Why is My Download Speed 10x Faster than my Upload?
November 21, 2012 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Download Speed is 5.4 MPS, Upload 0.54 - Is this normal?

Is this ratio the norm or do I need to start bugging my ISP?
posted by watercarrier to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Well, what is your advertised speed?
posted by inturnaround at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2012

Sounds about right. I'm on Virgin Media cable internet in the UK and get around 2Mbps down and 0.2Mbps up.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

You mean what they said they'd give me? 5 mps.
posted by watercarrier at 1:11 PM on November 21, 2012

In terms of the difference, yes, that's pretty typical. Are you getting what you're paying for, as inturnaround said, check your agreement with your ISP.

For reference, my download at the moment is 38 mps upload is 4.19 (charter communications, Michigan)
posted by HuronBob at 1:11 PM on November 21, 2012

Yes, this sounds like a normal ratio. Upload is always slower than download.
posted by WCF at 1:12 PM on November 21, 2012

OK - was just wondering. Thanks guys. That was fast, lol.
posted by watercarrier at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2012

That's not terribly uncommon. I'm pulling 22 MB/s down but only pushing about 3.4 MB/s up. I'm with Comcast.

There are plans that have balanced up/down speeds, but they're (1) expensive, and (2) primarily commercial. Many residential ISPs will have a balanced plan available, but it's not what they tend to advertise.
posted by valkyryn at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just another confirmation that I've got a (rough) 10:1 ratio as well.
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

valkyryn: Wow, you are getting 22MB/s downloads? I had no idea Comcast had such a thing.

Yup, adding to the 10:1 idea, same here.
posted by Cosine at 2:20 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

The 'A' in 'ADSL' stands for 'asymmetric'.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:42 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you go to your ISP's website, you'll probably find in small print somewhere what the advertised upload speed is for your price plan. But what you are getting sounds about right. Remember that residential usage patterns are such that a 10:1 ratio is about balanced. The standard web usage case is clicking a link, which results in you sending maybe 100 bytes in upload, and then you download many kilobytes of content from the page, while only sending many hundreds of bytes in acks back to the webserver. So if you had a 1:1 connection, you'd be effectively wasting a ton of upload capacity.

I get 25 down, 4.3 up with Comcast. Just the normal $45 a month plan that I've had for like 12 years now. Its basically to the point where my connection is way faster than a) my computer can render webpages and b) websites can send data.
posted by gjc at 4:59 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

The capacity is there, but they severely throttle the upstream bandwidth, because they know all that most people care about is downstream. Flooding traffic upstream makes downstream requests slow way down, so they keep upload speed tightly constrained to make web pages load zippily.

I'm on Comcast and get 30Mbps both up and down, if you test via speedtest.net or almost any other bandwidth tester, but that's for short bursts. On longer downloads/uploads I get limited to 16/3, which is what I pay for. I dunno why the upstream is so silly fast. Some combination of my business class account (same $60/mo+tax price as regular cable internet) and maybe an error on their part...prior to switching over to business class, I saw more like 20/5 on speedtest.net.
posted by pjaust at 5:42 AM on November 26, 2012

Oh, and also worth pointing out that comcast doesn't necessarily give you what they advertise on longer transfers. Their residential plans almost all lie unless you read the fine print. They'll call it 20/4, but that's for transfers under 20mb. It slows down to about 75% (or less) that speed after that. So if you're moving multi-gigabyte files around, you're gonna feel gypped.
posted by pjaust at 5:45 AM on November 26, 2012

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