Is 500 Mbps Fast? Full Performance Report (for Gaming, Streaming, Work)

Selective focus at router. Internet router on working table with blurred man using tablet at the background. Fast and high speed internet connection from fiber line with LAN cable connection.

Is 500 Mbps Fast? Full Performance Report (for Gaming, Streaming, Work)

Key Points

  • Understanding the basics: A megabit is the most basic form of data, and it takes eight bits to make a byte.
  • Different activities require different internet speeds: For example, audio streaming requires a minimum connection of 400 Kbps, while video streaming ideally needs 100 Mbps for 4K video.
  • 500 Mbps vs. 100 Mbps: While 100 Mbps is usable for most tasks, 500 Mbps offers lower latency and better gaming performance.
  • 500 Mbps vs. 300 Mbps: 300 Mbps is great for families, but 500 Mbps provides better support for streaming video and video calls.
  • 500 Mbps vs. 1 Gbps: 1 Gbps is generally the fastest speed for most households and excels at gaming and streaming video.

Is 500 Mbps fast? Internet service providers offer quite a few different plans for download speeds and, as such, it can be difficult to choose. Users shopping around for an internet plan likely have a general game plan in mind for their own needs.

So, if you’ve been curious as to what your connection speed means in relation to things like work, gaming, streaming, and a whole slew of other applications, you’re in the right place. This guide won’t get bogged down in messy jargon but instead offers a more practical take on network speeds.

What Is Megabits Per Second?

Before diving into the finer details of a connection, it is important to understand what a megabit is. You have likely heard things like megabytes, gigabytes, and other measurements thrown around.

These act as a store of data. The bit is the most basic form of data. It takes eight bits to make a byte.

Real World Applications

So, how does this apply to the real world? Well, simply speaking, everything you do online takes up some sort of storage. Basic web browsing, emailing a coworker, streaming a show, you name it, and it takes up some degree of space.

How this applies to your internet connection is just to give a rough idea of what to expect when choosing a plan.

ActivityTypical Data Needs
Audio Streaming400 Kbps minimum connection
Video Streaming10 Mbps connection for 1080p, 100 Mbps ideal for 4K video
Online Gaming5 Mbps is ideal for maintaining good latency
Audio Calls1 Mbps or higher can handle all voice calls
Video Calls5 to 10 Mbps is ideal for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Citrix video calls
Web Browsing5 Mbps should handle most modern web pages and social media sites

500 Mbps vs. 100 Mbps

500 mbps
100 Mbps can easily handle 4K streaming for a small number of devices.


100 Mbps plans are plentiful and often serve as the most basic form of internet access for broadband. Compared to 500 Mbps, it is significantly slower. That said, it is still very usable for most tasks.

General Web Browsing

When it comes to web browsing, you can typically get away with a basic 3 to 5 Mbps connection. This isn’t ideal, but it’s leagues ahead of things like a dial-up connection.

In terms of web browsing, you’re fairly well set with a 100 Mbps connection. Web pages will load fairly quickly, provided they aren’t bogged down in scripts and images. Even if they are, you should be able to handle most things.

Both 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps are going to load basic web pages in under a second, usually. More intensive websites can really stress the connection, but that isn’t the typical experience.


500 Mbps takes a clear edge here, as it allows for lower latency. Now, gaming is reliant not just on the download rate, but also on the upload rate of your connection. If you have a symmetrical connection, like fiber, for example, then the download and upload rates are equal.

You’re going to get lower latency with a 500 Mbps connection, provided you have equal rates on the download and upload speeds. You can certainly game on a 100 Mbps connection, but it isn’t going to be as responsive.

Streaming Audio and Audio Calls

Streaming audio and audio calls aren’t the most data-intensive activities compared to video. Using basic audio quality on a service like Spotify takes roughly 144 megabytes per hour. Over the course of a day, that’ll be roughly one gigabyte or so of data if you’re listening for over eight hours.

