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Symmetrical vs asymmetrical internet: what’s the difference?

Symmetrical vs asymmetrical internet

The main difference between symmetric and asymmetric internet is that symmetric internet has equal download and upload speeds while asymmetric internet typically has greater download speeds than upload speeds.

Choosing the right internet speed for your home can already be a confusing task.

Determining whether you require a symmetric internet connection for your needs can be an even more complex decision.

In this article, we explain the difference between symmetrical and asymmetrical internet speeds, and when a symmetric or asymmetric internet connection might be right for you.

Before we address symmetric vs asymmetric internet connections, let’s first define the differences between upload and download speeds.

The difference between upload and download speeds

  • Upload speed is the speed at which your internet connection will allow data to be sent from your devices to the internet.
  • Download speed is the speed at which your internet connection is able to retrieve data from the internet.

Why is upload speed important?

Upload speed has an effect on uploading files, video conferencing, VOIP calling and online gaming. An inadequate upload speed can make you appear to freeze or cause your audio to break up on a Zoom conference call.

It also can make a huge difference in how long it takes to upload a video.

If you are, for example, uploading a 1 GB video file for a school project, it will take 3 minutes and 45 seconds to upload on a 40Mbps connection and 1 to 2 seconds on a 940 Mbps connection.

Estimated time to upload a 1 GB video to YouTube:

Upload Speed File Size Time To Upload
10 Mbps 1 GB 14 Minutes 40 Seconds
20 Mbps 1 GB 7 Minutes 10 Seconds
30 Mbps 1 GB 4 Minutes 45 Seconds
40 Mbps 1 GB 3 Minutes 35 Seconds
100 Mbps 1 GB 1 Minute 25 Seconds
200 Mbps 1 GB 40 Seconds
300 Mbps 1 GB 30 Seconds
400 Mbps 1 GB 20 Seconds
500 Mbps 1 GB 15 - 17 Seconds
940 Mbps 1 GB 9 Seconds
1200 Mbps 1 GB 7 Seconds
2000 Mbps 1 GB 4 - 5 Seconds
Upload Speed
10 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
14 Minutes 40 Seconds
Upload Speed
20 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
7 Minutes 10 Seconds
Upload Speed
30 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
4 Minutes 45 Seconds
Upload Speed
40 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
3 Minutes 35 Seconds
Upload Speed
100 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
1 Minute 25 Seconds
Upload Speed
200 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
40 Seconds
Upload Speed
300 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
30 Seconds
Upload Speed
400 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
20 Seconds
Upload Speed
500 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
15 - 17 Seconds
Upload Speed
940 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
9 Seconds
Upload Speed
1200 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
7 Seconds
Upload Speed
2000 Mbps
File Size
1 GB
Time To Upload
4 - 5 Seconds

Calculations based off download/upload time calculator.

What upload speeds do I need?

The upload speed you need depends on how your household uses the internet, how many devices you have connected, and how many users are online at the same time.

Evaluating the upload speeds you need depend on how you use your internet:

  • Live Streaming – The upload speed necessary for Live Streaming varies by platform and video file size. In general, the recommended upload speed is 3 Mbps for 480p, 6Mps for 720p and 13 Mbps for 1080p.
  • Video Uploads – For uploading videos, the minimum upload speed is 2Mbps. However, unless your videos are just a few seconds long, that’s probably too slow. You’ll see much better results with an upload speed of 20Mbps.
  • Video Calls – For group calls, 1.5Mbps upload speed is enough for clear sound and video.

Not sure if you’re getting the speeds you need? Test your internet connection.

What is symmetric internet?

A symmetrical internet connection provides users with upload and download speeds that are the same.

For example, with Symmetric Gig Internet, your download speed is 940 Mbps and your upload speed will also be 940Mbps.

Example of symmetrical internet speed

Plan Details Download Speed Upload Speed Order Now
Symmetric Gig Internet 940 Mbps 940 Mbps Check For Service
Plan Details
Symmetric Gig Internet
Download Speed
940 Mbps
Upload Speed
940 Mbps
Order Now
Check For Service

Only available in select areas.

When should you consider a symmetric internet connection?

Many internet connections these days are asymmetric, meaning you typically receive 40-50 Mbps upload speeds.

