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Definition: download


To transmit a file over a network. In a communications session, "download" and "upload" imply a remote/local scenario, in which data are being downloaded from the "remote" server into the user's "local" computer. Uploading is the reverse.

The time it takes to download depends on file size and network speed. Via analog dial-up modems, Web pages take several seconds, and a 10MB file can take an hour. DSL, cable and FiOS are from 15 to 600 times faster, reaching the same speed as downloading from a server within the local network (LAN). See Internet speed.

From the Internet
Downloading images, articles and applications from the Internet is no more than "Click Here" on a Web page. The only thing users must know is what to do with the downloaded file. If the download is an app, it must be installed, which can happen automatically or require the user to take one more step. See download vs. upload, download protocol and client download.

From the Local Network (LAN)
In a server in a private network, files are placed in sharable folders that can be downloaded to users' computers. Using a file manager, such as Explorer in Windows or Finder in Mac, users can locate the files by computer and folder name. See file manager.

From Computer to Mobile Devices
Transferring files to a smartphone or tablet plugged into the USB port of a computer is more a copy function than a download. The mobile device appears as a storage drive to the computer.