should download be faster than upload

Got slow download but fast upload speeds over wireless? Here's a fix. If you find that your wireless download speeds are abysmal while your uploads speeds are pretty solid, especially with Apple devices, I’ve got a possible solution for you. I struggled with this issue for a while and decided to write down my findings in a blog post in case I, or anyone else, runs into this in the future. tldr : disable WMM QoS in your router settings. Symptoms. At home, I have the following setup: Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router Macbook Air: OS X 10.7.1, Intel Core i7 1.8Ghz, 4GB RAM iPhone 4S: iOS 5.0 Custom desktop: Windows 7, Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0Ghz, 2GB RAM ISP: Comcast xfinity. Whenever I used my laptop or phone, the Wi-Fi connection felt incredibly slow. Youtube videos took forever to load, Google Maps tiles filled in slowly, and even gmail felt unresponsive. On the other hand, my desktop, which was connected to the router via an ethernet cable, worked just fine. Numbers. To confirm my observations, I decided to take some bandwidth measurements using,, and for the laptop and the Speed Test app for the iPhone. The results were pretty consistent across all app and device pairs and looked something like this: Desktop. Download: 24 Mbps Upload: 4.5 Mbps. Laptop. Download: 0.65 Mbps Upload: 4.5 Mbps. iPhone. Download: 0.58 Mbps Upload: 4.4 Mbps. Yikes! My laptop and iPhone download speed were more than 30 times slower than my desktop’s download speed! On the other hand, the upload speed was roughly the same on all devices. What the hell was going on? Failed attempts. After googling for solutions, I tried a number of tweaks commonly suggested around the web: Change DNS hosts Change wireless channel Change the wireless channel width Use a different security mode (WPA2 personal) Shut off firewalls Enable or disable IPv6 settings Reboot the router. None of these worked. The solution. Out of desperation, I started tweaking random settings on my router and stumbled across one that finally worked. The directions for other routers may be a little different, but here’s what I did: Go to and login to your router. If you’ve never done this, look for instructions that came with your router or should download be faster than upload do a google search to find the default username and password. Find a page that has QoS settings. For the E1200, you need to click on “Applications & Gaming” and select the “QoS” sub-menu. Disable WMM Support . Click save. That’s it. The second I disabled WMM support, the download speeds for my laptop and iPhone both jumped to 24 Mbps, perfectly matching my desktop. What the hell is WMM? WMM is apparently an 802.11e feature that provides higher priority for “time-dependent” traffic, such as video or voice. In theory, this should make things like VoIP calls and video chat (e.g. Skype) perform better. In practice, having it enabled destroyed my Wi-Fi download speeds. Since I disabled it, my Wi-Fi is blazing fast and I’ve seen no negative side-effects. If anyone has more information as to why this would be the case, please share it here. Update (April, 2014): firmware upgrades. A couple years after writing this blog post, should download be faster than upload I hit the inverse of the original problem: I suddenly had fast download but slow upload speeds. While looking for a fix, I found out that the WMM/QoS issue mentioned above may have been fixed in newer firmware versions for my router! I once again wrote a blog post to capture all the details: Got fast download but slow upload speeds? Here’s a fix. Update (Sept, 2013): some nitty-gritty details. In the last year, this post has had over 100k views and helped many people fix their download speeds. I’m happy I was able to help people. Other folks have been eager to share should download be faster than upload advice too: I got an email from a Russ Washington in Atlanta who did some impressive investigative work to uncover a potential underlying cause. In case it helps others, here is his email: Yevgeniy: I ran into your blog post "Got slow download but fast upload speeds over wireless? Here's a fix." I have some info you may find useful. This happened to me too when I moved to Comcast - but I had DSL running in parallel. The Comcast traffic had this problem but the DSL did not. Also, it affected my Linksys router when it had stock firmware *and* after switching to DD-WRT. Clearly the traffic itself was at issue, so I broke out the packet sniffer. *All* inbound Comcast traffic (Internet --> client) was tagged with a DSCP value of 8 (Class Selector 1). The DSL traffic had a DSCP value of 0. So Comcast is tagging all traffic to be treated a certain way by QoS: "Priority," which sounds good but is actually the second-*lowest* possible. WMM, itself a QoS technique, apparently de-prioritizes (drops?) based on the Comcast-supplied value. should download be faster than upload Turning off WMM worked around it - but since WMM is part of the 802.11n spec, I wanted root cause. Judiciously replacing that set-by-Comcast DSCP value does the trick. So between my Linksys router and both ISPs, I had a Netscreen firewall. It lets me set DSCP values by policy - so I