The Hawaiian Telcom Blog

Symmetrical Internet Offers Same Upload, Download Speeds

By Nicholas Theuriet on Dec 20, 2022 9:20:16 AM

Tags: Internet/WiFi, Fiber Internet

What is symmetrical internet?

Internet speeds continue to get faster as technology becomes more advanced. However, internet service providers usually focus on providing faster down­load speeds, but this is only half of the service. Upload speeds are typically much lower. Symmetrical internet provides the same upload and download speed. For example, a 500/500 mega­bits per second (Mbps) connection offers upload and download speeds of 500 Mbps. When upload and download speeds are different, you have asymmetrical internet.

Who will benefit from symmetrical internet?

  • Businesses: Efficient day-to-day business operations rely on fast internet speeds for handling the required amount of data. Businesses are sending, uploading and moving more information than ever. Large files are shared with co- workers to increase collaboration. Employees send out emails with large attachments and use cloud applications to upload and download files throughout the day. Point-of-sale systems need to process transactions in a timely manner. All these processes require fast upload speeds and will benefit from symmetrical internet.

  • Work-from-home employees: If you work from home, you might require fast internet speeds, but you may also have other internet users in your home taking up their share of the upload speed. Attending online meetings and video calls require quality upload speeds to come out clear and professional to the other participants.

  • Residences with large number of internet users/devices: Among the four of us in my home, we have 19 devices for work, school and personal use. When everyone is home and online, we’re putting the most demand on the network — working, online schoolwork collaboration, gaming, security cameras, mobile devices and other uses. Faster upload speeds give each of our devices the share of speed we need when we need it.

  • Students: During the pandemic, distance learning required even more upload bandwidth. Taking online classes, collaborating with other students on cloud-based services, and sharing files were essential to the learning process. Electronically turning in classwork, projects and other homework requires a good upload speed, especially when running up against a deadline. PDFs, PowerPoint files and other graphic-heavy uploads can grow quite large very easily. Uploading a 1 gigabyte file over a 10 Mbps upload connection takes 15 minutes, whereas it takes only about 30 seconds when the upload speed is 300 Mbps.

  • Web content creators: Web content creators’ work covers a wide range of projects, such as marketing collateral, emails, websites, blogs, videos and more. Every piece of such content must be uploaded. Doing so with a slow upload connection decreases productivity.

Which one should I get?

The answer to that question comes down to for what purpose you are using the internet connection. With a small number of users who use it only for browsing the internet, streaming movies, viewing social media and email, the difference between symmetrical and asymmetrical speeds will be less noticeable.

Symmetrical speeds give your network the bump needed for multiple users to host or attend online meetings, upload files to external servers or video content sites like YouTube, host livestreams, and anything else that requires a heavy data upstream. When you have multiple people and devices on your network, each one takes up some of that upload speed.

Most businesses can certainly benefit from a symmetrical connection, especially as the number of employees on the network grows. For residential users it comes down to how many users and devices you have and how much demand you are putting on the network.


Nicholas Theuriet is a product manager at Hawaiian Telcom. Reach him at

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