The 100 Mbps connection is going to maintain the ability to preload audio as a song or podcast plays. You won’t notice any hiccups, since the connection is downloading 12.5 megabytes per second.

The 500 Mbps connection is going to have zero hiccups and is downloading at a rate of 62.5 megabytes per second. You’ll get faster-preloaded audio, at any rate.

Audio calls are minuscule by comparison. If you’re doing a voice call through your computer, you’re looking at about a megabyte of data every three minutes.

Streaming Video and Video Calls

Streaming video is where things really start to shape up in an interesting way between these two connections. 100 Mbps is more than enough for streaming 4K video to a single device.

If you have multiple devices on the same network, there might not be enough bandwidth to accommodate them. However, on a single TV, you’re golden. 500 Mbps will handle 4K video easily and has more than enough bandwidth to support multiple devices at once.

Video calls see a pretty significant departure between the two. Something like Microsoft Teams uses roughly 450 to 500 megabytes of data per hour. If you opt for HD, that’s well over a gigabyte per hour. As such, both can handle it, but you have significantly more bandwidth on the 500 Mbps connection.

Large Downloads

100 Mbps downloads at 12.5 megabytes per second, or so. Essentially, you could download a basic MP3 file instantly. Larger files like Blu-ray video files or games, can easily go from 25 GB to 100 GB in size.

Downloading 25 GB of data on a 100 Mbps line will take just over a half hour of time. 100 GB is going to take significantly more time, totaling well over 2 hours.

At 500 Mbps, you’ll be download 25 GB of data in just over six minutes. That same 100 GB file is going to take just under half an hour.

500 Mbps vs. 300 Mbps

500 Mbps
300 Mbps is a fair choice for gamers, as it gives ample bandwidth and low latency.

©La Famiglia/Shutterstock.com

300 Mbps plans are great for more robust media streaming, larger downloads, and a whole slew of data-intensive activities. Generally speaking, this is a good plan for families. If you have a lot of devices on your home network, the bandwidth likely isn’t going to cut it.

General Web Browsing

As with the previous comparison, you’re not going to see many substantial differences in loading web pages. 300 Mbps connections should ideally be loading web pages nearly instantly during ideal conditions.

The same applies to 500 Mbps connections, you shouldn’t be waiting for things like images to flit into existence while a web page loads.


300 Mbps is great for gaming, especially if you’re on a hard-wired connection. You can triple the bandwidth of a 100 Mbps connection, which means your latency should be significantly lower.

The 500 Mbps connection is still going to fare better for gaming. When you think about it, the bandwidth is almost doubled when compared to a 300 Mbps line. As such, it makes for a better fit for the likes of gaming.

Streaming Audio and Audio Calls

The same general talking points are applicable when looking at streaming audio. You’ll have zero issues with a 300 Mbps connection when streaming songs on Spotify. It’ll operate at a much better capacity than a 100 Mbps line.

Yes, 500 Mbps is going to handle preloading audio far better. The megabytes per second between the two is still significantly in favor of the 500 Mbps line.

Audio calls aren’t super data-intensive, so either plan would be fine.

Streaming Video and Video Calls

Both of these connection speeds can handle streaming 4K video with ease. Both also have better support for multiple devices on the same home network. You’ll have significantly higher bandwidth when looking at the likes of a 500 Mbps connection, however.

The 500 Mbps connection is still the overall best when it comes to video calls as well. Microsoft Teams consumes a significant amount of data per hour, and the 500 Mbps connection is going to handle that with utter ease.

Large Downloads

Using the same comparison of 25 GB and 100 GB downloads again, the numbers are starting to get a little closer.

25 gigabytes of data is downloaded in just over 11 minutes on a 300 Mbps line. The 100 GB fares significantly better when compared to the 100 Mbps line. You’ll get that file downloaded in under 45 minutes.

