Your internet connection comes with two different types of speed: download and upload. Download speed is the rate at which data transfers from the internet to your devices. Upload speed is how fast data moves in the opposite direction—from your devices to the internet.
Both are important. Whenever you browse the internet, watch streamed online video, or retrieve data you’re relying on your download speed. You’re using upload speed whenever you upload files from your devices or network to the cloud or live stream video to the internet.
Some activities—such as video conferencing—require both upload and download speeds because you’re both streaming video from the internet and generating your own video.
“Many people consider only download speed to be important, as this determines not only how long it takes to download files but how well you can stream videos and how fast webpages load,” says Christen da Costa, CEO of Gadget Review, a tech review site based in Houston, Texas. “But it’s just as important to look at the upload speed—especially if you’ll be doing any online streaming at your business, or even video conferencing.”
Why is upload speed important for business?
Download speed has been seen as more important for businesses because common business tasks generally involve more downloading than uploading—and that still may be the case for some businesses. In fact, many business internet plans have much lower upload speeds for that reason.
But as more companies use video more for marketing and interacting with customers, having higher upload speed is becoming far more important, says Abdul Rahim, an IT professional in Herndon, Virginia who runs the blog Software Test Tips.
“In today’s digital world, fast upload speeds are essential for many businesses and activities, such as streaming high-definition video, uploading large design and media files, and conducting internet-based business activities,” Rahim says. “Streaming high-definition video requires the fast upload speeds made possible by broadband or high-speed internet.”
He cautions that there are risks to not having a business internet plan with adequate upload speed—including slowdowns whenever someone has to upload a large design or media file, as well as problems with video conferencing. “Without sufficient upload speeds, videos can be buffered or lag, leading to a poor viewing experience and lost business opportunities.”
Delivering symmetrical speeds
Because upload speed is increasingly important to businesses, Spectrum Business is rolling out symmetrical speed internet plans—those with upload speeds equivalent to its plan’s already ultra-fast download speeds.