Glossary

Upload speed

What is upload speed?

Just like download speed, upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbit/s, Mb/s, or Mbps). It indicates the maximum data transfer rate at which a device can send information to a server or another device. Typically lower than the download speed, the upload speed is often overlooked by consumers.

Although tasks that rely on data download may still be more common (and this is the reason why internet providers direct more resources toward download channels), our internet usage habits are depending more and more on data upload. Consider just a few examples which involve a high volume of data upload: the ever-increasing amount of HD videos uploaded to social media platforms (as well as other social media trends such as live video streaming), video calls, and our dependence on cloud storage solutions.

Multiple factors impact how fast data travels, and actual transfer rates typically fall below what internet access providers list as the peak rate. When it comes to mobile devices, internet access (also known as mobile broadband) is significantly impacted by the generation of the cellular signal technology supported by the device and covered by the provider, with each generation offering faster data transfer than the previous ones (e.g., 3G, 4G, and the upcoming, controversial 5G). Other decisive factors in regard to upload speed are local network coverage, network capacity and demand at a given time, as well as wireless interference, weather conditions, and obstructions (such as buildings, trees, hills).

When buying a new gadget, we recommend checking the highest download and upload speeds supported by its chipset. Examine what you mostly do online (as well as your data storage choices), and you'll understand how important upload rates are to you.

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