Why are upload and download speeds different? Good Download and Upload

Jul 04, 2022 - Views: 744 - this post if you find it interesting!

Why are upload and download speeds different? Maybe many people asked this question themselves when registering for any internet plan. Today, we will break down the terms and suggest what is a good download speed, upload speed. 

Why do upload and download speeds differ?

Why do upload and download speeds differ?

Download vs Upload

To measure Internet speed, both paid and free internet speed tests calculate 3 main specs: ping, download, and upload speeds. Good internet speed is the best, it can make or break your online experience. Every time you do things online from watching Netflix to playing video games, whether you like it or not, you only want as good as internet speed. 

So, if you're experiencing buffering or lag, it's time we discuss the difference between download and uploads. Knowing the distinction might help you get the right home internet service.

What is Download speed?

Download speed refers to how many megabits of digital data per second that your network allows retrieving from the Internet. Digital data can be in various forms such as text, photos, files and audio. 

What is my download speed?

What is my download speed?

What is Upload speed?

Upload speed refers to how many megabits of digital data per second is delivered from your device to other servers via the Internet. These digital data also include text, files, photos, or audio. 

What is Mbps upload speed? 

What is Mbps upload speed?

Both download and upload rates are measured in megabits per second or Mbps, Mb/s. This measures internet bandwidth or how much data is delivered per second. Besides, you are able to see other measurements: kbps (kilobits per second), Gbps (gigabits per second).

A megabit equals 1,024 kilobits. This indicates that 1.0 Mbps is 1,000 times quicker than 1.0 kilobits per second (Kbps). Also, 1 Mbps is equal to 1 million times of 1 Gbps. In general, you will see Mbps regularly because it is the most suitable unit for the data transfer rate.

Why do upload and download speeds differ?

Firstly, you should take a look at common online activities as well as their classification to have an overview.

Common downloading activities

Common uploading activities

  • downloading files

  • watching streaming videos

  • playing online gaming

  • downloading large files 

  • downloading information from a website

  • Watching Netflix movies

  • Online shopping

  • Visit a website

  • …...

  • conducting video conferencing, video calls

  • uploading files

  • posting a photo to social media

  • broadcast Livestream

  • using cloud-service

  • upload information to a website

  • …..

From the table above, you can see the difference between the 2 specs clearly. As upload and download speed explained, due to the opposite direction, download differs from upload. Most users spend far more time downloading (including browsing web pages or multimedia files) than uploading. 

Even with the same activity, downloading is often more consumed than uploading. If you visit Amazon to buy a hat, your browser is continually downloading photos and text as you explore, as well as adverts that appear alongside your search results. 

In contrast, the only information that has to be uploaded is the information from the links and buttons you click and the search words you look up. As a result, upload speeds are typically not required to be as fast as download rates.

Shopping online on Amazon require more download bandwidth

Shopping online on Amazon require more download bandwidth

Therefore, you often see that uploading speeds are slightly slower than download speeds. 

This is normal, mostly high-speed internet connections like satellite internet, cable internet, or DSL are designed to provide asymmetric rates, better speed for downloading. As a result, if your upload speed appears to be slower than your download speed, this is understandable.

Upload speeds for the home network are sometimes one-tenth of your download speed.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, this proportion changes. For better or worse, lots of people all over the world must learn and work from home. All office setups and equipment are great but internet connections keep us safely learning, work and connecting with others.

Although download speeds remain the most significant aspect of our internet connection, upload speeds are becoming increasingly vital as we continue to adjust to what may be the new normal.

Due to the covid-19, upload speed becomes more vital

Due to the covid-19, upload speed becomes more vital

Difference between Livestream and stream video

Another example of the difference between download and upload speeds is Livestream and stream. Both are the most common online media with lots of users daily. However, many internet users are still confused with them. Let’s find the difference.

  • Livestream:  This type allows you to broadcast a video over the Internet in real-time. The video will not be recorded and stored first. Some famous live streaming platforms are Youtube, Twitch, Facebook live, Diecast. As consequence, in this type, streamers consume a large amount of upload bandwidth to send their content to the Internet. Good upload speed is necessary. 

Difference between Livestream and stream video

Difference between Livestream and stream video

  • Stream video: Streaming refers to any media material – live or recorded – sent through the internet to computers and mobile devices and played back in real-time. Streaming material includes podcasts, webcasts, movies, TV series, and music videos. Watching stream video, Netflix movies are popular to us. With this online activity, you will need a good download speed.

What are good download and upload speeds? 

Download speed

  • High connection speed: 25 Mbps download speed is called a good rate. Generally, an internet provider offers an advertised speed of up to 1000 Mbps. Typically, conduct a speed test in residential areas, the results are around 150 Mbps. Speeds from 3 to 25 Mbps are still considered fast download speeds. 

  • Slow internet speeds: anything below 3 Mbps download speed.

  • Dial-up: Dial-Up refers to any connection that is less than 1 Mbps. It's nearly non-existent and incapable of supporting streaming, most internet searches, or any type of online gaming.

25 Mbps download speed is fast internet speed

25 Mbps download speed is fast internet speed

What is an acceptable download speed? It should be at least 3 Mbps, however, the higher the rate is, the better your network connection is. 

Upload speed

  • Fast upload speeds: Anything beyond 5 Mbps is considered "high speed" Internet. Most ISPs (internet service provider) do not promote their maximum speed since it is not as important as download speeds. Upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps are possible with some symmetrical carriers, however, this is exceptional. Anything between 3 and 5 Mbps is considered a typical good upload speed and will not have an impact on your daily life.

  • Slow speeds — anything less than 1 Mbps. It is fairly unusual for internet upload speeds in densely populated places to fall into the Kbps range.

25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload are a good rate

25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload are a good rate

What is a good download speed for multiple devices? 

According to the FCC, the best internet service providers (ISPs) for two or more connected devices and moderate to heavy internet use should provide at least 12 Mbps of download speed. 25 Mbps is ideal for groups of four or more devices.

A decent internet speed of 12 to 25 Mbps is ideal for two or more people who routinely stream high-definition or 4K video, do video conferencing, play online games, or work from home. 

Households with four or more persons and four or more connected devices will almost probably require internet rates of 25 Mbps or higher. However, most experts advocate even faster connections – at least 100 Mbps – for homes that use the internet often.

A decent internet speed of 12 to 25 Mbps is ideal for multiple users to stream 4K 

A decent internet speed of 12 to 25 Mbps is ideal for multiple users to stream 4K 

However, these numbers are just advertised and estimated ones. They can change due to some factors. Also, Your upload and download speeds will nearly never equal your connection's maximum advertised speed. It is usual to receive just 80-90% of the advertised maximum speeds, and in the print of your service provider's advertising, you will notice that they only offer "up to" the advertised speed, not that you will always receive that speed.

This can happen due to several reasons. First of all, your connection may be shared with others in your building or area, so if a large number of people are using the Internet, faster upload speeds and downloads still suffer a slowdown. Limit the number of connected devices to prevent slow upload speeds and download.

Second, there may be many uploading and downloading files at the same time so maximum internet speeds are impossible. While you broadcast a stream or play a video game, others in your house can be downloading a large file. At that time, internet bandwidth is not enough for stable speed and internet issues are certain.

Finally, when you use a Wifi connection, it can be influenced by some interference such as building materials, fish tanks, water, glass, or 2.4 GHz devices. If possible, use a reliable connection like a wired connection to get stable faster speed. 

Conduct a download speed test to check whether your network is good or not. Hope through the article, you got the reasons “why is download speed faster than upload”. Get more interesting articles at MySpeed