A lot of smarthome devices require an internet connection for advanced functionalities to work correctly, but does that internet connection need to be super fast? Here’s what you need to know.

A Quick Primer on Internet Speed

We measure internet speed in megabits per second (Mbps), so when you’re shopping around for an internet provider or performing a speed test of your internet connection, it’s all measured in Mbps—the higher that number, the faster the internet speed is.

“Fast” internet speeds mean different things to different people. When it comes down to it, though, certain activities require a certain amount of bandwidth (a.k.a. how much data you can send and receive over a certain amount of time), regardless of what’s considered “fast” for you. The higher the internet speed, the more bandwidth you have at your disposal.

For example, sending or receiving an email doesn’t require as much bandwidth as streaming a movie from Netflix. That also holds true for various smarthome functions.

So Which Smarthome Devices Require Fast Internet Speeds?

If your internet connection isn’t particularly high-speed, you’re not out of luck when it comes to having your smarthome devices perform without hiccups. In other words, it takes very little bandwidth to send commands to things like smart lights or smart locks, because it’s just a tiny chunk of data sent across the network or through the cloud.

However, certain devices absolutely require a good chunk of bandwidth and a fast enough internet speed for them to perform adequately. It involves anything with a camera.

Wi-Fi cameras and video doorbells are quickly becoming the most popular smarthome devices on the market since they’re perhaps some of the most useful devices to have in a home. It’s a double-edged sword, though, since these camera-equipped gadgets require a good amount of bandwidth to the point where not just any internet connection will do the trick.

RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your Nest Cam

For example, the Nest Cam IQ can reach an upload bandwidth of 4 Mbps. If your internet’s speed is much higher than that, you probably don’t need to worry. However, if you have slower DSL with speeds of, say, 7 Mbps, the Nest Cam IQ could take up most of that without a problem, creating slowdowns in other parts of your network.

The good news is that Wi-Fi cams and other smart cameras can record at a lower quality if you have a slower connection. The regular Nest Cam, for instance, can record at a resolution as low as 360p, which is a pretty terrible resolution, but will only suck up a mere 0.15 Mbps of your internet’s bandwidth.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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