Times, when bitcoin was some strange term used by computer geeks and gamers, are long gone. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, you definitely heard about bitcoins and bitcoin mining (even if you are not sure what that is exactly). Recently Bitcoin has made quite a fuss in the financial world, turning those computer nerds into millionaires. As a result, there are many places that accept bitcoin as a real currency now. It is no wonder that there is so much interest around it and the number of those willing to try themselves in mining is on the rise.
The first (and most frequently asked) question that comes to mind when you think about starting mining bitcoins is related to the Internet speed. How fast does it have to be for you to be able to be in the game?
So, you go to Speedcheck.org and perform a speed test to find out what your numbers are. Let’s say that you are one of the unfortunate ones who have a really slow Internet connection. Does it mean that you should find a new Internet provider or give up the idea of bitcoin mining for good, if you can’t?
Well, not really.
Solo mining vs. Pool mining
First of all, let’s see the difference between two ways to mine bitcoins – you can either do it by yourself or join a mining pool. When mining solo, you do all the work yourself with hopes to find a block and get income. That is actually how it was done at the beginning. When you are mining solo, there is zero bandwidth used. The only exception is what your Bitcoin client is using.
The alternative to solo mining is a bitcoin mining pool, which is a group of miners who work together to solve a block and share the rewards. The supply of blocks is limited and the competition is enormous. With time, more and more solo miners discovered that they spent months without finding a single block and making any income. So, to address the problem, they decided to create pools where each miner could contribute to generating a block and then receive the reward, which was split according to the contribution. Nowadays, mining pools are a more popular and preferred method than solo mining. Most individuals who are just starting out decide to join the pools because of their convenience.
So if you are mining using a pool, the Internet is required to connect you with the pools and then synchronize your data with the blockchain and nodes. That is why you will see a relatively constant amount of activity when using this method. However, it should not add up to much. Even the slow Internet speed will suffice in this case.
According to one report, a 10mbps connection can handle 1000 miners without issue.
When it comes to mining, the bandwidth is usually not a concern. What really matters is the quality of connection. Poor Internet connection may sometimes result in invalid shares and affect your profits, since your rig will not be able to send your mined shares to the blockchain or to the pool on time. For this reason, using wifi is not always the best decision. Instead, most miners prefer wired Internet for a more stable solution.
If you decided to join the community of bitcoin miners, your Internet speed is not really important. To be able to mine you need to have a stable connection and some powerful hardware. There is also an option to use cloud mining or cloud hashing, which allows you to earn bitcoins without managing hardware, software, bandwidth, or electricity. However, you should be careful about it and check out the possible risks before using such services.