (shared medium). If there are many surrounding connections in the network at the same time, the speed can drop significantly.


All major Internet providers in Germany now offer stationary LTE routers with suitable tariffs. The internet connection is realized here via mobile radio. It is particularly popular in regions where DSL and cable are otherwise not developed – for example in rural areas. A SIM card provides the connection to the network, the LTE router provides the connection for the various devices in the home network. In contrast to smartphone tariffs, the data volume included in the tariff is correspondingly high. With GigaCube, for example, Vodafone offers tariffs of up to 500 GB per month.

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Glass fiber

A fiber optic connection, like cables, allows very high Internet speeds in the gigabit range. The name of the connection is based on the type of cable over which the line is implemented. Often the network operators still use the existing telephone copper wire pairs or coaxial cables for the last few meters to the customer – the so-called “last mile”. In the course of the fiber optic expansion, however, there are also more and more FTTH connections, i.e. those in which the fiber optic cable is laid into the home (FTTH – Fiber to the Home). Fiber optic connections are offered, for example, by Deutsche Glasfaser, Telekom and Vodafone.

The everyday surfer

Do you regularly check Facebook, read and send emails, shop on Amazon, send smaller photos and watch videos on YouTube? Then the minimum performance of a DSL 16,000 line is absolutely sufficient if you use the line as a single person or as a couple. With new contracts or tariff changes, this internet speed is now the smallest available option. Depending on the provider, this provides an upload of up to 2.4 megabits per second (Mbit / s). Anyone who currently has a slower connection such as DSL 6,000, which is still widespread from time to time, does not necessarily have to switch to a higher tariff – this is also easily sufficient for everyday tasks.

The streamer

Video streaming has already replaced traditional television for many people. Young people in particular are increasingly watching Netflix and Amazon Prime Video instead of ARD or RTL. If you want to stream films in sharp HD resolution or high quality music from Spotify, a DSL 16,000 line is usually sufficient. Here the videos run smoothly – unless several people access the network at the same time and stream in parallel! Otherwise it can lead to annoying interruptions. YouTube and online video stores are also no problem.

If you have a television with four times the full HD resolution (4K) at home and would like to stream the corresponding high-resolution material from the Internet, you need more pressure on the line – it should be at least a 50,000 line here in order to still have enough power even with reception problems to have.

The gamer

Nothing is more annoying in online duels on the PC, PlayStation or Xbox than a stuttering internet connection, which can cause delays in shooter games and thus an advantage for the opponent. Many games are also downloaded digitally these days, and the files are often many gigabytes in size. If you want to save yourself the frustration of waiting, it is best to choose a line with an Internet speed of 50 Mbit / s or more.

The IPTV television viewer

Do you prefer to watch traditional television instead of streaming? As an alternative to cable or satellite reception, Telekom, Vodafone and 1 & 1 offer television over the Internet, so-called IPTV. What are the advantages ? The selection of HD channels is large, the picture quality is great and many extras such as time-shifted television or a receiver with a recording function are often included. The big disadvantage: If the internet connection fails or is too slow, the cigarette box remains black. Therefore, it should be at least DSL 32,000 for IPTV in order to be able to display HD channels at least smoothly on a television. If you have two or more televisions and want to watch HD channels at the same time, you should ensure an Internet speed of 50 Mbit / s or more.

The flat share or family with several people

Regardless of whether it is an XL flat share or a large family – if many people in a household are surfing the net at the same time, you should use at least (V) DSL 50,000 or – depending on the number of people – a 100,000 line or more. Gigabit connections via cables and fiber optics are also particularly suitable for this target group. In a family, the son can stream Netflix series, the father can watch TV via IPTV, the daughter can download games and the mother can listen to music via Spotify – all at the same time and without delays, stuttering and failures.

The cloud user

The number after the DSL tariff indicates the maximum speed when downloading files. These numbers do not apply when uploading photos or documents to cloud storage or videos on YouTube. With a DSL 16,000 connection, for example, you can download data at up to 16 Mbit / s, but only upload at up to 2.4 Mbit / s. This is still manageable with smaller files such as compressed photos, a song or Word documents, but it can take hours for larger uploads with several gigabytes. As a rule of thumb: With many tariffs, the upload speed is around a fifth of the download speed – with DSL 50,000 you can already upload just under 10 Mbit / s. Offers with an even higher Internet speed of 250 Mbit / s or more even offer upload rates of 50 Mbit / s.

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Super vectoring, cables & Co .: Do I need a turbo tariff?

Large providers such as Deutsche Telekom now  offer a super vectoring tariff with a maximum download speed of 250 Mbit / s, Vodafone even offers 400 Mbit / s in the VDSL expansion stage.  Classic cable connections, such as those offered by Vodafone after the takeover of Unitymedia and Kabel Deutschland, create even higher bandwidths. With the new DOCSIS 3.1 transmission standard, gigabit data rates of up to 1000 Mbit / s are already possible in some regions.

What do I do if I live in the country?

Those who live in rural areas sometimes have the problem that there is no fast Internet connection via cable or DSL. What to do? An alternative are tariffs with the fast LTE cellular standard, which have a long range thanks to the low frequency used for broadcasting. However, they are comparatively expensive and often have a predetermined data volume. If this is used up, the provider reduces the speed to a snail’s pace. Streaming films or loading data into the cloud is therefore only possible to a very limited extent, depending on the data volume booked. In the meantime, however, there are also tariffs that offer unlimited LTE volume. Although these cost above average, they guarantee smooth internet even in rural regions. Directional radio and internet via satellite offer further possibilities.

Why am I getting less speed than advertised?

You have booked a DSL 50,000 line, but instead of the promised 50 Mbit / s you only surf at half the Internet speed? Since the revision of the Telecommunications Act (TKG), customers now have more options to enforce their rights. If the provider cannot deliver the contractually guaranteed speed permanently and to a considerable extent, customers can now reduce the basic fee for a connection. Before doing this, however, you must report the reduced bandwidth and give your provider time to remedy the situation. If that does not lead to an improvement in the long term, there is even the right to an extraordinary termination.

Even with the classic cable connections, it can happen that the promised speed does not come from the line. This is especially the case at peak times, when a lot of people are online. The reason: unlike DSL connections, a cable connection is a shared medium. This means that several users share the available bandwidth. Depending on the time of day and the number of users, the available speed can fluctuate significantly.

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