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Redirected from: downstream vs. upstream

Definition: download vs. upload

Download and upload (downstream and upstream) speeds may be the same or very different. Sending and receiving files between computers over a local network transmit at roughly the same speed. However, transmission speeds to the Internet (upstream) and from the Internet (downstream) may not be the same.

For Consumers - A Little Up - A Lot Down
A Web page is requested with a very little amount of text going to the Web server, but the text and images coming back can comprise a thousand times as much data. Video is a more extreme example. A small text request can retrieve gigabytes of video. In addition, residential customers are prevented from running a Web server if upload speeds are limited.

For Business - A Lot Up and Down
Business customers operating a website may be sending out tons of data and need considerable upstream bandwidth, which is why commercial customers are charged more than residential users by the Internet provider (ISP). See download, bandwidth and ISP.

Residential Service Speed Test
These cable Internet results from the Ookla website exemplify the difference between upstream and downstream speeds to a consumer.