How much data do I need for my internet?
How much data do I need for my internet?

Data is the new staple on the grocery list of our lives. The days of writing a text message or actually dialing someone’s number and having them pick up are fast disappearing – now it is all about streaming, video calling and social media. When it comes to fibre internet, you may be asked to choose a package that has a set amount of data, or you can opt for an uncapped package.

The question “How much data do I need each month?” is one we all have to answer in order to be adequately equipped for our work, studies, banking, entertainment and even social lives. In order to support you in solving this riddle and making sure you don’t get cut off midway through a meeting or a movie, let’s break it down into a few simple considerations for you.

How do I measure data?

The main characters in the story of data are MB (megabytes) and GB (gigabytes). If you want to think about their relationship to one another, one MB contains 1 024 KB (kilobytes) and one GB is 1 024 MBs. Got it? Now, let’s imagine what these characters get up to in an hour. 

If you are browsing the internet, checking your Facebook feed, fantasy shopping for beach holidays and so on – that will use about 20 to 120 MB. Sending and receiving emails, depending on the attachments, comes to around 1 to 100 MB. To stream music for an hour, factor in about 45 MB. 

Video streaming ups the usage a bit, to around 250 MB per hour and video calling anything between 200 to 300 MB. If you are into online gaming, that can take anything between 2 to 300 MB per hour.

How much data does the average person need?

Needless to say, the average monthly usage has increased steadily over the years. Research from 2020 reveals that the average person was using 4.5 GB of data per month that year, which is 27% more than the 3.6 GB monthly average use from 2019. In 2018, the average monthly use was around 2.9 GB, which is 22% more than the previous year. 

With the advent of 5G and our increasing reliance on constant connection, the figures are likely to increase in 2022. Luckily, WonderNet’s fibre packages are flexible and can be upgraded or downgraded at any time through our self-help portal. This means that if you need a bigger package midway through the month, you can quickly and easily upgrade your account.

How far does my data go?

If you imagine using 1 GB of data over the period of a month, you will be able to be online daily, but with a choice of media. You could spend in total around 40 minutes a day browsing, or 22 hours a month streaming music, or 20 minutes a day on social media (eg. Facebook or Instagram), or you could watch a couple of films per month. In short, you will have to be very selective about what you choose to watch, listen to or scroll through.

Working from that baseline, then, you can double that for 2 GB and double that again for 4 GB. If you are working with 20 GB of data per month, you will be able to browse as much as you like and enjoy four hours of music and one to two hours of video each day (on low quality).

Increase that to 50 GB per month and you can stream music and browse the web for several hours a day, video conference and stream movies (medium quality) daily. Double that to 100 GB per month and you will have an almost unlimited plan, depending on the quality of your video streaming – if it’s high quality, you may just reach the limit, but if you set your video to medium quality or lower, you should be able to stream video and audio, browse and be on social media for hours a day without your data running out. 

What is the best data package for me?

Of course, not everyone plugs into the data matrix for the same amount of time, nor for the same type of activities. For the purposes of understanding your needs, let’s imagine three different users across the spectrum and you can decide where you fit in.

  • Light User – If you are someone who browses without downloading, checks your email and sometimes uses messaging functions, then 1 or 2 GB per month could be sufficient for you.
  • Medium User – If you require a mix of browsing, messaging and a few hours of movies or video calls a month, then around 10 GB per month should be enough.
  • Heavy User – if you want to spend a few hours a day streaming music or video and you want to have almost unlimited access to any browsing sites, then you would need to get a package of 30 GB and above – particularly if you spend a lot of time on video calls or online games.

What else do I need to consider?

Other than considering how much time you want to be able to spend online, what kind of applications you will be using and how fast you want your download speed to be, it is also key to think about how many users in your household will be logging onto your data package. Also, consider how many devices will be connected. If there are several people all running applications simultaneously on several devices, of course, your data usage will increase accordingly.

Contrary to what some people think, 5G doesn’t use more data than 4G. What changes is the speed at which things can be downloaded – it’s much faster with a 5G connection. This also means that you are able to download bigger files and, potentially, your streaming applications could default to a higher quality setting, which would, in turn, use more data. If you keep on top of things, however, and make sure your settings are where you want them to be, 5G shouldn’t use more data.

Hopefully, this overview has given you some insight as to what your data needs might be. For more information about our fibre offerings or to get a quote for a fibre internet upgrade, please contact us today or check if we’re connected to your address

WonderNet brings affordable broadband internet to South African homes. We work alongside leading fibre network providers to maximise our reach and to offer fast, reliable and secure internet connectivity to your home. We are owned by SEACOM; one of Africa’s top information and communications technology (ICT) companies with an expansive network of subsea cables, landlines and fibre connections. WonderNet strives to offer the best customer service in the country. We will go above and beyond to ensure that our customers are satisfied with their internet access.

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