Fast internet download speed isn’t the only thing that matters. Here’s why
This story is part of Top tipsCNET’s collection of practical tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Everyone wants it fast internet speed. That often means fast internet download speeds, but your upload speeds deserve love and recognition too. After all, you probably rely on them every day.
The information highway is not a one-way street. It is more like a four-lane, busy and busy freeway on one side (downloads) and a two-lane, lightly trafficked road (uploads) on the other. While that road is certainly less traveled, you’ll have a hard time getting online if it’s closed.
So what are you using those upload speeds for? And what is a good download speed for your home?? You’ll find the answers below, but I’ll go ahead and say that you’ll want an upload speed faster than what the FCC qualifies as “broadband.” (For more Wi-Fi tips, check out the best place to put your router to speed up your internetand our picks the best Wi-Fi routersis best network routers and best wifi extenders.
Yes, download speed dominates our internet usage
Almost everything we use the internet for depends on download speed. You probably don’t think about it when you’re streaming the latest House of the dragon episode or shop online a new iPhone however, that activity involves downloading data from the Internet.
What determines how quickly and easily you can download that data, such as how good it is? streaming quality is how fast web page and images load is your download speed.
The faster your speed, the better your experience. Speeds of 100 Mbps and above are often sufficient download speeds, but a “good” download speed will vary for each household and connected devices.
But fast internet upload speed will come in handy every day
I’ll bet you now indeed Don’t think about it when you post your seventh cat video on Instagram today (keep them coming!) or when you’re logged in Zoom in for a meeting, but both of these daily activities involve uploading data to the Internet.
Also consider this. When you search for the Dragon House HBO Max:, you enter data and send it to the Internet, that’s uploading. When you enter “New iPhone Case” in the search bar and press Enter, you are uploading data. When someone “likes” your cat video (it might have been me), they upload data. Granted, you don’t need blazingly fast upload speeds to do this, but you’re still using the upload side of your connection.
Here are some other ways we use upload speed:
- Video chat Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and more.
- Online games
- Submitting work or homework and generally working and studying from home
- Voice call over IP
- Posting on social networks
What determines how quickly and easily you can complete these tasks? You guessed it, your upload speeds. When it comes to your upload speed, again, faster is better, but you can handle upload speeds that are slower than your download speed.
The FCC says that an upload speed of 3 Mbps is “broadband” Internet
The FCC considers any download speed of 3 Mbps or higher to be “broadband”. However, the FCC set this speed cap (its broadband download speed of 25 Mbps) back in 2015 and has since received bipartisan congressional pressure; raise the bar on what officially counts as broadband.
Still, the FCC standard of 3Mbps is enough on paper, though not by much, to meet the minimum requirements for apps like Skype and Zoom. Skype recommends a minimum call speed of 100 kbps and 512 kbps for group video chats of seven or more people. Zooming in is a bit more demandingwhich requires a minimum download speed of 600 kbps for 1:1 video calls and 3.8 Mbps for 1080p HD video calls.
Keep in mind that these are minimum speed requirements per device. As such, you’ll likely benefit from much faster speeds.
Aim for an upload speed of 10 Mbps or more
For the average home Internet use with a Wi-Fi connection and about 10 devices. computers, telephones, game consoles, smart cameraseven smart TVs will affect your upload speeds. I would recommend an upload speed of at least 10Mbps. Faster would be even better, but a 10Mbps upload speed should comfortably support most tasks that require data uploads, including HD video calls and online gaming.
How to find out your internet upload speed
a good speed test will give you an idea of what your speed is. Run a few speed tests using different devices in different locations around your home to get an overall reading of your connection’s upload speed.
If your upload speed is slower than you think it should be, check out our list of common upload speed performance issues and how to fix them. And for more tips on how to improve not only your internet connection, but everything else that keeps your home running, be sure to browse our CNET Home Tips section.