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Why Upload Speeds Matter

Posted November 01, 2017 by Kevin Fisher

We are all receiving information from the Internet, but how does that information, or content, get sent to us? A small amount of information is requested, then sent, and it waits on an acknowledgement. If confirmation of that information is received, then a little more, and a little larger amount, of information is sent. If you are not acknowledging enough, the Internet Protocol slows down and repeats the information. It is not a bug; it is a built-in feature of the Internet to enhance reliability. If you have a service plan with a low upload speed, this can slow down your online experience — especially if you are uploading large files or sending emails at the same time.

Your choice of internet service makes a difference

Satellite-based internet suffers from the delay (or lag, or latency) of long distance acknowledgements. It is superior to dial-up, and it is fairly good at streaming a continuous amount of data. It is not very good at interactive connections which is why most websites, gaming devices and music streaming don't work very well.

Telephone company DSL Internet copper wire connections were a vast improvement over dial-up connections. But DSL was not designed for today’s internet. Most of the DSL capacity is reserved for downloading data as the engineers who invented DSL didn’t imagine today’s Cloud-based applications.

Cable company coaxial cable was designed for broadcast video and was never intended for uploading data and as a result the upload capacity of cable is inherently limited. You will notice that cable internet plans usually have very limited upstream with the speed buried in the fine print of the contract. Even as the download speeds increase, you will notice that cable upload speed has gone up slowly.

Fixed wireless providers such as Sail Internet use a new generation of wireless technology that was designed with today’s upload needs in mind. And the flexibility of wireless service delivery has enabled breakthrough download and upload speeds while bypassing the legacy cable and phone companies.

Why is this important to you?

If you are unhappy with your current internet user experience, take a look at your upload speed. A Speedtest will provide some clues as to whether or not you have enough upload speed for your needs. As a rule of thumb, a 4-to-1 ratio (or lower) between download and upload speed is recommended for a smooth internet experience. For example, a 100 Mbps download speed should be accompanied by at least a 25 Mbps upload speed.

And many of the upstream requirements are time sensitive. If your upstream data gets stuck behind a large attachment being emailed by someone else in your household or business, you may perceive your download speed slowing down and becoming jerky (buffering video, voice dropouts in VoIP calls, etc.).

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