told it to match the DSL (DSCP 0). This yielded great improvement. However, I was still not getting full speed so even a zero value was not the best for > DSL rates. I set the DSCP value to 46 (Expedited Forwarding) and bingo, up to 20Mbps, almost full provisioned speed (25Mbps). Why only download issues? Because the only Comcast-tagged packets are the inbound ones: Internet --> you, including those big data packets. When uploading, yes, you get sent ACK packets and such - but they are tiny connection-control packets. I imagine WWM weirds out on them too, but you (usually) wouldn't notice when doing multi-Mbps speed tests. I am still trying to udnerstand WMM, but this was a big find, and I was lucky to have a firewall that let me packet-tweak. Hope you find the info useful. Russ Washington, Atlanta, GA. Update (Sept, 2014): more nitty-gritty details. Russ has found even more info about this issue: it turns out it’s not just a Comcast DSCP bug, but also poor handling of this bug by the firmware of many routers. More details here: Critical DSCP bug Affecting WiFi Download Speeds on Comcast. Fetch Softworks. Your best friend for file transfer. For many users, uploading files is quite a bit slower than downloading files. This is usually normal, because most high-speed Internet connections, including cable modems and DSL, are asymmetric — they are designed to provide much better speed for downloading than uploading. Since most users spend much more time downloading (which includes viewing web pages or multimedia files) than they do uploading, high speed Internet providers have designed their systems to give priority to downloading. So if your upload speed appears to be slower than your download speed, this is probably expected. Another factor to be aware of is that providers advertise their speeds in kilo bits , whereas Fetch reports speeds in kilo bytes . 8 bits equal 1 byte, so the numbers you see in Fetch will appear to be smaller than the numbers advertised for your connection. You must multiply the number you see in Fetch by 8 for an accurate comparison. For instance, a 384/128 DSL connection is rated for 384 kilobits per second download, and 128 kilobits per second upload — which is equivalent to 48 kilobytes per second download and 16 kilobytes per second upload. Your upload and download speeds will almost never match the maximum advertised speed of your connection. It's normal to only get 80-90% of the advertised maximum, and in the small print of your service provider's advertising you'll find that they only promise "up to" the advertised speed, not that you will always get that speed. This happens for several reasons. First, your connection may be shared with other people in your building or neighborhood, so if a lot of other people are using the Internet you may experience a slowdown. Second, servers may be busy uploading and downloading files for many different users, so they are unable to provide the maximum possible speed for your files. Finally, other network activity on your computer may slow down your transfer, since it must all share the same connection. If you try to transfer two files at the same time (in different transfer windows), each transfer will go slower because Fetch must split the network connection between them. Surfing the web or answering your email should only have a minor impact on transfer speeds. Nevertheless, if you feel you are getting slower transfer speeds than normal, there are websites that you can use to test your connection speed. Your Internet service provider may have one, or you can try one such as the speed test. If you are repeatedly getting transfer speeds much lower than the ones reported by a test, you should try transferring your files to a different server to see if they go faster; and if so, contact your main server's administrator to see if there is a problem. © Copyright 2000 – 2020 from your friends at Fetch Softworks. Upload vs. download speed: what’s the difference? You thought you got a lightning-fast internet speed when suddenly, you go

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to upload a video to Facebook and your internet slows to a crawl. Enter the spinning wheel of doom. You’ve just encountered the wrath of slow internet upload speeds. How internet speed works. Internet speeds are measured by how much data your internet connection can transfer per second, which is megabits of data per second (Mbps). The internet speeds you see in Mbps measure the rate at which a provider delivers internet data to and from your home (commonly referred to as download speed). Data also goes in two directions — you download and upload information from the internet, so each internet connection will have download speeds and upload speeds. What is download speed? Download speed refers to how many megabits of data per second it takes to download data from a server in the form of images, videos, text and more. Activities such as listening to music on Spotify, downloading large files or streaming videos on Netflix all require you to download data. What is a good download speed? In general, speeds of at least 25 Mbps are considered good download speeds since they meet the minimum broadband threshold set by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Keep