Upload Speed Faster Than Download Speed?

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This is why your upload speed can be faster than your download speed.

You’ll learn:

  • The technical details of why your upload speed is faster than your download speed
  • How to fix your download speed
  • Lots more

So if you want to understand why your upload speed is faster than your download speed and how to fix it, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in!

Why Is My Upload Speed Faster Than My Download?

We’ve arrived at a point where a good Internet connection is a must.

It used to be that only gamers and avid movie fans were sticklers for high internet speeds. 

Today, both our kids and our parents will instantly notice when the Wi-Fi is lagging, and the YouTube video won’t buffer.

When you do an internet speed test to see if your speeds live up to your provider’s promise, you might notice that your upload speed is faster than the download. While that doesn’t have to be a big problem, it might be a sign of something you need to fix.

Let’s learn more about internet speeds and fixing this potential problem:

Internet Speeds Explained: What Is a Good Speed?

Your internet speed signifies how fast data moves from the World Wide Web to your devices and vice-versa. It’s measured in Mbps (Megabits per Second), and it can depend on a lot of factors.

Apart from the package you get from your provider, your home’s internet speed can be affected by everything from the type of your connection (wireless or Ethernet) to your devices’ specs.

So, how do we define a good internet speed?

That will largely depend on what you’re using the internet for. Streaming (especially live streaming) will require good speeds. 

Still, basic tasks like browsing or email correspondence will need much lower speeds. This means that a 5 Mbps connection can be both slow (if you’re planning on using it for streaming) and fast (if all you’re doing is browsing).

Here is a guide from the FCC detailing the minimum download speed requirements for different activities. Note that these are the minimum requirements, so they go up to 25 Mbps. That’s because anything above 25 Mbps is considered an “advanced” service:

ActivityMinimum Download Speed (Mbps)
General Usage 
General Browsing and Email1
Streaming Online RadioLess than 0.5
VoIP CallsLess than 0.5
Student5 – 25
Telecommuting5 – 25
File Downloading10
Social Media1
Watching Video 
Streaming Standard Definition Video3 – 4
Streaming High Definition (HD) Video5 – 8
Streaming Ultra HD 4K Video25
Video Conferencing 
Standard Personal Video Call (e.g., Skype)1
HD Personal Video Call (e.g., Skype)1.5
HD Video Teleconferencing6
Gaming 
Game Console Connecting to the Internet3
Online Multiplayer4

However, in practice, 25 Mbps speeds are fairly common. With recent innovations in the 5G field, these download speeds will soon be considered low to moderate.

Download Speed vs. Upload Speed

Download speed is usually considered more important than upload. Most of our online activities rely on consuming or receiving content rather than uploading. 

So, your download speed doesn’t only refer to how quickly you can download files. It’s also about how quickly your YouTube video loads, what resolution you can watch, and how fast website pages load. 

Essentially, everything that needs to be loaded, downloaded, and consumed in any other way will rely on your download speed.

While download speed tells you how fast you receive data from the Web, upload speeds tell us how quickly the data moves in the opposite direction.

You might think that your upload speed is only essential for uploading and sending larger files, but it’s much more than that. 

Your video and audio calls, streaming, and other activities to output any type of content online will all be affected by your upload speed.

These two speeds work together to give you the best browsing experience in receiving content and interacting with it. When it comes specifically to gaming, one more variable plays a crucial part: ping.

Simply put, ping refers to the reaction of your connection or how quickly the application (in this case, the game) can execute your command. 

Ping below 20 milliseconds is considered very good. Anything above 40ms might result in laggy, delayed gameplay.

Is It Normal for Upload Speeds to Be Faster Than Download?

Since we spend so much of our time downloading data from the internet, download speeds are usually required to be a lot faster than upload speeds. 

So, it’s pretty expected to execute a speed test and see that your download speeds are orders of magnitude larger than upload.

Screenshot of speedtest
[Speedtest]

However, many providers sell services that promise 50/50 or 100/100 connections, which means that you’ll have 100Mbps for both your download and upload speed. 

And, since networks can be congested (if a lot of people are online simultaneously), you might get a different result in practice. 

For example, now that many people are working from home, you might find that your 100/100 internet is actually closer to 81/90 in reality.

