Broadband speeds in Ireland

A fast, reliable broadband connection is vital for a quality, hassle-free broadband service. Here’s all of the information you need on broadband speeds in Ireland.

What is the average broadband speed in Ireland?

The majority of broadband connections in Ireland range from 24Mbps to 100Mbps, although more fibre networks and high-speed broadband is being rolled out all the time.

Some Irish providers are able to offer speeds of up to 1,000Mbps to certain areas with ‘Fibre-to-the-Home’ connections from SIRO.

Virgin Media also offer speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, via their own network.

Watching videos, playing games and downloading music are all impacted by your broadband connection speed.

Every broadband connection has two different speeds you can measure:

  1. Your download speed: which is how quickly you can download content like websites, emails and stream video and music online.
  2. Your upload speed: which is how quickly you can upload data, for example sending emails or backing up files to the cloud.

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What is a good download speed?

If you only use your broadband to check your email, a speed of around 5Mbps will be sufficient, but you’re probably using the internet for a lot more.

Netflix says it takes 5Mbps to stream its HD content, while the 4k ultra-HD stream requires 25Mbps.

The faster your broadband speed the better, as you’ll be able to carry out all of your online tasks much quicker with a fast, reliable broadband connection.

If you’re not happy with the speed of your broadband, it may be worth choosing a broadband package that better fits your household needs.

What is a good upload speed?

Uploading things like pictures, or attachments on emails will only need a speed of about 1Mbps, but a quicker upload speed will mean you can complete these tasks more quickly and reliably.

Live streaming, Zoom and other video-calling programs need upload speeds between 2 and 5Mbps for best quality.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is a type of high-speed broadband connection that uses a network of fibre-optic cables. The cables are better at transferring data than standard copper cables and therefore fibre broadband is faster and more reliable.

Fibre is the fastest type of broadband you can get in Ireland and is best for streaming TV, online gaming and watching HD films.

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How does fibre broadband work?

Fibre broadband uses reflective cables as thin as a strand of hair to send light flashes at the speed of light which are interpreted as data. The cables are run underground, to deliver super-fast broadband to homes and business.

Fibre broadband is delivered to people’s homes in one of two ways:

  • Fibre-to the-Home (FTTH)/Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) which delivers fibre the whole way to the home and offers speeds of up to 1,000Mbps.
  • Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) known as part fibre, which delivers the fibre connection to your nearest cabinet or exchange, and the connection to your home is brought from there by older copper cables.

Find out whether you can get fibre broadband in your area using open eir’s fibre rollout map.

How fast is fibre broadband?

The fastest fibre plans in Ireland can deliver speeds of up to 1,000Mbps via a FTTH connection.

FTTC can offer speeds up to 1000Mbps through Virgin Media but most providers offer fibre broadband plans with speeds of up to 100Mbps.

What broadband speed do you need at home?

The broadband speed you need depends on how many people live in you home and what they’re using the internet for. Some common online activities and the speeds they require include:

Activity Speed required  
Gaming online At least 10Mbps  
Downloading movies quickly Around 50Mbps  
Streaming movies in UHD At least 25Mbps  
Checking/sending emails 1-5Mbps  
Using social media 1-5Mbps  
Watching Netflix in HD At least 5Mbps  
Making a Skype video call Around 1.5Mbps  
Streaming music Around 2Mbps  

Each activity in isolation doesn’t require high broadband speeds, but if different people are all connecting to devices at home, then you’ll need a higher speed.

If you require fast broadband, your best option is a fibre or part fibre broadband connection.

If fast broadband is not available in your area you may still be able to get a good, reliable connection with ADSL broadband or satellite broadband.

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How to check your broadband speed

A broadband speed test can tell you exactly what your upload and download speeds are - and it’s quick and easy to do with the Switcher.ie Broadband Speed Test.

In order to get the most accurate result, before you run the speed test you should:

  1. Exit all other programs: including games, background programs and open windows completely
  2. Cancel any downloads: including any streaming radio, music players or video
  3. Turn off wireless appliances: like baby monitors and cordless doorbells
  4. Turn off any devices: that are connected to the internet or router

You should run the test a few times, at different points in the day, to get an overall idea of your speed.

Fo the most accurate reading of the speed coming into your home, you can connect to the router with an ethernet cable, rather than using WiFi.

How does the speed test work?

When you click ‘Go’, data ‘packets’ are sent from Switcher.ie’s Irish servers to your computer and back again.

This is ‘dummy’ broadband data which is designed to allow us to measure the time it takes for the data to reach your computer (the download speed) and be returned to a server (the upload speed).

How to improve slow broadband

If you are unable to make the switch to faster broadband, there are several things that can help to improve your slow connection.

Our guide to slow broadband walks you through the checks you can make and offers tips depending on whether you connect via WiFi or directly by wired connection.

Does your download allowance matter?

Your download allowance is separate from your broadband speed. Your plans download limit is the maximum amount of data you’re permitted to download per month, including pictures, movies and music.

The size of the files will determine how much of your allowance you use when downloading or streaming. For example, a song might be about 3Mb, while an HD movie could be several gigabytes.

If you have a plan with a download limit, you’ll need to be careful when you’re downloading or streaming content because any data you use above your allowance could incur a charge.

What is unlimited broadband data?

Most broadband plans now offer unlimited broadband data. It’s advisable to opt for an unlimited plan if you:

You can use as much data as you like for the same price each month, or up to the maximum limit set out in the fair usage policy.

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