Download & Upload Speeds: Everything You Need to Know

How much internet Upload speeds does one need’ is probably something you would google if the video buffered and paused midway, buffered, and buffered, wasting your highly-anticipated movie time and precious moment away. So now, instead of watching your movie, you watched a never-ending loading bar, which wasn’t moving forward in any way and only seemed to taunt you with zero progress. No wonder you probably ended up searching about internet speeds to figure out why yours was giving you a hard time. But since this is a common occurrence with even the best internet service providers, you know one thing for sure it can happen to anyone – even the best of us! Let’s take a closer look at the various reasons why this could be happening:

Understanding Internet Speeds & Network Bandwidth

The bandwidth is essentially the highest rate at which data is downloaded from the web to your PC. Consider bandwidth to be a water hose that you need to fill a tank of at least a 100-gallon. So, if the hose could fill the tank with nearly five gallons in a minute, then you could fill up an entire water tank within 20 minutes or so.

However, if you take a larger hose pipe that puts in a gallon of water every second, then you can expect the tank to be full in less time than before, say under two minutes. That’s what your network bandwidth is like. The larger the size of the hose, the faster the water will fill up the tank. A similar analogy applies to data transfer – the faster the data flow, the more data will be able to move from one end to another.

Upload & Download Speeds

Have you ever noticed that every time you check the internet speed calculator for gaging gauging speed, you get various numbers? Well, that’s because internet speed is a broad term that needs better clarification. And consists of both upload and download speeds. Upload speeds indicate how fast your internet service can transfer data from your device to the web.

Like attaching a file in your email or uploading a video, for instance. Whereas download speeds are how rapidly quickly you can receive data, which could range from texts to images to video and music files, to name a few. You need a decent download speed for online activities such as viewing websites, streaming your videos or music, and receiving emails, among others.

Are Upload Speeds Considerably Slower Than Download Speeds?

It is perfectly normal for uploads to be slower because a majority of super-fast internet connections like fiber internet or cable are asymmetric by design and aim to provide better speeds, more suited for downloads than otherwise. It is also because the average internet user gives priority to downloads rather than uploads. Hence, this should no longer surprise you if your upload is slower than your download because that’s expected.

Another factor that you need to be aware of is that majority of internet providers advertise their speeds in kilobits, so these will never be the same or match with the actual ones anyway. It is actually quite normal for the customer to receive only about 80 percent or 90 percent tops of the advertised speed range. There are several reasons why this happens. Firstly, your internet connection might be shared with a lot of people if you reside within the same apartment complex or neighborhood. So, if a lot of people are using the internet connection, then you can expect the service to slow down since the maximum number of people are using the same connection. And it has to be split between the various users, which will ultimately have a dire effect on the speed range.

According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC), every household in the U.S. requires a broadband speed of nearly 25 Mbps, especially if there are several internet users in the house. It is important to note that these quoted bandwidth numbers, in no way, claim guaranteed internet speeds. Other factors also play in as well – like network congestion or latency, which can, in turn, have negative effects on the bandwidth in general.

So, if you run the occasional internet speed test, it will not just help you determine how much speed is available at your address but how much you are actually getting. If it’s much lower, then speak to your internet provider and ask how they can improve the situation. Or you can ask about an upgrade and get your internet speed range increased. 

Is There More to Slower Uploads Than Just the Above Stated Reasons?

Upload speeds are considerably sluggish in comparison to their download counterparts, for most American ISPs have a specific limit for upload speeds. Unless you opt for a fiber-rich provider that’s accessible to a few select areas in the U.S., however, that cannot be said for the cable-based ones, which offer plans but don’t usually offer impressive upload speeds.

One way to remedy such an issue is to always be aware of the speed tiers offered by the provider, not just directly from the provider but by reading online reviews as well, which can tremendously help with your speed situation. This is followed by the advertised speeds offered by the provider for the introductory promo period versus the actual speed that’s delivered to the user.

For instance, you may select an internet package that offers at least 50 Mbps download speeds. In that case, you can expect uploads to peak around at least 5 Mbps. Speak to a service representative and clear up your confusion regarding internet speeds. Another thing that you can do is upgrade your current plan to a speedier one – that will not just improve your upload speeds much more quickly but your download speeds as well.


So, Are Download Speeds Generally Faster?

A speed of 5 Mbps is typically considered a decent upload speed and can get most tasks done. Unless you are thinking of uploading an extra-large file, upload speed is not deemed that significant. But the same cannot be said for download speeds, which need to be super-fast as these are required to receive data from the web.

Also, it ultimately depends on the internet user and the kind of digital lifestyle they are indulged in. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of internet-based activities and the speed that you may require for each one of them:

Digital Activity Expected Speed Required
Large File Downloads 10 Mbps/user
Online Conferences 6 Mbps/user
Skype Calls 4 Mbps/user
Web Surfing Under 5 Mbps/user
Attachments on email 1.15 Mbps/user


These are general speed recommendations. That’s why it is important to note that most of these speed ranges mentioned are defined per user. And are expected to vary, even expected to fluctuate as the number of users increases. One of the most challenging things is to find out how much speed one requires for daily consumption.

Wrapping It Up

As we come to the end of this article, it is important to have a basic understanding of key internet terms so that you are correctly able to determine the true capacity of your service. And the kind of speed ranges you require to sustain keep your digital lifestyle afloat! Read More 

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