As an investment analyst, my recommendation for most households is no – upgrading to a 2 gigabit per second (2 Gbps) internet plan is not worth the significant price hike for marginal improvements in real-world speeds. However, for specific use cases like gaming, 4K video editing, and smart home automation, the extra bandwidth can be game-changing.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll examine the pros and cons of multi-gig internet and help you decide if blazing fast 2 Gig speeds are right for your home.
Comparing 2 Gig vs Gigabit vs Average Internet Speeds
To put 2 Gbps speeds into perspective, let‘s compare advertised maximum bandwidth across speed tiers:
|2 Gig Fiber Optic||2,000 Mbps|
|Gigabit Fiber||1,000 Mbps|
|Average Cable Internet||100-200 Mbps|
As you can see, a 2 Gig connection blows away standard plans, offering up to 10X faster downloads and uploads.
But drill down further and you‘ll discover most households won‘t come close to tapping into all that speed. Let‘s analyze some revealing usage statistics.
Average Internet Speeds vs Usage in US Homes
According to 2021 data from Ookla Speedtest Intelligence, the average fixed broadband download speed in the US is now 154 Mbps. However, their data also shows the average American household consumes just 315 gigabytes (GB) of data monthly.
At a typical download rate of 100 Mbps, you could actually download 315 GB of data in less than 9 hours! This indicates the vast majority of residential customers are vastly underutilizing their available bandwidth.
Average Monthly Internet Data Usage
- Streaming 4K video: 150 GB
- Standard HD streaming: 20-40 GB
- Web conferencing: 10 GB
- Email and social media: 1-5 GB
- Online gaming: less than 1 GB
Adding up typical usage for services like video, work apps, gaming and more confirms that many homes are doing just fine with 100 Mbps connections or less.
When to Consider Upgrading to 2 Gig
Now I don‘t mean to suggest multi-gig internet is never warranted. For specific use cases, it can provide a game-changing boost.
Based on my analysis, here are the main scenarios where upgrading to 2 Gig internet makes good financial sense:
You Have 10+ Active Connected Devices
The more concurrent devices contending for bandwidth, the higher speeds you need to avoid congestion. Smart homes with dozens of gadgets and older homes with multiple family members contend for bandwidth. 2 Gig provides plenty of overhead.
You Work from Home and Use High-Bandwidth Apps
If you use data-heavy software like design, engineering and video collaboration tools through remote desktops or the cloud, a 2 Gig connection keeps things smooth. It also minimizes upload times for sending huge files.
You Have an At-Home Business Requiring Customers to Access Large Files
Whether you operate an e-commerce site, creative agency or IT consulting business from home, allowing customers to quickly access and download files from your server requires plentiful upstream and downstream bandwidth.
You Engage in High-Volume Cloud Backup or Video Surveillance
On-site data backups and security camera recordings being continuously sent to the cloud can choke standard internet plans. For large-scale cloud syncing, 2 Gig fiber provides some headroom.
You‘re a Hardcore Online Multiplayer Gamer
Serious online competitors want every last millisecond of advantage, and 2 Gig fiber delivers the absolute lowest ping times. Lag or buffering during a tournament is unacceptable.
You Create or Edit High-Res Video Content Professionally
Working with massive uncompressed 4K, 6K or 8K video files requires major bandwidth, especially when sharing content across teams. 2 Gig makes transferring and collaborating on huge media files nearly instant.
You Simply Want Next-Gen Future-Proofing
While overkill today, upgraded 2 Gig speeds helps prepare your home for emerging bandwidth-heavy applications like augmented/virtual reality, high-res holographic video calling and other technologies we can‘t even imagine yet.
Considering Cost vs Performance
Before upgrading, be sure to weigh the significant price premium 2 Gig plans command against any performance gains:
|Tier||Typical Download Speed||Monthly Cost|
|2 Gig||Up to 2,000 Mbps||$300+|
|Gigabit||Up to 1,000 Mbps||$100-$200|
While 2 Gig plans are 5-10X faster than standard connections, they are also 3-5X more expensive.
I always recommend identifying the lowest tier that meets your household‘s needs to avoid overspending. With the right plan, you can achieve nearly all the same benefits of multi-gigabit speeds and save $100+ per month.
Getting the Most from Gigabit Internet
To take full advantage of 2 Gig or gigabit fiber speeds, be sure to:
- Use updated devices with modern multi-gigabit network adapters
- Connect wired rather than WiFi whenever possible
- Optimize your router placement for maximum coverage
- Reduce interference by enabling 5 GHz WiFi bands
- Set up QoS to prioritize bandwidth for high-demand applications
Testing your network under different conditions can reveal any configuration tweaks needed to maximize real-world speeds.
The Bottom Line
While tantalizing, I only recommend upgrading to multi-gigabit internet if your household can truly benefit from the extra capacity. For most mainstream usage, 100-200 Mbps connections provide plenty of bandwidth at a much lower price.
Carefully analyze your family‘s needs and weighs the pros and cons before assuming faster is always better when it comes to internet speeds. Oftentimes, the best value comes from right-sizing your plan based on actual usage.