Unscrambled: When Choosing Broadband, Focus on Your Needs Not Speeds

In our new series of reports about our parent company Time Warner Cable, we'll suggest ways for TWC customers to take advantage of your cable service with information on features and apps you may not know about plus tips that will help you make the most of cable technology. In today’s report, Jill Urban looks at Internet speeds and what kind of service you may need.

When it comes to broadband speed, most people assume faster is better. But that’s not always the case. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right Internet package and you may find you don’t need all that speed.

"People feel like faster is better. They want to have more input coming into your house, but it can get expensive, you often don’t need it and if you have bandwidth problems in your house because of distance or walls or the device you are using, you will not even be able to take advantage of it," says CNET Section Editor Dan Ackerman.

So instead of looking for the fastest package, you should be looking for the most compatible one. First, think about your set up at home or your infrastructure.

"Think about what devices you have. What are you going to put on your WiFi network - whether it’s a laptop, a tablet, multiple ones like game consoles and also what sort of router you have. Will you get one from the cable company? Will you bring your own? What antenna is it going to have in it? They are called 802.11 AC or G or N. All these little letters after it indicate basically how fast it is and what devices it’s most compatible with," explains Ackerman.

Time Warner Cable should be able to help you make the right decision once you tell them what equipment you have. But it’s as important to factor in your lifestyle when determining what speed you need. If you are just checking email and browsing the Internet, you don’t need top tier service. It’s like why get a Ferrari engine for a 10 mile per hour zone? It’s all about what you plan to do on that open road.

"We have packages that start as low as 3mb per second and they go as high as 300 megabytes per second. So to go on to Facebook or to go on to Twitter and read stuff requires the least amount of speed and bandwidth. When you start getting into things like streaming Netflix and uploading and downloading pictures and videos and gaming with your X-Box, that’s when you start to need the higher speed," explains Time Warner Cable SVP of Broadband Services Mike Roudi.

And keep in mind the need for faster speed is growing. More people are streaming videoes than ever. If you see yourself doing that, a higher speed tier may cut the frustration.

Now once you are setup, it’s a good idea to check your speed regularly to make sure you are getting what you pay for and a simple speed will do the trick.

There is one right on the Time Warner Cable website or simply search for a speed test online.

For more information on Internet speed options, you can go online to timewarnercable.com.

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