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Why are download speeds faster than upload speeds?

Internet speed has two components: download and upload. Both are included in the data package, but the data plans offered by most ISPs are only for download speed. Let’s find out why

Ookla test

The global Speedtest index released by network intelligence and connectivity provider Ookla showed that the global median download and upload speeds on mobile networks were 30.79 Mbps and 8.62 Mbps respectively in August.

Average download and upload speeds in India were 13.52 Mbps and 3.28 Mbps respectively during the same period.

Fixed broadband

The disparity between download and upload speeds extends to fixed broadband connections. According to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, the global average fixed broadband download and upload speeds in August were 69.14 Mbps and 29.02 Mbps, respectively.

Surprisingly, the difference between download and upload speeds in India is not that glaring. Fixed wireless broadband download and upload speeds in India were 48.29 Mbps and 47.52 Mbps respectively.

Why is the upload speed lower than the download speed?

One of the factors responsible for the difference in download and upload speeds is the network interface. By design, most network interfaces support higher download speeds than upload speeds. Therefore, regardless of the device you use for internet services, there is always a gap in download and upload speeds. This is because download speed makes up the internet experience for most users. For any activity on the Internet, downloading consumes much more data than uploading.

Why does upload speed matter?

An upload establishes a connection to access web services, and a download is the subsequent result. To access any service available on the website, you must first submit a request to the website. This process involves uploading information.

For example, you open a Business Standard website. You enter the domain name in the browser and press “Enter”. At this stage, the internet uses upstream to establish a connection with a web page host on the web. Once the connection is established, the host sends back data to display the website and its content on the user’s screen. This downstream flow of information is called downloading.

From watching movies available on over-the-top (OTT) platforms to scrolling through pictures and videos posted on social media, the size of information downloaded is always larger than uploaded. Therefore, it is download speeds that make up for the internet experience for most users. However, this does not mean that sending speed is unimportant, especially today.

New web services such as Internet calling, video conferencing, online gaming, cloud data storage, and remote access require healthy upload speeds to provide an optimal experience. Its lack results in choppy video during video conferencing, broken audio during internet calls, and slow uploading of images to Instagram, etc.


I am Sanjit Gupta. I have completed my BMS then MMS both in marketing. I even did a diploma in computer software and Digital Marketing.

Articles: 4745

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