Home > WiFi

20 Mbps is just enough for streaming and gaming, but there are limitations

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on March 19, 2024
how fast is 20 mbps
You can trust PC Guide: Our team of experts use a combination of independent consumer research, in-depth testing where appropriate - which will be flagged as such, and market analysis when recommending products, software and services. Find out how we test here.

If you are looking at some pocket-friendly internet packages and wondering if 20 Mbps is fast enough, then you should check out our guide right here.

Now, 20 Mbps is not really considered the fastest internet speed available out there. Considering that the global average speed is 50 Mbps (according to Statista), a 20 Mbps speed is slightly less than half. However, you should be able to get a good enough performance to handle modern-day gaming, streaming, WFH tasks, and downloading and uploading files, applications, and software.

With that being said, whether a 20 Mbps speed is sufficient for you or not depends largely on your usage. In this guide, we have explained how fast 20 Mbps is and what you can expect from it.

Quick Answer

To answer your question quickly – no, 20 Mbps isn’t the fastest speed out there. But it is a moderate speed that can handle streaming, gaming, and downloads up to a limit. However, moderation is recommended as it isn’t the fastest plan available; hence, it might reach its peak fairly quickly as compared to higher-speed internet plans such as 300 Mbps. For instance, if you connect too many devices, then the speed will falter. Plus, downloading large files like a 100GB game, might take a long time.

How fast is 20 Mbps for downloads?

Download and upload speeds are prone to being affected by external factors such as radiowaves emitted by other electronics if you’re using Wi-Fi. However, we’ve put together two tables that should give you a rough estimate of how long some of the most common downloads and uploads can take.

File typeThe time it will take to download at 20 Mbps
25 MB 110 seconds
500 MB3 minutes 20 seconds
1.5 GB 10 minutes
3 GB 22 minutes
40 GB 4 hours 26 minutes
For these estimates, we have used the Omni Download Time Calculator.

Is 20 Mbps good for gaming?

A lot of Internet Service Providers suggest that you need at least 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps of speed for a decent gaming experience. So, a 20 Mbps speed should be sufficient for online gaming. But if you connect multiple devices, then your gaming experience will suffer – you might see some lagging, especially in competitive gaming. However, turning off some game settings and lowering your resolution might make it easier for your internet to handle the data transfer as the data packets will contain less information to process.

Meanwhile, story-based games are more reliant on their equipment and, to some extent, on the internet, but for the most part, you simply need to connect to the game server, and you’re good to go.

As far as game downloads are concerned, a 20 Mbps speed might not be the fastest option and you will have to wait quite a bit. For instance, a 40GB game file will take about 5 hours to download. So if you are planning to download large files or games frequently, then you’re better off with 100 Mbps speed or more.

Is 20 Mbps good for streaming?

Now, Netflix recommends having at least 15 Mbps of speed to stream 4K content. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video suggests having at least a 5 Mbps connection for streaming HD videos. So, with a 20 Mbps connection, you should be able to stream series and movies without any issues.

However, one thing to note is that the more devices you connect, the more its performance will decrease – especially if you’re streaming 4K content. So if you want to stream on multiple devices, then you can do so with YouTube and other apps that let you set resolution to 480p or lower.

Is 20 Mbps fast enough to work from home?

More and more people are opting to work from home; however, to remain productive and efficient from the comfort of your house – you need an internet plan that can handle your office or business workloads.

A 20 Mbps internet plan should be more than enough to handle basic and more grueling office tasks, including sending emails, holding Zoom conference calls, downloading and uploading different-sized files to and from the company CMS, and more.

This internet speed should keep you up and running without a hitch, and you should also be able to connect multiple devices. However, remember that bandwidth is limited; more connected devices mean each device gets less download and upload speed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 20 Mbps sufficient for a household with multiple devices?

A 20Mbps connection can support multiple devices for regular web browsing, email, and light streaming. However, a higher-speed connection may be more suitable if several devices simultaneously engage in bandwidth-intensive activities.


So, is 20 Mbps good? Well, that depends on your internet usage, number of devices connected, and preferences.

A 20 Mbps internet connection should be more than enough to handle competitive online gaming without lag, stream HD content on multiple devices, and overall provide a good browsing experience. It offers enough bandwidth to cater to WFH tasks without sacrificing one aspect for another. On top of that, as compared to high-speed options, it should also be relatively easy to afford, so if you’re living alone or sharing an apartment with a friend – this internet plan should be enough to cater to your requirements.

Sean is a tech enthusiast who contributes predominantly to networking content on PC Guide - using his knowledge and love of routers and modems to give expert advice to beginners and enthusiasts alike.