50 Mbps vs 100 Mbps?

We now have Fiber-To-The-Node available in our neighborhood (San Francisco East Bay) and a choice of 50 Mbps vs 100 Mbps, $40 and $60 + taxes.

We are two professionals working from home using virtual conference services for team and class meetings, using fundraising and donor management software, crunching user data in a 15K users WordPress database, watching netflix and listening to radio and podcasts between 4-8 hours each day and lots of email and research on the web. And there is a VoIP landline here too.

Seems to us that 50 Mpbs is plenty for us for now.
What would be good reasons to choose 100 Mpbs?

You can review a bandwidth survey here on connection speeds for video conferencing.


A good reason to go to 100 Mbps is to support quality for TWO people doing separate video conferencing at the same time, especially when you may want to push each to 1080p delivery. You can always ask the receiving end to mute and turn off videos to lower the download bandwidth needs.

Check your cables to sustain connection speeds starting at 100 Mbps. For example, a Cat 5 cable will not be sufficient … you need a Cat 5e or above. Also, check the WiFi limits of your router, especially for the different GHz bands (2.4 vs 5.0).

FWIW, I upped my speed at home to 100 Mbps for on-line teaching just for the sake of avoiding that my system was a bottle neck. I also hard-wired my connection with Cat 6 along the living room floor snaking into the back den (although my router supposedly also would sustain 100 Mbps). I decided that my students would likely have enough to do to stay focused on my video lecture let alone that they would have to deal with “glitches” during my delivery. So, while with business video to conferences, the attendees might tolerate the minimum video quality because they are keen to hear your words anyway (how often of late do we still see the video news connections where the guest “glitches” in and out of the presentation), with teaching classes using video, you may need to assure the best delivery quality so that you can also do the highest quality showmanship to keep the attendees from drifting off.

Finally, unless you must lock in to a contract, perhaps start at 50 Mbps and see what happens for the first month or so.

Keep us updated on what you learn because these are still relevant questions for others I am sure.


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Certainly do 50, that will be more than enough. For Zoom, you need no more than 3Mbps (both ways) for 1080p. Other services are probably about the same. Netflix want 5Mbps for HD quality. I went from 25/25 to 50/50 a couple years ago and could see no difference for anything, and that was with two HD streams. VoIP, radio, podcasts, email are minuscule amounts of bandwidth in comparison, and most websites seem limited more by the server. I’m no Luddite. We were the first on our block with a LAN (with a server doing dialup Internet!), first with DSL, first with WiFi, and first with fiber. But there is a limit to what is really needed.

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I had 50mbps for years. During lockdown I’ve been streaming HD without any issues (until, you know, I was laid off).


Who is the ISP?
Is it symmetrical or a symmetrical data?

If you’re not someone who notices download speeds, how quickly a video buffers, and aren’t moving large files around often, 50 would be fine for a household of two. You could upgrade later if you wanted to.

I would definitely get 100 though. It’s twice as fast!

Hardwiring shouldn’t be necessary with a newer router. I get 235 or so max on an Eero Pro connected to the cable modem and 90+ on a second Eero. More than fast enough for me to run Zoom, streaming a video inbound and sharing my screen with that video outbound, while 3 other family members are watching streaming videos.

All this costs about $45 / mo. with Spectrum in LA.

Ditto. It’s a social kindness these days with most time spent interacting via Teams or Zooms to up level one’s own network to avoid being the weak link in a conversation.

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We’re in a similar situation, albeit fiber to the premises (thank you Marshall FiberNet). We upgraded to 100 Mpbs up and down shortly before the pandemic. I’m teaching online now and that 100 up makes light work of uploading my video lectures.


I’m in the Oakland/Berkeley hills. Who is the provider for your service? Sonic is the only provider in the area that I would switch to at this point, but they can’t get the speed I need to my neighborhood, yet.

We’ve been on Comcast since they came to the neighborhood and we upped it to gigabit when it became available last year. Despite some crappy business practices and mediocre support, the service is pretty solid. We’ve slowly bumped up our speed over the years. Right now we have four adults and a teen all working and streaming, so we needed more.

Most likely https://www.monkeybrains.net/

Interesting. I recall looking at them a long time ago, but I wasn’t interested in the wireless. I was more curious to know if the provider piggy-backs on someone else’s network to get you service. I am wary of those companies because they don’t actually control the system. This is completely different.

They have been around for a long time and have their own fiber in SF.