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How much Internet speed do I really need?

DSL, LTE, cable – there are many Internet rates, but how much speed do I actually need? atechbook shows the perfect connection for every purpose.

A move to a new apartment, an expiring contract or simply a line that is too expensive or too flabby – there are numerous reasons for changing your Internet tariff. But the variety of providers and rates is huge: Do I need DSL 100,000, is DSL 16,000 enough, or does it even have to be a cable line with gigabit speeds? atechbook explains which Internet speed you should choose for which purposes, so that long waiting times and unnecessarily expensive contracts are a thing of the past.

The different connections briefly explained

Before we get to the explanation of which Internet speed is suitable for which user, we would like to briefly explain the different connection types.


The DSL tariff is the classic among Internet connections. It is usually implemented via the familiar copper cables, which are gradually being replaced by the more modern fiber-optic lines. In most cases, manufacturers offer DSL speeds of 16 to 32 Mbps. In some cases, connections with a maximum of 6 Mbit/s are still being marketed.

VDSL is the expansion stage of DSL and already allows higher bandwidths of 50 or even 100 Mbps. Users can travel even faster thanks to VDSL vectoring or super vectoring. Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, for example, offer packages with up to 250 Mbit/s via super vectoring. Theoretically, even up to 400 Mbit/s would be possible.


If you like it even faster, you can opt for cable rates with speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. Here, the Internet comes virtually out of the wall. Here, the Internet comes virtually out of the TV socket. Often, only one cable provider is active in a particular location, which means that users have no choice. On the other hand, cable rates are impressive because of their high bandwidths.

Unlike (V)DSL offers, however, it should be noted that the various users on a cable branch share the bandwidth (shared medium). So if many surrounding connections are on the network at the same time, the speed can drop significantly. This is a problem in large cities in particular.


All major Internet providers in Germany now offer stationary LTE routers with suitable rates. Here, the Internet connection is realized via mobile communications. It is particularly popular in regions where DSL and cable are otherwise not available – for example, in rural areas. A SIM card provides the connection to the network, and the LTE router provides the connection for the various devices in the home network.

Unlike smartphone rates, the data volume included in the rate is correspondingly high. With GigaCube, for example, Vodafone offers rates with up to 500 GB per month. As a rule, speeds of 50 to 100 Mbit/s are achieved with this type of connection.

Fiber optics

Similar to cable, a fiber-optic connection allows very high Internet speeds in the gigabit range. Business customers can even book up to 100 Gbit/s. In Germany, the fiber-optic network has been growing steadily for several years. However, it does not yet cover the entire country. The name of the connection is based on the type of cable over which the line is implemented.

Network operators often still use the existing telephone copper pair or coaxial cable for the last few meters to the customer – the so-called “last mile”. In the course of fiber-optic expansion, however, there are also more and more FTTH connections, i.e., those in which the fiber-optic cable is laid right into the home (FTTH – fiber to the home). Fiber-optic connections are offered by Deutsche Glasfaser, Telekom and Vodafone, for example.

The everyday surfer

Do you regularly check Facebook, read and send e-mails, store on Amazon, send small photos and watch videos on YouTube? Then the minimum performance of a DSL 16,000 line is absolutely sufficient if you use the line as a single person or even as a couple. For new contracts or rate changes, this Internet speed is now the lowest available option. Depending on the provider, this provides an upload of up to 2.4 megabits per second (Mbit/s). Those who currently still have a slower connection, such as the DSL 6.000 that is still occasionally used, do not necessarily have to switch to a higher rate – this is also easily sufficient for everyday tasks.

The streamer

Video streaming has already replaced classic television for many people. Young people in particular are increasingly watching Netflix and Amazon Prime Video instead of ARD or RTL. If you want to stream movies in sharp HD resolution or music from Spotify in high quality, a DSL 16,000 line is usually enough. The videos run smoothly here Рas long as several people do not access the network at the same time and stream in parallel! Otherwise, annoying interruptions can occur. YouTube and online video stores do not cause any problems either.

However, if you have a TV with quadruple Full HD resolution (4K) at home and want to stream high-resolution material from the Internet, you will need more pressure on the line – a 50,000 line should be the minimum to have enough power even with reception problems.

