Black Friday is almost here and you know what that means: gadgets, gadgets, gadgets. It’s one of the biggest shopping events of the year and always has a big emphasis on electronics and appliances, so once the dust settles you’re sure to have a healthy stash of new tech to play around with, but are your broadband speeds up to the task?
Almost every new piece of technology these days comes with a Wi-Fi connection, so the demands placed on your broadband could jump up significantly come December.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the internet speeds that you’ll need to fully enjoy your new Black Friday buys.
The sum of your speeds
Below is a breakdown of how many megabits per second (Mbps) each of your new Black Friday gadgets will need from your home broadband connection. While individual devices may not put a significant strain on your broadband, it’s likely that you’ll have more than one device running at a time — especially if you have multiple people in your home — so the speed you need quickly adds up.
A quick estimation of the number of gadgets for households of vary sizes shows you how the demand on your broadband quickly adds up. Those living alone will probably only be using a maximum of 35Mbps of bandwidth at any given time, whereas a family of four could use up to 90Mbps if everyone was online at once.
If you have any of these devices already and you’re looking to purchase more this Black Friday, it’d help to do some sums to get an idea of how much broadband you’ll be using on a daily basis once all those new devices arrive.
If your family likes their gadgets and plan to get even more during Black Friday, you might want to look for Black Friday broadband deals at the same time.
Streaming sticks and smart TVs (3Mbps - 15Mbps per device)
All the best TV takes place online these days, with more and more streaming platforms being introduced every month. When Black Friday comes you can almost guarantee there will be some killer deals on smart TVs and streaming devices.
If you’re streaming in HD or 4K, then it will place even more demand on your broadband, with 1080p using 5Mbps and 4K or ultra-high definition streaming needing as much as 15Mbps to stream properly.
So if you’re planning on binging Blue Planet II in ultra-HD, you’ll need a solid internet connection and good broadband speeds to ensure your viewing experience is uninterrupted.
Smart speakers and smart home gadgets (1Mbps - 2Mbps per device)
There's a smart speaker for everyone these days, with brands like Amazon introducing new speakers conveniently in time for the big Black Friday sales.
If you have an Alexa or a Google Nest speaker controlling your lights and heating, setting reminders and, of course, streaming music, that's a further strain on your broadband connection.
However, despite their versatility, smart speakers don’t require a huge amount of bandwidth in order to operate properly. Typically, streaming music and making enquiries via your virtual assistant will require speeds of around 2Mbps.
This increases slightly when you start using your virtual assistant to control other home functions. For every ten smart home items that you connect to Wi-Fi and control with your smart speaker, you’ll need to add about 5Mbps to your broadband package, and if these are video-capable smart home devices, look to add about 10Mbps.
Laptops and computers (8Mbps and up per device)
That shiny new MacBook is only as fast as your best broadband speeds. For everyday online activities such as email, sharing pictures, browsing social media, and even watching Netflix and playing games, a minimum download speed of 8Mbps should be enough for regular use.
Games consoles and gaming PCs (3Mbps or faster per device)
Gaming-specific devices such as the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 or 5 tend to require download speeds of at least 3Mbps, as well as upload speeds of 1Mbps. For PC or Mac gaming, on the other hand, it’s best to allow for 6Mbps download speed as your fellow players are more likely to have the high-end premium kit.
But what really affects gaming performance is your broadband’s latency, which is how long it takes for your broadband connection to react to requests for downloads and uploads. Known as the ‘ping rate’, this is the reaction time of your broadband connection and how fast you get a response after you make an action on your device.
A fast ping rate means a more responsive connection, which makes all the difference for hardcore gamers trying to get the edge over their opponents. For console gaming, you would ideally want a ping rate of less than 150 milliseconds, and less than 100 milliseconds for PC gaming.
In a recent Uswitch study, the UK came 34th in the world for average gaming download speeds at just 22.57Mbp! Check out what this means for your gaming downloads.
Smartphones (at least 8Mbps per device)
In terms of usage, smartphones will likely have similar broadband requirements as laptops and computers, using around 8Mbps for browsing, sharing and streaming.
The most significant difference is that, unlike computers, your smartphone is pretty much always on and always connected to the internet. Whether your phone is active or not, it will constantly be checking for new messages and notifications and even updating programs in the background.
This means that you can expect a consistent drain on your broadband of around 1Mbps for every smartphone in your home.
Looking to get a new smartphone for Black Friday? Check out some of our early Black Friday mobile deals.
Black Friday deals
What have you got your eye on this Black Friday, 26th November? Are you planning on shopping for new gadgets like the ones listed above? Have a look around your home and add up the download and upload requirements of the devices you have that connect to the internet.
Is your broadband up to speed? If not remember, there are also plenty of Black Friday broadband deals that will allow you to get the most out of your new tech.