Since the advent of the internet, this was sufficient for most online activities such as streaming TV shows, browsing the internet, or connecting a few smart home devices.

However, as the uses of the internet have evolved, including the 18% increase of IoT devices in the home, so have the requirements on upload speeds.

A symmetric internet connection might be right if you:

  • Are a Business Owner – A fast upload speed is imperative for businesses to ensure employees can share files, post to social media, upload videos, and do everything that their daily routine requires with no slowdowns. Astound for Business offers Business Class Internet featuring a symmetric fiber internet connection to keep you and your company connected.
  • Are a Remote Worker – When you work from home, the internet is what connects you to coworkers, clients and more. Nimble upload speeds to make sure large files like PDFs and graphics can be uploaded quickly, as well as to make video calls run smoothly, are a job requirement.
  • Are a Content Creator – When your livelihood is dependent on getting content to viewers, excellent upload speeds are a must to make sure images, videos and livestreams are delivered to your audience efficiently.
  • Are a Livestreamer – You need solid, swift upload speeds to power a high quality livestream that keeps viewers tuned in and ensures smooth, high-quality game play.
  • Are a Student – Even if you aren’t learning remotely, accelerated upload speeds mean you can send that massive project to your professor quickly and confidently.

What is asymmetric internet?

An asymmetric internet connection means that download and upload speeds aren’t equal.

Generally, download speeds are faster than upload speeds. For example, with a download speed of 100 Mbps, your upload speed will only be 5 Mbps.

Examples of asymmetrical internet speeds

Download speed Upload speed Order now
100 Mbps 5 Mbps Check For Service
250 Mbps 10 Mbps Check For Service
500 Mbps 10 Mbps Check For Service
Download speed
100 Mbps
Upload speed
5 Mbps
Order now
Check For Service
Download speed
250 Mbps
Upload speed
10 Mbps
Order now
Check For Service
Download speed
500 Mbps
Upload speed
10 Mbps
Order now
Check For Service

When should you consider an asymmetric internet connection?

While symmetric internet is useful for certain tasks, it may not be the best option for you if you don’t upload a lot of files or won’t be hampered by an occasional slowdown in the speed of your network.

An asymmetric internet connection might be right if you:

  • Are looking to save money – Asymmetric internet connections can sometimes be less expensive than symmetric connections.
  • Only need fast download speeds – Even though uploading will take longer, you’ll still get fast download speeds with an asymmetrical connection. If uploading isn’t a high priority for you, you’ll likely be happy with an asymmetrical connection.
  • You mostly use the internet for web surfing – You can be perfectly content with an asymmetrical connection if you primarily use the internet to search the web or post on social media.
  • You only have one user on your network – If you live alone or usually only have one person online at a time, symmetric internet is likely overkill.
  • Have an older modem – If your modem is older than DOCSIS 3.1, it isn’t compatible with symmetric internet.

Symmetrical vs asymmetrical internet: What should you choose?

Like many things, choosing a symmetric vs asymmetric internet connection depends on what you use your internet for.

If you are looking to save money, only use the internet for surfing the web, or don’t upload videos or other media often, then asymmetric internet might be the right choice for you.

However, if you own a business, create content, work remotely or livestream, then a symmetric internet connection will give you everything you need.

Ready to get started? Get connected today with Astound symmetric internet services.

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Disclaimers

*Internet download speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to receive advertised speeds. Observed speeds may vary based on device connection & other factors outside of Astound’s control. All advertised speeds are up to the stated speeds and are not guaranteed; speed may vary due to conditions outside of network control, including customer location, sites accessed, number of devices connected, customer usage, customer equipment and computer configuration, the level of overall traffic, and customer compliance with Astound usage policies set forth in the acceptable usage policy. See astound.com/yourspeed for why speeds may vary. Our FCC Network Management Disclosure makes available information regarding our network management practices and the performance and commercial terms of our Internet access services to enable you to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of our services, in accordance with Part 8 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Modem required for internet service. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

Not all services, speeds, packages, equipment, channels, tiers, pricing, streaming services, product offerings and product features are available in all areas. Offers valid only for new residential customers or previous customers with account in good standing who have not had our service within the last 60 days. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. Other restrictions may apply.

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, Astound Broadband is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom Astound Broadband has no control. Astound Broadband makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other websites.

Astound Broadband substantiates that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

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