Understanding the importance of Upload Speed

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Note: This is a guest post written by Marcus Jensen 

The download speed, measured in Mbps (megabits per second) is one of the big numbers that Internet providers love to advertise. It is the larger one of the two important numbers that define our browsing experience.

Surely, consumer and business users have highlighted the download speed as the most important, because the highest priorities were downloading files, listening to music, watching movies online, web browsing and accessing various types of data.

However, the importance of upload connectivity has increased because of the increased use of applications and operations that include file storage, video and audio uploads, data backup, uploading to cloud-based services and multi-site collaborations.

Uploading… Please Wait

The information that we receive from the Internet has to be sent to us first, right?

The Internet is set up in this way: a small amount of information is sent when requested, and it waits for an acknowledgement. For example, if you wish to open a Web page, your computer must send a request to download it. After the confirmation, a little larger amount of information is sent, and this kind of negotiation continues until there is some kind of interference, error, or other limitation. There simply has to be enough “sending” to keep the information coming.

The Internet Protocol has a built-in feature for reliability enhancement – it slows down and repeats the information if you’re not acknowledging enough, and it’s used by network technicians to certify your Internet connection speed.

The download speed is adjusted to the optimum to match the upload speed which is checked or monitored.

The Rising Importance of Upload

File transfer acceleration started gaining more importance as files started growing in size. It’s the reason why traditional file transfer methods have become obsolete, and thanks to file transfer acceleration transfers that would otherwise have taken hours are now complete in just a few minutes.

Upload speed is important because it can affect your costs and productivity if you’re trying to upload large files. You can test your upload speed if you’re not sure what your connection speed is, monitor it on an ongoing basis, and track two key metrics – upload speed and latency.

What is Latency?

Latency can be seen as response time. It is measured in milliseconds, and when the latency goes up – the upload speed goes down. Length or server distance is the determining factor with regard to latency. If it’s 100km away, then the information exchanged has to make a 200km round trip.

For example, you could see a 1.0ms round trip time if the connection was perfect. If the server is located 13,000km away from your location, the round trip is 26,000km, and the theoretical best round trip time is 125ms (which can easily double with even the smallest overhead issues).

Shared Upload Speeds

When multiple users share a network, upload-intensive applications can present a big issue. For example, if you’re playing a real-time online game, it takes just a single VoIP call to cause your game to lag if the upload bandwidth is too small.

Today, accommodating for continuous, simultaneous uploads has become more important as average households place a larger, two-way strain on a typical internet. That’s also the problem with public Wi-Fi connections. Internet providers like ATT Uverse Internet provide free access to hot spots around the country, which is a great service for checking mail, chatting, or searching for a nice restaurant while on the go. However, transferring large amounts of data requires a higher data rate.

High Upload Speeds

The demand on upload bandwidth is greater than it was in the past, due to modern application requirements. For example, if you’re a professional online gamer, you must ensure a constant two-way communication to tell others what you’re doing and update your computer on what’s going on in the game world.

Unless there is as much as 64kbps of download and upload bandwidth (as demanded by voice over IP), stuttering will occur during a call. If you opt for running your own server, such as game, Web, or email server – their performance for people outside your network will be limited by the available upload bandwidth.

Securing a faster internet connection can be costly, but going too low can cause problems. Upload speeds are still only a fraction of all Internet traffic in an average home. A reasonable up/down speed ratio that should accommodate most loads is a 6:1 ratio. For example, a 1.5Mbps upload rate should be enough for a 10Mbps download rate. Current upload speed can be tested with many free online tools.

Note: This guest post was written by Marcus Jensen from technivorz.com You can follow him on Twitter @marcusTJensen

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