How Good Is High Speed Internet at 2Mbps?
By Dan Stone
A 2Mbps high-speed Internet connection isn't good for much outside of Web browsing, basic email use and music streaming. Even though it's technically a high-speed connection, a 2Mbps connection will struggle with large downloads and require buffer times with standard-definition video. While 2Mbps is among one of the smallest broadband tiers offered, it is still more than 36 times faster than the fastest dial-up connection. The 2Mbps tier is often pushed as an economy solution and in rural areas where higher-speed connections aren't available.
Web Browsing and Email
Lower-end broadband connections with speeds between 1Mbps and 4Mbps are suitable for basic Internet use with Web browsing and typical email usage. Websites won't load lightning fast, but your typical website pages will load in a few seconds. A 2Mbps connection will handle small, Web-optimized images and text adequately. It also is a sufficient speed for general emailing. Small files like a Word document or a single picture won't take long to send, but batches of pictures and videos will. With a little patience, Web browsing and email work fine. A website that takes two seconds to load on a 10Mbps connection will take about eight seconds to load on a 2Mbps connection. Image- and video-heavy sites will require substantial load times.
Streaming Audio and Video
A 2Mbps connection is sufficient for streaming audio but will struggle with standard definition video content. Internet radio and music streaming services have enough bandwidth to work at the lower broadband speed. High-definition video content will not work on a 2Mbps connection without buffer times taking several times the duration of the video itself. According to Speedtest.net, a 2Mbps connection is fast enough to handle a single high-quality video call. However, the connection will struggle with group video chats.
File transfers will run slow on a 2Mbps connection. This speed tier is not recommended if you upload a lot of content to the Web. Uploading lots of videos and pictures over lower-speed broadband can take hours compared to a few minutes on a higher-speed connection. This Internet speed is also not optimal for heavy FTP or peer-to-peer use.
Gaming on a 2Mbps connection is contingent on the game itself. Games typically do not use a lot of bandwidth to work, but instead require a low ping. SpeedTest.com recommends having a ping of less than 100 miliseconds. Ping is the time it takes your computer to send a message and receive a return message from another computer. The 2Mbps speed is sufficient for playing in games that are stored locally on your computer; however, games that are loaded live from the Internet will have poor load times. Patches and updates may take awhile on a 2Mbps connection as well. For example: a 500MB patch that takes six minutes to download on a 10Mbps connection will take more than half an hour on a 2Mbps connection.
Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.