How much data do you need?

Unlimited data is still not the default for most rural internet providers. When you’re on a rural internet plan with a data cap, you want to know in advance how much internet you’re going to use so you can pick the right plan and budget your data accordingly.


This short blog has gathered data requirements for popular activities like video calls on Microsoft Teams, streaming movies on your TV via Netflix, and the kids playing their favourite games in one convenient page.


If you want to make an informed decision about what data plan bests suits you to avoid extra usage charges or prevent the internet from slowing down because you hit your maximum data usage, please read on.


Hot tip: Lightwire offers free off-peak data between midnight to 8 AM. Be smart and pre-download your favourite Netflix shows, so you aren’t left without data at the end of the month. to Hot tip: Lightwire offers free off-peak data between midnight to 8 AM on our 150GB and 300GB plans. Be smart and pre-download your favourite Netflix shows during these hours, so you don’t incur excess data charges.


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Lightwire Disclaimer: Lightwire never artificially lowers your internet speed. Lightwire plans that are not the unlimited plan occur $0.50 per GB additional usage. You’ll be informed once you hit 80% of your data plan. Lightwire plans are flexible, meaning you can upgrade and downgrade your plan at any given time.

How much internet do I need for Zoom meetings?

You use between 540 MB and 1.62 GB per hour depending on video stream quality for a 1:1 Zoom meeting. The data usage jumps when more people join the video meeting. Group Zoom meetings take between 810 MB and 2.4 GB per hour.


Zoom requires that you have an internet speed greater than 3.8Mbps upload speed and 3.0Mbps download speed. The quality of the video stream becomes degraded when the jitter surpasses 40 ms and the latency surpasses 150 ms.


Speed requirements shouldn’t be an issue for (most) rural connections. Jitter and latency however are more complicated as there are more variables included. Fixed wireless connections tend to perform better than satellite connections in terms of jitter and latency as there’s less distance between a fixed wireless tower and the house with the connection than there is between the house and satellite.

How much internet do I need for Microsoft Teams video calls?

On standard quality Microsoft Teams video calls use around 225MB of data per hour. Teams will consume roughly 450 MB per hour for HD group video calls and can consume up to 2.7 GB when all settings are on maximum.


Microsoft Teams uses about 1.2 Mbps for HD video calling (720p), 1.5 Mbps for 1080p, 500 kbps for standard quality video (360p). Group video requires about 1Mbps, HD group video uses about 2 Mbps. Audio calling and screen sharing uses up to 130 kbps.


The video call quality might degrade when the latency surpasses 100 ms. This is where you’ll notice small delays and spikes. For this reason, you’ll want to pick either a fibre connection or an internet service provider that’s physically close to you.

How much internet do I need for general web browsing?

Casually browsing the internet like checking your email, searching for things on Google, online shopping, and checking the news or weather only uses around 60 MB per hour, however data used will shoot up if you visit sites that contain a lot of images and videos.

How much internet do I need for YouTube?

Depending on the quality you watch YouTube can set you back between 360 MB for standard video quality (480p) and 900 MB for high quality (1080p) per hour.


If you’re looking to stay in control of your usage, we recommend updating your YouTube settings to default stream in 480p.

How much internet do I need for Netflix?

Netflix consumes between 250 MB and 1 GB per hour depending on the quality you stream. Streaming Netflix on the lowest quality only uses around 300 MB per hour. Medium quality costs around 450 MB per hour. And high quality on Netflix costs around 1 GB per hour.


Hot tip: Lightwire offers free off-peak data between midnight to 8 AM. Be smart and pre-download your favourite Netflix shows, so you aren’t left without data at the end of the month.

How much internet do I need for Spotify?

Streaming highest of quality music on Spotify costs around 150 MB per hour, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you’re like us you and listen to music for hours on end this will add up!


Spotify has some useful tips that allow you to save data. Check out Spotify’s Data Saver options.

How much internet do I need for Social Media?

It depends on what social media platform you use. Less videos and images mean less data used. Scrolling through Facebook uses between 120 MB and 160 MB per hour, depending on how many videos you watch.


Afraid you’ll use too much data on Facebook? Facebook has a setting that allows you to limit your Facebook data usage, so you can manage your data usage better. Read how you can control your Facebook data usage.


The biggest data user in the social media world is the video social media streaming platform Tik Tok right now that can eat through about 850 MB per hour.

How much internet do I need for gaming?

This depends heavily on the game you’re playing, it can be as little as 3 MB per hour for the turn based card game “Hearthstone” and up to 300 MB per hour for the online shooter “Destiny 2”.


However, the real data usage comes from downloading the game. The latest blockbuster games will set you back more than 50 GB. If you’re with Lightwire, we recommend you to schedule downloading large files during the unlimited off-peak data between midnight and 8 AM that comes standard with all data plans.


Here’s a list of data usage per game;


Data Usage Per Hour (MB)

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)




Apex Legends


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive




Team Fortress 2




Rainbow Six Siege


Call of Duty Black Ops 4


Call of Duty WWII


Call of Duty Modern Warfare


Battlefield V


World of Warcraft


Black Desert Online




Guild Wars 2


The Elder Scrolls Online


Final Fantasy XIV


Star Wars: The Old Republic


Dota 2


League of Legends


Heroes of the Storm




Monster Hunter: World


Destiny 2








Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout


GTA V Online


Rocket League




Games are best enjoyed on a low latency connection where fibre connections shine. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a fibre connection. When you live rurally, a fixed wireless connection is typically going to be your best bet as the distance your internet has to travel to a fixed wireless tower is going to be less than a satellite in the sky.

Worried about your rural internet data usage?

With Lightwire you can check your data usage at any given time via your portal and change your data plan as often as you like. Plan upgrades take immediate effect, meaning you will avoid any further additional data charges from your previous plan. Downgrades will take effect from the first day of the following month.


Check if you’re in coverage for fast rural broadband from Lightwire.

Got questions? Our friendly rural broadband experts can answer any of your rural connectivity questions. On average you’ll get a wireless internet specialist on the phone in less than 2 minutes. Give us a call on 0800 12 13 14 or shoot us an email

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