What is symmetrical speed, and why should you (and your business) care?

Based on the name, you can take a pretty good guess of what symmetrical internet speeds are. Basically, it means your data travels at the same speeds in either direction. Your download and upload speeds are equal, and you can do the two simultaneously equally fast. This is just what you’ll enjoy with TDS Fiber services.

If you have an asymmetrical connection now, your upload speeds are slower than your download speeds. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you’re surfing the web at home, as many people are more concerned with downloading content from the internet than uploading it. However, over a cable connection, asymmetric speed can present a unique challenge both at home and at work.

The nature of the other beast

If you’re on a cable connection, the speed you experience is somewhat dependent on how (and when) your neighbors are using their internet. It not really anyone’s fault, it’s just the nature of how a cable network works. Coaxial cable can’t carry the same amount of data as fiber can and lots of people share that bandwidth.

This is why your internet may slow down after you get home from work or school—more people online equals slower speeds.

Enter an office scenario. Employees in a large office are constantly downloading and uploading content simultaneously—and often lots of it. Web conferences, Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs, uploading sales videos, and so many other applications eat up a lot of bandwidth quickly.

If you don’t have enough bandwidth to run all of these applications at the same time, or are impacted by what the business next door is trying to do to run their company, it will mean less efficiency for you.

This growing need for two-way connections—at home and at work—paves the way for fiber optic internet connectivity. As your business or what you do online grows and your use of cloud-based services increases, your need for symmetrical speed may grow as well.

The very different nature of TDS Fiber

TDS Fiber is a very different animal from other technologies. Fiber-optic cable is capable of carrying massive amounts of data quickly, plus, fiber networks are built so far fewer customers share that massive quantity of bandwidth. This means your internet style isn’t likely to be cramped, no matter what you do online.

Consider uploading videos to your favorite photo sharing site or your business website. With a standard cable connection, 100MB of photos could take you three minutes with a 60Mbps connection…more if you’re experiencing a “slow day.” On a fiber connection with 300Mbps, that same upload will take you three seconds—every day.

If uploading videos is more your cup of tea, consider that with 60Mbps speed, a 500MB upload will take you 17 minutes over cable, but only 14 seconds over 300Mbps fiber.

The future

While both asymmetrical and symmetrical speeds have their benefits, symmetrical is taking off as the future of internet connection with business demands continue to grow. And, no matter what you do with TDS Fiber’s symmetrical speeds, we think you can expect it to be a pretty wait-free and frustration-free experience.

Written by Mary Mulcahy and Missy Kellor

Mary is PR Intern at TDS Telecom and a Journalism student at UW-Madison. She recently returned from studying abroad in Galway, Ireland. In her free time she enjoys traveling, running, cooking, and reading.

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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