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What You Need To Know About Internet Speed

The need for fast and reliable internet has increased drastically in recent years. According to a report from Deloitte, the average U.S. household has 25 devices connected to the internet at any given time. The popularity of gaming, the rise in video streaming services, along with the fact that many Americans started working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, have all increased the bandwidth demands for most households. While the topic of internet upload and download speeds might not be something discussed around the dinner table, it’s become an increasingly important factor to consider for home and business internet customers.

We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding internet upload and download speeds.

7 FAQs About Internet Upload and Download Speeds

1. What’s the difference between internet upload and download speeds?

Upload and download speeds are both based on the amount of data you can send or receive in one second. Note the distinction between speed and bandwidth. Speed refers to the maximum rate you can transmit data; bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data your connection can handle at any moment. So here is a simple breakdown for download and upload speeds:

  • Download speed: how quickly your internet connection can retrieve data from the internet (web pages, video, cat photos, etc.)
  • Upload speed: how quickly your internet connection can send data from your devices up to the internet (uploading video to YouTube, sending documents via email, video conferences, etc.)

2. What type of internet activity can you conduct based on various download speeds?

Download speeds are important for typical everyday internet usage, for example, streaming video or downloading a file from email. The following table provides examples of suggested download speeds for various activities:

3. Why are upload speeds important to consider?

Upload speeds aren’t typically promoted by internet service providers since most are asymmetrical connections. However, you shouldn’t discount the importance of upload speeds, especially if you work from home. When you send an email, work on live cloud-hosted documents like Google Sheets or Docs, share a photo or video on social media, call family or friends on FaceTime or Skype, video conference, or interact on your gaming device, you’re uploading. For United, upload and download speeds are the same (symmetrical) compared to cable providers that have a much lower upload speed than their download.

4. What are good upload and download speeds?

If you use your home network for work, school, or streaming regularly, low internet speeds are going to be a problem. With today’s internet demand, you’re going to want to find a solution that has download AND upload speeds on the higher end, for example 300 Mbps or higher. Fiber networks offer the upload and download speeds you need for any internet activity – so hopefully it’s available in your area.

5. What factors affect internet speeds?

Numerous factors can affect your internet speed. Many times, the speed of the connection is the most important factor. Sometimes, the capabilities of a website or needing software updates on your computer or device can impact speeds. And if you’re using Wi-Fi, which most smart devices do, the number of smart devices impact speed on each device. Keep in mind that each smart device is using a portion of your Wi-Fi connection, so a high number of active devices will cause slower speeds on each device.

6. Is there a way to check my current upload and download speed?

Yes. There are a number of websites or apps that will test your speed, but United offers a speed test that can be easily accessed from our website: www.united.net

7. What are internet options from United?

United offers three different types of internet connections for many areas of Middle Tennessee – serviceability depends upon your address:

  • Fiber Optic Internet: This is the fastest type of internet currently available. Notably, fiber internet connections give you much faster upload speeds than other types of internet.
  • Fixed Wireless Internet: This option brings the internet signal to your home via radio waves and is received via a small dish. However this is a different technology that satellite internet. Even the most rural areas can be served by fixed wireless technology with speeds up to 100 Mbps.
  • DSL Internet: This option can handle top speeds up to 50 Mbps and is based on distance from the CO.