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3 Mbps is not fast for gaming and streaming, but it has its uses

Last Updated on March 18, 2024
is 3 mbps fast
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If you are looking at some of the affordable internet plans, you might be wondering – is 3 Mbps fast? Well, to help you make an informed decision, we have created a guide for that.

Now, right off the bat, by today’s standards, 3 Mbps is not considered very fast. In fact, it barely meets the minimum requirements for high-resolution streaming and online gaming. Considering that the global average internet speed is 50 Mbps (as per a Statista report), a 3 Mbps speed is far from that. However, not everyone needs ultra-fast internet speeds. So, if your daily online activities include social media scrolling, web browsing, and emailing, then a 3 Mbps plan might actually suffice.

To put it simply, a 3 Mbps internet speed may not deliver stunning performance, but it should keep you active and connected with work, family, and basic entertainment without putting a dent in your budget.

So, let’s see what a 3 Mbps internet connection is capable of and what you can expect from it.

Quick Answer

A 3 Mbps speed just meets the minimum threshold for gaming and streaming. However, with this speed, streaming high-resolution content and online gaming might actually be a struggle.

On the flipside, if your daily internet usage is limited to web browsing, scrolling social media, playing casual mobile games, and emailing, then a 3 Mbps internet might work for you – and it’d be better if only one or two devices using it.

Is 3 Mbps download speed good?

As mentioned earlier, 3 Mbps is not exactly fast – so the download speeds are not the strongest selling point here. To give you a better idea, here’s an estimate of how much time it would take to download different file sizes –

File typeThe time it will take to download
25 MB email attachment 1 minute 6 seconds
500 MB music album 22 minutes 13 seconds
1.5 GB 1080p video1 hour 6 minutes
3 GB HD movie2 hours 13 minutes
40 GB game 29 hours 37 minutes
For these estimates, we have used the Omni Download Time Calculator.

As you can guess from these numbers, a 3 Mbps internet speed is decent for downloading songs or sending small email attachments. However, for larger downloads like movies or AAA video games, you would be better off with 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or a higher speed.

Is 3 Mbps good for gaming?

As most ISPs suggest, the minimum requirement for online gaming is 3 to 6 Mbps. So, theoretically, you should be able to play games. However, you will have to disconnect other devices and set the graphics to low settings to get the best possible experience. You are likely to encounter issues like disconnects, lag, and high latency or ping issues. On the flip side, 3 Mbps should be enough for some casual mobile gaming, such as Candy Crush and Subway Surfers – so if that is your cup of tea, then you’ll have a good time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that modern-day titles are very heavy in size, ranging anywhere from 50GB to 200GB+, and to put things into perspective, to download a 50GB update, it’ll take 29 hours with a 3 Mbps internet connection.

So, if you’re after a smooth online gaming experience, then you’d be better off with higher speeds, like 40 Mbps or 50 Mbps.

Is 3 Mbps good for video streaming?

Now, if we go by what Netflix recommends, then a 3 Mbps speed is good for streaming HD (720p) content. So, if you’re okay with the picture quality, then a 3 Mbps connection should be good to go. However, if multiple devices are connected to the internet, then you might experience buffering.

As far as YouTube videos are concerned, you should be able to watch them with a 3 Mbps connection, albeit at a low resolution, as increasing the resolution will result in slow buffering and a lot of waiting.

For streaming music, you need a minimum of 384 Kbps to 2 Mbps internet connection. So, a 3 Mbps internet connection should be more than enough for streaming music on Spotify or Apple Music, as audio files are generally small and don’t require a lot of bandwidth.

Is 3 Mbps good for working from home?

It might be possible to do some basic work-related activities with a 3 Mbps connection, such as sending emails and invoices, sharing small documents, and having audio calls. However, one thing to note is that if you plan to have HD conference calls and send large files over different platforms, then 3 Mbps might not cut it as it doesn’t offer a lot of download or upload speed, and connecting multiple devices might even bring it to a dead stop.

Is 3 Mbps good for multi-device usage?

The ideal case with a 3 Mbps internet connection is to use it on a single device as it doesn’t have enough bandwidth to share between multiple devices. You can, of course, connect multiple devices on the same connection but doing anything “bandwidth-heavy” like gaming on streaming will not be smooth.

Streaming videos, playing games, making video calls, and more will cause severe lag and disconnection issues if they share a single 3 Mbps connection between them. However, streaming music on multiple devices might be possible as it isn’t a bandwidth-intensive activity.


Overall, 3 Mbps is not a fast internet speed; it can result in a bad internet experience even in small households. As we discussed, if your daily activities include web browsing, sending emails without heavy attachments, streaming music, and playing games like Candy Crush, then 3 Mbps might just be enough. But if you want to game online, download big files, and stream high-res content, then we recommend going for higher speeds.

Most internet service providers don’t offer plans with download speeds that are this slow unless they are in more rural areas. Therefore, we recommend going for a higher fiber internet plan, like a 10 or 20 Mbps plan, as a minimum internet speed. 

Bradley is a long time tech enthusiast and gamer, first picking up a controller at the age of 3. Nowadays, he enjoys finding the best deals and helping out fellow enthusiasts. When he's not at the co