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.

What is the average broadband speed in Ireland?

The majority of broadband connections in Ireland range from 24Mbps to 100Mbps, 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.

Virgin Media also offer speeds of up to 1000Mbps, available via their own network.

Check your broadband speed

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 you 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:

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.

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.

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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:

  • 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 ‘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 our servers (the upload speed).

How to improve slow broadband

There are actually 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?

In short, yes. 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 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 because any data you use above your allowance could incur a charge.

What is unlimited broadband data?

Many plans offer ‘unlimited’ broadband data. If you live in a busy household, with many internet users, these plans could work best for you.

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

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