When my family moved to Burlington a few years back, I took on the responsibility of getting internet for our apartment in the New North End. When I searched for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the area, I found our options were pretty much a big cable conglomerate that I’d had negative experiences with in the past or a small, local ISP.
And that was pretty much the extent of what I understood about internet service. Yup.
As I set about trying to compare pricing, I was swallowed whole by words and abbreviations I didn’t understand… Mbps, Gigabit, Copper, Fiber, Symmetrical. What does any of it mean? I just wanted fast, reliable internet. I had some serious Googling to do. I write this in the hopes of saving you some time as you decide on the best ISP for your home.
Simply put, symmetrical means that your download and upload speed are the same.
Think of an internet connection like a conversation between two people. The conversation is more balanced, rewarding and complete when there isn’t any interference or distraction.
If I’m the worldwide web and you’re a computer…
Download is you listening and taking in what I have to say.
Upload is you talking to me.
If the conversation is interrupted or can’t be heard, we must repeat ourselves over and over; it’s the human equivalent of buffering. The lost data is resent and having to resend the data just slows everything down.
The higher the download and upload speeds, the more conversations you can have with the internet. High download speeds, allows your computer to “listen” more to the web. High upload speeds allow you to “talk” more and both are necessary to have multiple conversations simultaneously.
Upload speeds are especially important for video conferencing, sharing large files, interactive learning, online gaming, advanced medical applications, and ‘cloud computing’ that involves ongoing communication between your device and the web. Each year your homes/lives fill with more devices and applications that demand more and faster connectivity. All these applications work better when upload and download speeds are equal. Fast download speeds are glorious. Symmetrical and fast…. That’s the golden ticket.
So now that you understand why symmetrical speeds are awesome, let’s talk briefly about “Fiber” internet. Quite simply, if you want symmetrical speeds, you’ll need fiber internet. The Big ISP/Cable conglomerates don’t have fiber. There are technical limitations to the way their networks are built that prevent symmetrical speeds. Even worse, they don’t tell you that! The speed you’re paying for is a Download speed only, so don’t let them fool you.
Let’s get creative! Think big! Generate huge ideas and massive amounts of content that will change the world! Upload with wanton abandon, BTV! BT has your back.