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Last updated: 21 May 2021
Most student households will need fibre optic broadband speeds unless they want to be frustrated by lag and downtime.
Ideal broadband speeds for large student houses
As a general rule of thumb, the more internet users in your house, the faster speeds you need. But beyond the numbers, you need to consider how you use the internet too. On both fronts, student broadband requirements tend to point one direction.
Browsing, sending emails and occasional streaming require basic speeds, but this doesn’t describe the typical student house. In most cases, each student will have several devices connected to the internet at once, doing everything from browsing social media, to streaming a film, to uploading content.
Unless you’re a very small, light-usage household, most students will need fibre optic broadband at least. Within the fibre spectrum, speeds can range from 38 Mbps to 76 Mbps; the more people and the heavier your consumption, the faster speeds you’ll need.
What broadband speed should I get for my student house?
Consider how you use the internet as a household.
If you’re a small student house (3-4) and you stream content both independently or together, look for speeds of 35-63Mbps. A larger household of 5 or more should expand their search into superfast fibre territory with speeds of 64Mbps or higher.
There are two things to bear in mind here. First, if many of you stream in 4K or there are gamers in the house, you’ll generally need superfast broadband speeds; these are usually advertised as faster than 63Mbps.
The other is your mobile data package. If you all have unlimited mobile data or 5G, you could use this instead of broadband. And with fewer devices connected to WiFi, you could get away with slower speeds.
It's worth noting that often, student accommodation comes with internet packages included, so you may not get a choice over the speed you get.
Broadband speed for student gamers
Online gaming demands high download and upload speeds, else you’ll be forever venting about lag. For the best experience, you’ll need superfast fibre optic broadband, even if there’s only one gamer in the house. But if you game in 4K or run regular updates, you’ll likely want no less than ultrafast broadband, with speeds of over 100Mbps.
Will my student house I get the speeds advertised?
Broadband deals are advertised with average speeds, which means there’s every possibility you’ll get either faster or slower internet than what’s claimed. In most cases, variability is due to where you live, but there are also heavy-traffic times of use when there are more users on the network. At these times you may experience a reduction in speeds.
If you live in a city – which many students do – you’ll likely get close to the speeds advertised by your provider, but it’s not a given. Make sure you do a speed check before signing up for a package. For example, if maximum speeds in your area are 50Mbps, paying for ultrafast fibre is money down the drain.