By: Dave Carter

One thing that can help to prevent this from happening is to determine the broadband requirement of the entire family. There is no definite formula for to compute this, but making an estimate basing on average Internet usage can save you from future issues.

The bandwidth needs of most home broadband users are often associated with the following online activities:

Email and chat or instant messaging
Music
Online games
Wi-Fi connection for smart phones or laptops

Basing on these activities, you will be able to make a rough estimate of your bandwidth needs if you can determine the Internet requirements of each user in your household. This can be done by knowing their online activities such as watching or streaming of videos, listening to online music, downloading files, or playing online games.

From here, you will be able to make a classification of the Internet users in your home into i)light users, ii)medium users, and iii)heavy users. To estimate each user's broadband needs, he or she is assigned a specific amount of bandwidth in terms of kilobits per second (kbps). Then you have to sum up each user's kbps requirement, and the result will be the estimated bandwidth of your family.

The kbps allocation of each user is estimated as follows:

Light users(L) = 50 kbps each
Medium users(M) = 80 kbps each
Heavy users(H) = 120 kbps each

To determine the total bandwidth requirement of the family, you have to use the formula BR = LN1 + MN2 + HN3

BR = your total band requirement
L = 50
M = 80
H = 120
N1 = No. of light users
N2 = No. of medium users, and
N3 = No. of heavy users

To determine N, You should count the number of users for each classification. For example, if there are five light users in your home, your N1 will be 5. N2 and N3 will follow this principle.

Let's just assume that there are 15 people in your household in which five are light users, five are medium users and another five are heavy users, you can compute your bandwidth estimator in this manner:

BR = LN1+ MN2 + HN3

Band Requirement = (50 x 5) + (80 x 5) + (120 x 5)

Band Requirement = 250 + 400 + 600

Band Requirement = 1,250 kbps or 1.2 mpbs

Remember that the kpbs allocations for each type of user are mere estimates. You can increase them just to be safe. You can give it a try with an additional mpbs to to cover slight estimation differences.

But I think this estimation is okay especially if members do not use the internet simultaneously during peak hours. As long as the Internet signal is not intermittent, people can adjust. More home broadband users are concerned about intermittent broadband signals than slower connections. Internet speed would naturally reduce as the users increase in number.

Now that you have an idea how to determine your bandwidth need, you will now be able to choose the broadband package that can work best for your broadband requirement. This can help to make you maximize the value of every dollar you pay each month.

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Dave Carter is an independent consultant for small businesses. His expertise in consumer electronics is backed up by 12 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. He believes in the effectiveness of Internet plans comparison, and thinks this is a good read. Dave recommends you apply it in your own installation.