The information superhighway is not a one-way street. Download and upload speeds play a role in our home internet usage, but mostpromote the plan while .
There’s a reason for that. Downloading dominates what we use the internet forto view this website and the download speed determines how quickly and easily we can perform these activities.
So how about the upload speed? Are they as insignificant as some providers would suggest, or do they play a bigger role in our connected lives than they are given credit for? I’ll explain the difference between download and upload speeds, why your upload speeds matter, why yours might be slow, and how to improve them.
What is the difference between download and upload speeds?
Let’s start with the basics of how your internet connection works. All Internet activity involves the transmission of data through yourif you are on a fiber optic connection. When you receive data—watch a TV stream, browse a web page, browse a social media feed, etc.—you download it from the Internet. When you send data—for example, your face and voice over a video call—you’re uploading to the Internet.
Download and upload speeds determine how quickly you can perform such tasks and how many devices can reasonably use the Internet at once.
Download speeds indicate your ability to download data and upload speeds do the same for sending data. Both speeds are commonly advertised and tested in Mbps, or megabits per second. The higher the Mb/s, the faster the connection.
What are download speeds used for?
Just everything. Streaming TV, browsing social media, connecting to Wi-Fi security cameras, and reading news online are just a few examples of downloading data over the Internet. Even when you’re streaming TV or music, you’re downloading information even though there aren’t any files stored on your hard drive, like there would be if you downloaded a song or streamed it.
What are upload speeds used for?
Any data you send or upload to the Internet. This includes typing something into the search box and pressing “Enter” or uploading files such as homework or pictures and videos to social media. Upload speed is also important when it comes to hosting live broadcasts, video conferencing, VOIP calls and online gaming.
Just as your download speed affects the quality of the picture and sound when you’re streaming a show on your TV, your upload speed affects how others see and hear you on the other end of a live broadcast, video conference or online game. Slow or unstable upload speeds are often the cause of inconvenient frozen screens and broken audio when using apps like Skype or Zoom.
What is a good upload speed?
For average home Internet use over Wi-Fi and on four to five devices, I would recommend at least 5 Mbps upload speed. This should comfortably support most tasks that require data recording, including HD quality video calls and online gaming. Of course, as with download speeds, faster speeds are likely to provide a better experience.
The FCC considers any upload speed of 3 Mbps or higher to be “broadband”. However, the FCC set this speed threshold (along with the 25 Mbps broadband download speed) back in 2015, and since then it has been under bipartisan pressure in Congress to.
Still, the FCC’s 3Mbps standard is enough on paper, if not by much, to meet most of the minimum requirements for apps like Skype and Zoom. Skype recommends a minimum of 100 kbps for calls and 512 kbps for group video chats of seven or more people. Zoom is a bit more demanding, requiring a minimum of 600 Kbps for 1:1 video calls and 3.8 Mbps for 1080p HD group video calls.
Keep in mind that these are minimum requirements and you’ll likely benefit from much higher speeds, so it’s good to know what your speeds are and what might be affecting them.
Why are my upload speeds so slow?
ANDwill give you an idea of the upload speed. Of course, if you’re experiencing excessive lag and freezes during video calls, you may not need to run a speed test to know your upload speed isn’t up to your needs.
If your upload speed falls below your needs or expectations, there are a number of factors that can contribute to slow speeds. As a bonus, some of these tips can also improve your download speed.
That’s what you get
The main culprit behind slow upload speeds, especially compared to download speeds, is the internet plan itself. Plans from most ISPs exceptthey usually come with . If you sign up for an internet plan with a maximum download speed of 50 Mbps, you can probably expect a maximum upload speed of 5 Mbps or less.
Mostcounting on it , and , have maximum upload speeds of 30 to 35 Mbps, although gigabit download speeds are often available. The same goes for the majority and services; the upload speed is much lower than the advertised download speed.
How to fix it: The best thing you can do is find out what the maximum upload speeds are available with a particular provider or plan before you sign up. Most providers list the upload speed on their website, but you may have to wade through the fine print or plan details to find it.
If you already have Internet service, you may want to upgrade to a faster plan. You’ll likely get not only faster upload speeds, but also a nice boost in download speeds.is another option, especially if it is a fiber optic service from providers such as , , or they are available. Fiber technology supports the bandwidth needed for symmetrical or near symmetrical download and upload speeds. So if you log into a you can expect download and upload speeds of around 300 Mbps over a wired connection.
All the new routers announced at CES 2021 – including next-generation Wi-Fi 6E
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Wireless connections are often slower than wired connections
, not its own standalone internet service. If you’re using a Wi-Fi connection, expect download and upload speeds to be slower than what your provider is actually sending home.
Range and signal problems can also occur when using Wi-Fi. The further you are from the router, or if you move to a different room or floor, the slower your upload speed is likely to be.
How to fix it: Using a wired Ethernet connection will almost always give you a faster and more reliable connection. If you need fast and stable upload speeds for an important meeting or school project, try using a wired connection.
A wired connection isn’t always practical and Wi-Fi is much more convenient, so there are often times when Wi-Fi is your only option. There are a number of ways to improve your Wi-Fi connection, such as elevating your router or relocating your antennas.
Upgrading your device is also an effective way to increase your Wi-Fi speed. If you’re not sure where to start when shopping for a new router, take a look at ours. And for better whole-home Wi-Fi connectivity, consider upgrading to a .
Multiple recording jobs are active at the same time
There is only so much bandwidth available. When you have multiple video conferences at once, they can all compete with each other, reducing the available upload speed for everyone. While simultaneous meetings or class participation are unavoidable, try to stagger meetings and limit the number of connected devices whenever possible.
How to fix it: In addition to strategically scheduling meeting times to accommodate everyone in your household, make sure your. There will likely be less clutter on the 5GHz band, allowing for better connection quality and faster upload speeds.
Additionally, upgrading your internet plan or provider to a higher maximum upload speed will help ensure you have enough.
You have reached your monthly data limit
Believe it or not, uploading files and participating in video calls contribute to your monthly data usage just as much as downloading files or streaming TV. Depending on your provider, exceeding your data limit may result in reduced speeds for the remainder of your billing cycle.
This will probably only be a problem if you have satellite internet.and will drastically reduce speeds once a customer exceeds their monthly data limit. Select DSL and cable Internet providers may also have data caps, but most will charge you for going over the speed limit instead of throttling.
How you can fix it: If you have a monthly data limit, it’s best to monitor your activity during your billing cycle to avoid going over. Most providers have an app and/or website that lets you track your data usage.
HughesNet customers can purchase additional data in 3, 5, 10 or 25GB blocks that will restore their speed until the next billing cycle or until additional data is used. Viasat doesn’t offer additional data bundles for purchase, but Viasat plans are likely to come with more data than similarly priced HughesNet plans.
Of course, the best option is to choose, or at least one that won’t throttle your speeds when you go over your limit. However, you’ll still want to monitor your data usage, as excessive data usage could violate your service agreement, which could lead to service interruption.
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