The numbers haven’t changed for the 500 Mbps connection. As such, you’ll be downloading the 25 GB and 100 GB downloads in just over six minutes and over half an hour respectively.

500 Mbps vs. 1 Gbps

500 Mbps
You’ll typically see 1 Gbps connections from fiber providers as one of their upper tiers of service.


1 Gbps or 1,000 Mbps plans are starting to become more common with internet service providers across the country. While you’ll see higher levels of connectivity, especially from fiber providers, 1 Gbps is an apex of sorts for most home connections.

As such, 1 Gbps is generally the fastest speed you’ll see from most providers. This might change in the coming years as fiber infrastructure is developed. For the time being, it is more than enough for most households.

General Web Browsing

This isn’t honestly even a comparison to make. Both of these connections are going to load web pages nearly instantly. The 1 Gbps line is going to do it slightly faster.

However, when it comes down to it, you’d be hard-pressed to tell a difference given the overall bandwidth of both 500 Mbps and 1 Gbps connections.


The 1,000 Mbps connection is going to excel significantly at gaming. You’ve got double the available bandwidth and double the download and upload rates. As such, your latency and load times should be insignificant.

The 500 Mbps still holds just fine with gaming, but can’t compete readily with a 1 Gbps line.

Streaming Audio and Audio Calls

Streaming audio is much the same story, the 1 Gbps line is going to handle things far better than a 500 Mbps line. Yes, you’ll be able to instantly stream and download podcasts or songs as needed. You won’t be left wanting with either connection.

Audio calls aren’t even a blip on the radar for both connections, you should be fine with either choice.

Streaming Video and Video Calls

You can support dozens of devices on the same network streaming 4K video with a 1,000 Mbps connection. You can support multiple devices with a 500 Mbps connection as well. The available bandwidth is a significant difference between the two, however.

Video calls are the same story, with the 1 Gbps line handling HD streaming on Microsoft Teams with ease. You won’t notice any faltering with the 500 Mbps connection, but it still trails behind the 1 Gbps line.

Large Downloads

Another significant departure, as the 500 Mbps line has won most of these comparisons. The same theoretical 25 GB download will take just over three minutes on a 1 Gbps line.

100 GB downloads will take roughly 13 minutes or so, which is a significant change. The same files on 500 Mbps will still take just over six minutes and a little over half an hour respectively.

Why Speed Matters for Your Internet Connection

So, why should you choose a faster internet connection? Simply put, the quality of your online life is going to be dictated by the download speed, upload speed, and available bandwidth of your connection. Very few households are running one or two devices, especially with the proliferation of smartphones.

As such, you’ll likely have multiple internet-ready devices. If you have the bandwidth and speed for all of the devices, it is far less likely you’ll experience any sort of network congestion while going about your day.

Closing Thoughts

500 Mbps is plenty fast for most purposes and should do just fine for medium-sized households. As with any network connection, there will be plenty of other factors that determine how your network functions. At any rate, 500 Mbps is sufficient for work and play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 500 Mbps fast?

Yes, it is plenty fast for most purposes. You’ll be able to handle all tasks from work to play with minimal network strain. You might feel a pinch of congestion if you’ve got more than a few dozen devices all connected at the same time.

Does my router impact my network speed?

It absolutely can. When installing a router on your network, make sure to read over a guide to see the best practices for your situation.

Can my network interface card on my laptop affect my download speeds?

It can, networks are fairly complex constructs. Usually, the weakest point of the network is going to be how your device directly communicates with it.

Is there a reason users opt for slower connection plans?

Absolutely, every household’s needs are different. Some users might not stream a lot of media for example. That makes having a faster network connection unnecessary.

Is there a reason I should choose 500 Mbps over 1 Gbps?

Absolutely, and it likely could boil down to cost. 1 Gbps connections are fairly expensive still, depending on your internet service provider. 500 Mbps gets you plenty of speed while still remaining somewhat affordable.

To top