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Home > The Difference Between Upload and Download Speed for Broadband DSL
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The Difference Between Upload and Download Speed for Broadband DSL

Basic Difference

In essence, there is no difference between uploading data and downloading data aside from the direction of the data transfer. The better your Internet connection speed, the faster your uploading and downloading capability. Bandwidth, otherwise referred to as the transfer rate of your connection to the Internet, plays an integral role in both your upload speed and your download speed.

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The Role of Broadband Speed

Your broadband speed refers more or less to your internet connection speed as a whole. Your broadband speed interacts with that of the site or server that you are accessing. Because of this, you could have an extremely fast download and upload ability yet still suffer through a slow connection if the site or server from which you are transmitting / receiving does not have a great deal of bandwidth. Low bandwidth levels will yield low broadband speed and a slow Internet connection. Bandwidth can similarly be eaten away through high volumes of traffic. Sites occasionally fail to load or function properly due to internal server errors resulting from such bandwidth overloads.

Symmetric Broadband Speed

Some services offer a broadband speed that is considered “symmetric,” in the sense that the rated download and upload times are of the same value. The fact of the matter is, however, that symmetric systems are somewhat outdated due to the fact that they only work for Internet connection speeds equal to or less than 33Kbps. (This is a slow Internet speed even for dial-up modem connections)

Asymmetric Broadband Speed

Broadband speed connections such as cable and ADSL are referred to as “asymmetric” (The A in ADSL) due to the fact that the rated download and upload times are not equal. When viewing a given Internet web page, you are downloading the data from its server source. By increasing the download speed, you can drastically increase your Internet connection speed as a whole due the fact that pages will load quicker and files will download quicker. The problem with this is that the upload speed is of course downgraded, causing it to take a great deal longer to upload data to the Internet. This can be problematic for small businesses or web site hosts who do a great deal of uploading. For the general public, however, the ability to download and have a faster Internet connection speed supersedes the need for quick uploading capability.

Breaking down Your Internet Connection Speed

To give you an idea of the discrepancies between the download speed and the upload speed take a look at the rated speeds for both cable and ADSL broadband Internet connections:

  • Cable Modem Download Speed: 1.5 Mbps - 3.0 Mbps        
  • Cable Modem Upload Speed: 400 Kbps - 600 Kbps
  • ADSL Download Speed: 1.4 Mbps                                      
  • ADSL Upload Speed: 400 Kbps

* Due to the fact that the majority of Internet users are downloading data, heavy user loads can cause the aforementioned download speeds to be significantly slower while the upload speeds tend to remain the same.