Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Speeds

When people research Internet service providers, they often see charts that clarify what kinds of download and upload speeds a company can offer. When the rates are equally fast, whether someone uploads or downloads content, that means the company provides symmetrical service.

However, asymmetrical speeds are more common for Internet access. They give people faster downloads than uploads. Here’s a breakdown of some pros and cons associated with each speed type.

Asymmetrical Speeds Are More Widely Available in Some Markets

Symmetrical speeds are not widely available, especially in some rural areas. This means a person may have no choice but to accept them, even though asymmetrical speeds are no longer ideal for Internet usage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that asymmetrical speeds became available first from Internet access companies. That means some Internet service providers still primarily offer them to their customers.

People could also find they can’t get symmetrical speeds yet because their housing arrangement comes with an Internet package. For example, some new-tenant perks at apartment complexes include Internet access. People could have Internet access free of charge for the first year of residence, but it may not provide symmetrical speeds. The good news is that symmetrical options are becoming more widely available and will steadily become even more accessible.

Symmetrical Speeds Are More Suitable for Current and Emerging Internet Needs

Internet speed is one of the top concerns for people who are looking for new providers. However, they don’t typically realize things like their computer’s age and their wireless setups can have as much impact on Internet usage as the service they get from the provider.

However, when differentiating between asymmetrical and symmetrical Internet speeds, some analysts believe symmetrical ones have superior capabilities to meet current and future needs. Again, asymmetrical services offer faster downloads than uploads. That characteristic does not fit how many consumers use online services today.

For example, the common action of someone syncing their smartphone with Google’s services requires uploading huge files to the cloud, which takes a long time on asymmetrical connections. Moreover, products like the Ring doorbell and many file backup services require robust upload capabilities and swift download speeds.

These realities mean people will find symmetrical speeds provide smoother experiences, for personal and business use alike.

Asymmetrical Speeds Could Hinder Website Management Efforts

A straightforward way to think about upload speeds is that they represent how fast people can add new material to the Internet. When people choose hosting providers before launching a site, they often think about future growth and scalability. For example, if a person selects a cloud provider for their hosting needs, the service has massive amounts of bandwidth and storage readily available as needed. A customer pays more per month to use it as their requirements increase.

However, people must also stay mindful of how asymmetrical speeds could pose difficulties if they plan to use the Internet to do things like uploading tens of thousands of images for an online store or posting weekend-long webinars for people who paid for passes.

Recommendations suggest that content creators look for minimum upload speeds of 12 Mbps but recognize that people using the Internet for business reasons may need services more in the range of 100 to 500 Mbps to feel satisfied.

Thus, symmetrical speeds could give some users the kind of consistency they need for hassle-free content creation and distribution. In the earlier days of the Internet, many people engaged in more downloading than uploading activity. Things are changing now, however, and that shift makes asymmetrical connections impractical in some cases.

Symmetrical Speeds Lead to Smoother Live Video Use

As the world grappled with the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it soon became apparent that the sudden, dramatic increase in people staying home and doing more things online could put a strain on the Internet infrastructure.

Analysts pointed out that fiber-to-home services generally provide symmetrical speeds. Thus, they give better performance as people do activities requiring live video streaming, such as taking an online class or having a virtual meeting with colleagues.

On the other hand, DSL and cable networks are predominately asymmetrical and give people much slower upload speeds. The reduced upload quickness could cause frustration to users who regularly engage with live videos for work or other essential purposes.

What’s the Better Option?

People must take the time to weigh their options before choosing asymmetrical or symmetrical speeds for their Internet access. Evolving ways for using the Internet today mean symmetrical options are often more suitable and satisfying. They provide continually reliable performance, whether a person uploads or downloads content. That advantage appeals to business owners and individuals who primarily use the Internet for pleasure.

GigabitNow always provides symmetrical connections. GigabitNow delivers the same fast, reliable speed for uploads and downloads, so all of your devices work flawlessly. Check out our Internet plans to find out which one is right for you.


Published: January 06, 2021 • Guest Author: Devin Partida