Thursday, December 20, 2018
Smart home tech on your holiday wishlist this year? If so, you’re not alone. The market for smart devices and services has been growing steadily but is set to explode, especially in the consumer sector.
So whether you’ve steadily been increasing your smart device arsenal, you’re getting it all at once, or you’ve won a connected device in our Smart Home for the Holidays giveaway, you might be wondering how much bandwidth you’ll need at home.
It’ll differ for each household, of course, depending largely on what types of devices you have, what they perform and what other tech you have going all at once. So, first, let’s take a look at some of the different uses for these devices:
Turn your appliances on, off or to a lower or higher setting when you please — all from the convenience of your smartphone, wherever you are. This can include everything from whatever you’ve got in your smart plug sockets to other appliances, like your washer and dryer, and even your light bulbs and thermostat.
One of the biggest motivators to go “smart” is energy efficiency and savings. In 2017, the average monthly electricity consumption for the average American household was 867 kilowatt-hours, and those households shelled out an average of $111.67 a month for their electric bills, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Both consumption and bill amounts were down from 2016, as smart home devices increased. Real-time monitoring of temperatures and other energy usage lets smart-device users to adjust as needed.
Monitor your home inside and out with video livestreams and recordings while you’re away — whether it’s for a few hours or for an extended vacation. There are also smart locks that allow users to give — or revoke — access to, as an example, their homes. But don’t forget other safety applications, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and alarms.
Probably the most used in the consumer sector, smart devices have taken over the entertainment realm. How many of you have loaded up your phone or tablet with movies to watch while you’re traveling? And surely, you’ve used your Amazon Echo or Google Assistant to play some music when you’re getting ready or when you have guests over. And that doesn’t even skim the surface, as new smart tech is growing in popularity (4K TVs anyone?).
The first thing that may come to mind here are wearables like your FitBit or Apple Watch, which include tracking of things like heart rate, steps, or even sleep patterns. Like the rest, it doesn’t end there. Smart technology has begun seeping into the healthcare industry, with telehealth options, allowing patients to stay at home and still get care from healthcare staff.
All of those are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), or devices that connect to the Internet, continuously collecting, sending and responding to data acquired from the surrounding environment.
Got a clearer picture of all the connected devices using your home bandwidth? Now, let’s move to smart home Internet speed suggestions.
Each device you have will have its own requirements and recommendations on Internet speeds, and many honestly won’t require that much bandwidth. But, some will require both download and upload speeds. (Read more about the differences here.)
Take, for example, streaming on that 4K TV, named aptly for the 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution. These televisions still rely heavily on streaming services for programming, and those services have their own requirements for getting the optimal streaming experience. Owners of 4K TVs with an Amazon subscription will need at least 15 Mbps to watch videos in Ultra HD, while those with a Netflix subscription will need at least 25 Mbps.
An example on the other end of the bandwidth-consumption spectrum is the Nest Cam IQ Indoor/Outdoor cameras. Nest says for high-quality (1080p resolution), you’ll need a maximum bandwidth of about 4 Mbps and requires about the same amount of download bandwidth.
You’re likely thinking that it doesn’t require much, and you could eke by with whatever Internet speeds you’ve got now. But, remember there other factors that play into your bandwidth, like if you’re using all your devices during peak Internet hours (very likely), which ones are connected and what they are doing.
The last thing you want is to not have enough bandwidth at a time when you really need it.
Our solution? Kinetic Gig, our unlimited high-speed Internet option. Gigabit Internet will give you the fast connection you crave, along with better reliability in part of because of its data transmission method.
Kinetic Gig also has faster upload speeds, sometimes even symmetrical to your download speeds, making gigabit Internet the perfect fit for smart home tech products like indoor/outdoor cameras or even video or web conferencing.
Your Internet connection is the biggest snarl in home connectivity, so it only makes sense that as you add more things that require it — streaming services, smart home technology, etc. — you’ll need more robust connections to handle larger amounts of data.
Note that while gigabit Internet will best complement your smart home, it isn’t the only option: other Internet speeds can also work for your household. See what speeds are available in your area, or talk to a Kinetic by Windstream representative to look into what speed you need.