Broadband speeds in Ireland
A fast, reliable broadband connection is vital for a quality, hassle-free broadband service, so we’ve got all of the information you need on broadband speeds available in Ireland.
After price, speed is probably the most important factor when choosing a broadband package.
Watching videos, playing games and downloading music will all be impacted by your broadband connection speed.
Average Irish broadband speeds
The majority of broadband connections in Ireland range from 24Mbps to 500Mbps, however more and more high-speed broadband is being rolled out all the time.
Some Irish providers are able to offer speeds of up to 1000Mbps to certain areas with ‘Fibre-to-the-Home’ connections from the likes of SIRO.
What is a good download speed?
This depends on what you use the internet for. If you only use it to check your email for example, a speed of around 5Mbps is sufficient, but you’re probably using it for a lot more.
Netflix says it takes 5Mbps to stream its HD content, while the 4k ultra-HD stream requires 25Mbps.
Generally, the faster your broadband speed the better, as you’ll be able to carry out all of your online tasks much quicker with fast, reliable broadband.
What is a good upload speed?
Again, this depends on what you use the internet for. Uploading things like pictures, or attachments on emails will only need a speed of about 3Mbps, but a quicker upload speed will mean you can complete these tasks faster.
What broadband speed do I need at home?
The broadband speed you actually need will depend massively 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:
|Gaming online||At least 10Mbps|
|Downloading movies quickly||Around 50Mbps|
|Streaming movies in UHD||At least 25Mbps|
|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.
Remember too that providers advertise average speeds, and the speed you get is likely to be lower than this, particularly if you’re connecting via WiFi.
If you require fast broadband, your best bet will be to opt for a fibre or part fibre broadband connection.
If fast broadband is not available in your area, don’t worry - you may still be able to get a good, reliable connection with ADSL broadband or satellite broadband.
How do I check what broadband speed I have now?
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:
- Exit all other programs: games, and windows completely.
- Cancel any downloads: including those initiated by background programs, and close any programs that require a constant internet connection such as online radio or RSS feeds.
- Turn off certain appliances: like baby monitors, microwaves and cordless doorbells, as these can interfere with wireless connections.
- Turn off devices: that are connected to the internet, apart from the one you’re testing your speed on.
You should run the test a few times, at different points in the day, to get an overall idea of your speed.
If you want a really accurate reading of the speed coming into your home, you can connect to the router with a cable, rather than using WiFi.
How does the speed test work?
When you click ‘Start speed test’, 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 our servers (the upload speed).
My broadband is slow - how can I speed it up?
There are actually loads of things that can help improve your connection if you have slow broadband. The steps you need to take to improve your speeds will depend on whether or not you connect via WiFi or you’re connected directly by wired connection.
I use WiFi - how can I improve my broadband speed?
First of all, remember that you’ll get slower speeds using WiFi than you would if you were connected directly to the router. If it’s possible, try connecting your device directly to the router - you should notice a big improvement in speeds.
If you need to use WiFi, there are a number of things you can do to improve your speeds, such as:
- Make sure the router is not encased in a cabinet or surrounded by things that may block the signal
- Ensure the modem is not near devices that could interfere with it - like microwaves, baby monitors or cordless phones
- Move the router into the room where you use the internet most; and/or
- Use a WiFi extender
If you live in an apartment building or an area with lots of wireless modems and lots of devices, you may experience some wireless interference. Simply rebooting your modem - by unplugging it, leaving it for 30 seconds and plugging it back in - will automatically select the most appropriate channel for you.
Also, if you have a large number of devices connected to the WiFi, it may be that one of these is causing an issue. You could try disconnecting all of your devices one by one to see if there’s a particular one that’s causing you a problem.
My wired connection is slow - how can I improve my broadband speed?
If your wired connection is slower than expected, firstly contact your provider. They may be able to give you a newer modem, which could make a big difference, and they may also be able to offer some advice or technical assistance.
If your provider can’t help, you may want to look around and see if you can find a broadband deal with better speeds or a different type of connection.
The speeds you can get vary hugely depending on the type of connection you have, for example, ADSL broadband will be slower than Fibre-to-the-Home. If possible, moving to a provider that offers a different type of connection may be best.
Switcher.ie’s free broadband deal checker shows you all of the deals available in your area, along with information on the type of connection, and maximum speeds for each provider.
Do I need to worry about my download allowance, too?
In short, yes. Your download allowance is separate from your broadband speed. Your plan’s 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 a 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 - from emails, to photos, songs and movies - as any data you use above your allowance could incur a charge.
What is unlimited broadband data?
Many plans now offer ‘unlimited’ broadband. If you live in a busy household, with many internet users, these plans will work best for you, as you can use as much data as you like for the same monthly price.
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