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We Need To Talk About Broadband Upload Speeds

When casting your eyes over the latest advert from an internet service provider on TV, or billboard, you will often be drawn to a few things in particular. Alongside a flashy graphic of a network hub, our eyes are often drawn to a monthly price, and a download speed. Since the advent of broadband internet, these two numbers have been the most important when it comes to choosing your package, and for good reason too. Lottery winners aside, price is always a consideration when purchasing anything, and download speeds have been the main thing we look at when selecting an internet package that we anticipate will be used to stream the latest Game of Thrones season without the worry of that dreaded buffering wheel appearing. While the price of a package and the download speed are extremely valid points to be advertising to the customer, one aspect of these deals has sadly been neglected, the upload speed.

Why Would I Care About Upload Speeds?

For the tech novices out there, download speed refers to how much information can flow down the pipe, into your home at one time, and the upload speed refers to how much information can flow out of your home at any given time. Go back ten years, and all we cared about was how much data we could consume, and whether we could stream YouTube smoothly to our one computer sitting in the living room. Now, in 2017, with the average consumer having 3 internet connected devices each, the landscape has changed dramatically. The strain on our home networks has increased vastly, but so have the download speeds we have accrued, so why are so many of us still complaining about connectivity issues, and feel that our home broadband isn’t living up to the promise? In a large amount of cases, this can be due to the one facet most ISP’s fail to mention. The humble ‘upload speed’.

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Anything you do online that requires information to be sent out of your home, takes a chunk out of your upload speed. This could be a tiny amount, such as sending an email, or it could be a significantly larger amount, such as a video call on Skype. Either way, this takes a chunk of your bandwidth, and with upload speeds generally being around one fifth of download speeds, using a few services that rely on uploading data at the same time can cause a bottleneck quickly in homes that have copper-based internet solutions (ADSL or VDSL).


What Other Services Rely On Upload Speeds?

As mentioned above, Skype and other such video and audio communications apps take a bite out your upload bandwidth. Audio calls will obviously use less data than video, and even the quality of the video call can cause big differences in the amount of data being transferred. While an audio call may use 0.3 MB/s, an HD video call can max out at around 3.5 MB/s, and depending on which service you are using, some can even end up being closer to 5 MB/s.

If you happen to be someone who live streams their gaming, or perhaps you regularly upload video to YouTube or Facebook, these are also big drains on your bandwidth. The same goes for backing up photos to Dropbox of Google Photos, and in a world where we are installing webcams such as Google Nest, and Dropcam to keep an eye on our properties while we are away, the upload bandwidth is becoming an ever more important consideration when selection our internet packages.

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What Are The Solutions To Uploading Bottlenecks?

Well, you could stop using these services, if regressing to the stone age is your sort of thing. If, on the other hand you enjoy all the technological advances we have made in the last ten years, then increasing your upload speed is going to be your only option.

To do this, upgrading your internet package is going to be the answer. For those of you on copper-based lines (ADSL or VDSL), upload speeds are going to be much more limited, and if you find yourself running into these bottleneck issues, moving to UFB, or Ultra Fast Broadband is your best option.

The particularly good thing about UFB packages, is that now many broadband providers don’t restrict you to having the download/upload ratio set at one fifth. Some have packages that are nearer 2:1, and there are even some packages that have download and upload parity, which are perfect for those of us who upload video, live stream, and Skype constantly.

While the older ADSL and VDSL lines are perfectly suitable for some homes, the boons of fibre connected homes are only going to become more apparent as our lives become further centred around the web, and along with these new demands we are placing on our networks, the upload speeds of our networks are going to become just as important as anything else when it comes to picking a new internet package.

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