What is a good upload speed?
Generally, a good upload speed to shoot for is 5 Mbps. Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) usually has speeds up to 1.5 Mbps, while cable internet can have upload speeds from 5 Mbps to 50 Mbps.
For most online activities, even ADSL’s 1.5 Mbps is more than enough for a smooth internet experience. Upload speed becomes much more important if you want to use video chat, upload high-resolution images, or livestream video from your home.
If you use your home network for work, school, or streaming on a regular basis, ADSL’s low upload speeds are definitely going to be a problem. At the very minimum, you’re going to want to find a cable provider that has upload speeds on the high end, between 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps.
An even better solution for those who rely on uploading is fiber, as long as it’s available in your area. Fiber-optic networks have symmetrical upload speeds, which means if you have a 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) connection, you have 1 Gbps upload and 1 Gbps download speeds. Fiber is also the most reliable type of connection, making your livestream much less likely to have issues—even if you stream at peak-use times.
While it’s tempting to dismiss upload bandwidth as something needed only by businesses and content creators, it’s worth noting that upload traffic increased dramatically after the COVID-19 outbreak as people had to figure out new ways to live their lives at a distance.1 For many households trying to keep up with work, school, and social connections, upload speed suddenly became the bottleneck.