The gamer

Nothing is more annoying in online duels on the PC or console than a stuttering Internet connection, which can cause delays in shooter games and thus give the opponent an advantage. Many games today are also downloaded digitally. The files are often many gigabytes in size. If you want to avoid the frustration of waiting, it’s best to choose a line with an Internet speed of 50 Mbit/s or more.

The IPTV TV watcher

Do you prefer to watch traditional television instead of streaming? As an alternative to cable or satellite reception, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and 1&1 offer television via the Internet, so-called IPTV. What are the advantages? The selection of HD channels is large, the picture quality is superb, and many extras such as time-shifted TV or a receiver with recording function are often included. The big disadvantage: If the Internet connection fails or is too slow, the flicker box remains black. That’s why you need at least DSL 32,000 for IPTV to be able to watch HD channels smoothly on at least one TV. If you have two or more TVs and want to watch HD channels in parallel, you should look for an Internet speed of 50 Mbit/s or more.

Shared apartment or family of several

Regardless of whether it’s an XL flat-sharing community or a large family – if many people in a household surf the net at the same time, you should go for at least (V)DSL 50,000 or – depending on the number of people – a 100,000 line or more. Gigabit connections via cable and fiber optics are also particularly suitable for this target group. In a family, the son can stream Netflix series, the father can watch TV via IPTV, the daughter can download games, and the mother can listen to music via Spotify – all at the same time and without delays, jerkiness, or outages.

The cloud user

The number after the DSL rate indicates the maximum speed when downloading files. These numbers do not apply when uploading photos or documents to cloud storage or videos to YouTube. For example, with a DSL 16,000 connection, you can download data at up to 16 Mbit/s, but only upload at up to 2.4 Mbit/s. This is the maximum speed for smaller files such as compressed files. This is still bearable for smaller files such as compressed photos, a song or Word documents, but can take hours for larger uploads with several gigabytes. As a rule of thumb, the upload speed for many rates is about one-fifth of the download speed – so with DSL 50.000, you get just under 10 Mbit/s for uploading. Offers with an even higher Internet speed of 250 Mbit/s or more even provide upload rates of 50 Mbit/s.

Super Vectoring, cable & Co.: Do I need a turbo tariff?

Major providers such as Deutsche Telekom now offer a super vectoring rate with a maximum download speed of 250 Mbit/s, while Vodafone even offers 400 Mbit/s in the VDSL expansion stage. Even higher bandwidths can be achieved with traditional cable connections, such as those offered by Vodafone following its takeover of Unitymedia and Kabel Deutschland. Thanks to the new DOCSIS 3.1 transmission standard, gigabit data rates of up to 1000 Mbit/s are already possible in some regions.

If you want to know how fast your connection is: determine your actual down- and upload speed easily with the atechbook-Speedtest .

What do I do if I live in the countryside?

If you live in rural areas, you sometimes have the problem that there is no fast Internet connection via cable or DSL. What can I do? One alternative is tariffs with the fast LTE mobile communications standard, which have a high range thanks to the low frequency on which they are transmitted. However, they are comparatively expensive and often have a predefined data volume. Once this is used up, the provider throttles the speed to snail’s pace. Streaming movies or downloading data to the cloud is therefore only possible to a very limited extent, depending on the data volume booked. However, there are now also rates that offer unlimited LTE volume. These cost more than average, but guarantee smooth Internet access even in rural regions. Other options include directional radio and Internet via satellites.

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Why do I get less Internet speed than specified?

You have booked a DSL 50,000 line, but instead of the promised 50 Mbit/s you are only surfing at half the Internet speed? Since the revision of the Telecommunications Act (TKG), customers now have more opportunities to enforce their rights. If the provider is unable to deliver the contractually guaranteed speed permanently and to a significant extent, customers can reduce the basic charge for a connection. Before doing so, however, they must report the reduced bandwidth and give their provider time to remedy the situation. If this does not lead to an improvement in the long term, customers even have the right to extraordinary termination.

Even with classic cable connections, it can happen that the promised speed does not come out of the line. This is particularly the case at peak times, i.e., when many people are on the Internet. The reason: Unlike DSL connections, a cable connection is a shared medium. This means that several users share the available bandwidth. Depending on the time of day and the number of users, the available speed can then fluctuate greatly.


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