Most people use the Internet every single day. Everyone who does would likely agree that the Internet is a great tool so long as it works. We have all been in a situation where an email will not send, a page will not load, or a video pixelates and has to stop and buffer. But with the right precautions, you can keep those slow loading scenarios to a minimum.

The first step here is to understand the different categories of ethernet cables. The second is to remember that there is one, single cable connecting your modem or router to a wall outlet. All the data on your network, whether it is on a hardline or wireless, is passing through that one cable. If you have just one or two devices connected, like a desktop computer plus a cell phone, using a regular Cat5e cable should be fine. But when three, four, or more people all start using the Internet at the same time, issues can start to pop up for everyone.

Each type of ethernet cable has a maximum data speed. When more than one device is used, that speed is split between them. Two or more devices are going to put more strain on your equipment than just one. As more and more Internet connections are used simultaneously, it gets harder for a lower-quality cable to keep up. Upgrading to a newer, faster cable can fix this problem so long as you have a decent data plan with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The other key factor is what each user is doing. There are many activities the Internet can be used for and each one can have different data consumption rates. The more data an activity uses, the higher the odds of problems occurring when a network starts to get bogged down. Knowing the data usage rates of common activities can help when planning which type of ethernet cable to use for an upgrade.

Web Browsing

A lot of different online activities can be grouped together in this category. These are all of your general day-to-day activities like shopping online or reading the news. The exact data size of a web page varies from site to site but generally falls around 2.5MB. Depending on how heavily you are using those websites, data usage can go up or down. Spending a half hour reading one Wikipedia page is going to use a lot less data than browsing through multiple items on Amazon.

For most users, data usage here is going to be pretty abysmal. Any Internet plan on the market should be more than enough to handle this. Web browsing is the most basic and least intensive Internet activity.


Like web browsing, email uses a very small amount of data. Typed text is one of the simplest forms of data a computer can transmit. An email can use a bit more data when sending an attachment like a picture or video, but even then it is still fairly negligible. Most email services have a size limit on files attached to an email, so even “large” emails do not use much data.

Music Streaming

Music streaming is a popular service offered by many different companies across the market. The data usage rates change a bit from service to service, but most of them have pretty similar numbers.

Spotify streams music at two different speeds depending on if you are a free or paying user. Free users get music at 160kbps. This comes out to about 72MB per hour. Paying users receive double that speed at 320kbps (144MB per hour).

Apple Music has one speed: 256kbps (115MB per hour).

Google Play Music tries to play at 320kbps (the same as Spotify Premium) by default but will automatically adjust the signal based on the strength of your Internet connection.

Video Streaming

This is the big one, where most people’s data usage goes today. There are many video streaming services out there and no two of them have the same data usage rate. A few of the most popular streaming services are listed below, but keep in mind that this applies to other websites like auto-playing videos on Facebook as well. The rule of thumb here is the higher the video quality is, the more data it needs.

YouTube is one of the most popular streaming services on the web. By default, YouTube sets videos to 480p (Standard Definition). There is also an “Auto” setting that will adjust the quality based on screen size and hardware settings. If you are trying to lower your data consumption, you can always change the settings in the YouTube player to a lower video quality.

Netflix, like YouTube, has a few different video qualities to pick from. By default, Netflix is also set to “Auto” mode. For Netflix, this means that you will be streaming with the highest available video quality. Like with YouTube, lowering the streaming quality can cut down on data consumption during those TV show binges.

Skype also has a number of different options for its streaming services, each with a minimum and recommended amount of data usage. Like YouTube, Skype will try to auto-adjust image quality based on your available bandwidth. Also like YouTube, these settings can be adjusted manually to lower data consumption.

Video Games

Data usage rates for video games can be divided into two categories: playing games and downloading games. Playing an online game with other people over the Internet does not use much data. It varies from game to game, but on average it is about 50MB per hour.

Downloading new games is where heavy data usage can come into play. A retro or indie game might be less than 100MB for the whole game. On the flipside, a brand-new game from a AAA-list company could be well over 60GB. It really depends on the game but a download should always tell you its size before you start actually downloading. Getting a game on a disc can reduce the amount of data compared to a direct digital downloaded a little, but data is mostly downloaded and stored on internal hard drives these days.

Overall Internet Usage

According to a census by OpenVault, a data consumption and analytics company, the average US household used 268.7GB of data in 2018. This is up from only 201.6GB in 2017, a 33.3% increase in just one year. But what does that mean for you?

As technology continues to grow and streaming services improve, data usage rates will go up at a dramatic rate. It may be possible to get by with Cat5e cables now, but even today they are being pushed to the limit. Especially in larger households with many people on the Internet at the same time. Upgrading to Cat6 or even Cat7 cables is a small investment that can save users from hours of waiting for their videos to buffer or having to stream low-quality, pixelated images.

ShowMeCables offers every category of Ethernet available today. Each cable is tested to federally regulated standards to ensure quality and backed up by warranty. Have questions? You can reach our Sales team at 888-519-9505 or