Apart from something like this, your download speed will almost always be faster than upload. If it’s the other way around and the gap is significant, there are some other possible explanations.

Why Is Your Upload Speed Faster Than Download?

As already mentioned, your Internet speed is affected by almost anything in the chain, from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) infrastructure to the device you’re using and other devices in your home that might be using the same signal.

Here are some basic troubleshooting steps you need to take to get to the bottom of the issue:

  • Reset the router/modem/device: It may well be that you’re having a software issue with your router, modem, or PC/laptop/smartphone. Resetting any of these devices is often the first step you need to take to see if the problem is real and long-term rather than just a bug.
  • Try different devices: If your laptop shows low internet speeds, connect another laptop/PC from your household on the same connection. This will help you whether the problem is your device or your connection.
  • Call your provider: If none of the things above tell you what the problem is, you might want to call your provider instantly. They might tell you that they’re aware of the problem and it’s affecting your whole region. In a lot of cases, they’ll be able to solve your issue in a few hours.

Identifying Your Issue and Finding a Solution

If you want to solve the issue on your own, here are some routes you can take:

Issues With Your PC

There are several issues with your PC that could be holding your internet speed back. 

You can start by disabling and enabling your network adapter. Go to your Control Panel, select network and internet, and then Change Adapter Settings. 

A new window will open, showing all your available connections. Choose the one you’re having issues with (Wi-Fi or Ethernet), right-click on it, and select “Disable.”

Restart your PC, come back to the same place, and select “Enable” to see if your problem has been solved.

You could also try to uninstall your network adapter driver. But, before deciding to do this, visit your PC manufacturer’s website and download the latest network adapter driver to have it as a backup.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Device Manager (type it in your search bar and hit Enter).
  2. Find the Network Adapters and expand the section.
  3. Find the network adapter for your device, right-click on it, and select “uninstall device.”
  4. Check the “Delete the driver software for this device” box and wait until it’s uninstalled.
  5. Restart your computer.

Your PC should automatically find and install the latest driver. If it doesn’t, you can install the one you downloaded as a backup.

Issues With Your Router

There might be some software or hardware issues with your router. Reset the router and see if that fixes your problem. If it doesn’t, access your router settings to try and change some things around.

To access your router, you’ll need to find its IP address. It’s usually 192.168.1.1. or 192.168.0.1, so try both of these. 

Open a new tab in your browser, type in one of these numbers, and hit Enter. If nothing happens, you’ll need to find your router address manually.

Type “command prompt” in your search bar and hit Enter. 

When the Command Prompt opens, enter “ipconfig” and hit Enter. 

You’ll see a bunch of letters and numbers, but the only thing you’re looking for is the “Default Gateway.” 

Right next to that, you’ll see your router’s IP address. Type that address into your browser, hit Enter, and you’ll see your router login page.

Check the back of your router or the box it came in to see your username and password. Enter those in the required fields, and you’re in!

From there, you can access various settings that have something to do with your internet connection. 

For example, one issue that could affect your download speed is the WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) Support: a feature that prioritizes “time-dependent” traffic like video chat. Disabling this setting could help increase your download speeds.

In your router settings, find a page/tab called “QoS.” This stands for Quality of Service, and it’ll usually be nested under something like “Advanced settings,” “Traffic control,” “Applications and Gaming,” or something similar.

There, you might see the “Enable WMM” setting you’re looking for. Turn it off and see if it solved your problem.

Issues With Your Cable

Believe it or not, the solution to your problem might be as simple as trying a different Ethernet cable. 

Your Ethernet connection is duplex: it receives and transmits simultaneously using different wires and pins for receiving and transmitting. It might be that your receiving wires or pins on the connector are having issues while the transmitting ones are working fine.

Try changing your cable if you’re experiencing these issues.

Issues With Your Provider

Finally, your Internet Service Provider might be making a mistake in the way they deliver the service to your household.

Call them and express your concern—they might instantly see that they’re connecting too many people to the same network, causing you (and possibly many others) to experience issues with their download speed.

Do this, especially if your download speeds are consistently low on all devices and vary throughout the day. Suppose you notice that your internet is particularly slow during internet “rush hour” (when most people finish with work or around 2 pm when everyone is awake and online). 

In that case, this is a good indicator that the issue might be with your ISP.

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