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How Important Are Download Speed, Upload Speed & Ping?

download speed, upload speed and ping

When you’re looking for a new broadband deal or doing a speedtest, you’ll see three key metrics appear. If you’re not sure what these three mean, it can certainly be confusing as to what is good and what is not. Download speed, upload speed and ping all contribute to the overall performance of your internet - in this article you’ll learn exactly what each one means and how you should measure them.

What is download speed?

Download speed is how fast your internet connection is able to access and pull data from a server to your device. Simply put, it is how quick something loads before it is fully accessible. A faster download speed will help you with activities based around you pulling information, such as video streaming, downloading movies and music, loading webpages and so on.

What is a good download speed?

Download speed is now generally measured in megabytes per second (Mbps); however, in the past it used to be measured in kilobytes (Kbps) when speeds were not quite as fast as they are now. With the widespread installation of fibre optics across the UK, download speeds in general have shot up. A large portion of the population is now eligible for speeds up to 300 Mbps, some even qualifying for 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps).

  • It is difficult to qualify what makes a ‘good download speed’, as this depends on your usage habits, but 50 Mbps will certainly be sufficient for most households.


2 Mbps


To stream HD
quality music

10 Mbps


To stream Full HD (1080p) video with HD audio



What is upload speed?

Conversely to download speed, upload speed is the speed in which your internet is able to send data and information to a server from your device. This is essentially the speed, and ultimately the time, it takes until either a person or a robot is able to read or see your data. This is very important for such activities as video calling, gaming and sending large files.

What is a good upload speed?

Much like download speed, upload speed is now generally measured in megabytes per second (Mbps). Most broadband setups generally used to be designed much more in favour of download speed, seeing upload speed take quite a large back seat; however, since the shift to fibre optics, both metrics have proven to be much steadier. If you are gaming with your internet setup, you should definitely make sure you have an upload speed that is high enough to maintain a high standard gameplay.

  • For most households, upload speed isn’t as important as download speed; however, it should still be no lower than 10 Mbps for most families. If you are gaming, then you should try and match download speed with upload speed.

What is ping?

Ping is a measure of the response speed between two devices when they send information between themselves via a network. The faster the response time between the two devices, the better your experience will be when the nature of your activity is reliant on the two devices sending information to eachother in a timely fashion. This is very important for online gaming as information is sent from each player between a server.

What is a good ping?

Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms). As this is the count of milliseconds that it takes to get a server response. As a rule of thumb, if you have less than 50 ms ping, you should be ok for all manner of activity; however, anything above that and you could begin to see lag online, especially when playing online games. If you have a fibre optic connection, you will most likely find that your internet is much more stable and your ping times are a lot lower. If you no one in your household plays online games, you should not worry too much about your ping level, but it is still something to bear in mind.


How do I check the these metrics?

In order to check how your internet performs, you will need to be using the connection at the time; this cannot be done remotely. You should use a quick speed testing tool. This will allow you to quickly see how you perform at that exact moment. If you have cable broadband, you will probably find that your connection strength depends on time of day and the amount of people using it; however, fibre optics should keep you rather stable regardless.

Do a quick speed test