in mind though that the number of devices, your online activity and internet users in your home can change what is a good download speed for your household. What is upload speed? Upload speed refers to how many megabits of data per second you can send information from your computer to another device or server on the internet. While downloading information is more common, some online activities need data to travel in the opposite direction. Sending emails, playing live tournament-style video games and video calling a friend require fast upload speeds for you to send data to someone else’s server. What is a good upload speed? Again, in general, upstream speeds of 3 Mbps are considered good upload speeds because they meet the FCC’s minimum standard. If you or anyone in your household regularly uploads videos to YouTube or works from home, though, you may need a plan with higher upload speeds. What is internet bandwidth? Bandwidth is kind of like a highway—the more lanes you have, the more room you give to traveling cars, which lets cars both go faster and let a higher volume of cars through to their destination. Mbps is a good indicator of how much bandwidth your home Wi-Fi connection has. The more internet bandwidth you have, the higher your volume of data that can be downloaded at a reasonable pace. And you can increase the speed at which the data travels because more of it can flow. So what kind of bandwidth do you need? When you consider what internet speeds you need for different activities, you should take into account both download and upload speeds. Depending on what your favorite online activities are, one may be more important than the other. Download speed vs. upload speed. Many providers offer internet plans with far faster download speeds than upload. For instance, AT&T download and upload internet speeds can have as much as an 80 Mbps difference between upload vs. download speed. Who has the fastest internet upload and download speeds. The internet

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speed you need depends heavily on your online activities and how many internet users you have at home. As you think about what activities you use the internet for at home, you may decide that having fast upload speeds is more important than download speeds. You may find that you don’t really need fast upload speeds and just want fast download speeds that can handle streaming on multiple devices. Provider internet download and upload speeds. Provider Download speed up to Upload speed up AT&T DSL 25 Mbps 5 Mbps AT&T DSL 75 Mbps 20 Mbps AT&T DSL 100 Mbps 20 Mbps AT&T Fiber 100 Mbps 100 Mbps AT&T Fiber 300 Mbps 300 Mbps AT&T Fiber 1,000 Mbps 1,000 Mbps Cox 30 Mbps 3 Mbps Cox 150 Mbps 10 Mbps Cox 300 Mbps 30 Mbps Spectrum 100 Mbps 10 Mbps Spectrum 200 Mbps 10 Mbps Spectrum 400 Mbps 35 Mbps Verizon Fios 100 Mbps 100 Mbps Verizon Fios 200 Mbps* 200 Mbps* Verizon Fios 300 Mbps 300 Mbps Verizon Fios 400 Mbps* 400 Mbps* Verizon Fios up to 940 Mbps up to 880 Mbps Xfinity 60 Mbps 5 Mbps Xfinity 250 Mbps 10 Mbps Xfinity 1,000 Mbps 35 Mbps Xfinity 2,000 Mbps 2,000 Mbps. *only for NYDMA – NY market. Why internet upload speeds are slow and download speeds are fast. Most providers focus on download speed vs. upload speed because the majority of online activities need more download bandwidth than upload bandwidth. As you’ll see below, most common online activities rely more upon fast download speeds. Since other activities that call for uploading data still require information to travel in both directions, the average person consistently needs higher download speeds than upload. However, fiber internet connections are a unique exception. Fiber internet providers frequently offer upload internet speeds that mirror download speeds. Upload vs. download: When download speeds matter. The following common activities rely more on download speeds: Watching a Netflix movie or show Shopping online Scrolling through social media Viewing YouTube videos Reading online articles Streaming music services. Upload vs. download: When internet upload speeds matter. Some activities do require a bit of upload bandwidth, though. Without adequate bandwidth, some of the following activities could result in users encountering slowed internet speeds or buffering: Video calls or conferences Live tournament-style gaming Sending emails with large attachments Backing up data to online or cloud storage services Uploading videos to social media Working on live, cloud-hosted documents like Google Sheets or Docs. How to check your internet speed. You can find out what your internet upload speed is and measure your download speed by using a free internet speed test. A speed test will measure both upload and download rates. We recommend testing internet speeds in multiple parts of your home to check consistency and see if you need to boost your Wi-Fi connection at home. No matter what your results are, it’s important to note that most people do not experience maximum speeds at home. This can be attributed to the number of other people on the network who use up bandwidth, how Wi-Fi signals weaken through a home and many other factors that can slow internet speeds. Originally published 10/18/18. Last updated 07/16/19.