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Symmetrical vs Asymmetrical Internet Connections

If you’ve ever checked the speed of your home broadband then you’ve probably found that your download and upload speeds are significantly different.

But why is this?

Historically home internet use has focused more on downloading data from the Internet than it has on uploading. Carry out a search on Google, for example, and you’ll download far more data than you upload. The same goes for most standard “consumer use” such as surfing websites, watching YouTube or streaming music services like Spotify.

For this reason many broadband carriers control traffic in order to maximize user experience, by prioritizing download speeds.

Systems where upload and download speeds differ significantly are known as “asymmetrical Internet connections”. They tend to suit most home users well and provide a simple-to-setup and cost-effective solution.

However asymmetric systems are not without their weaknesses.

For one, with an asymmetric system large uploads or downloads can affect one another. You’ve no doubt experienced this effect in the past when someone in your house downloads a large file and your broadband speed slows to a crawl.

The second weakness of asymmetric systems is that they are most prevalent among shared-line providers. That is to say that the “potential” speed of your home broadband may differ significantly from the “actual” speed received.

A major factor is what other people using the same line are doing. If you’re in an area with slow broadband speeds, and your neighbour starts streaming an HD movie, then you may well see your own broadband speed drop precipitously.

Finally, such systems also place severe limitations on how quickly you can upload data. The advent of cloud computing services such as online backups, with data being uploaded persistently over the Internet, can lead to a frustrating Internet experience. Try uploading movies, music or other data-heavy files through an asymmetric connection and you could be in for a painful experience.

These problems can be magnified many times in a business environment, where speed and efficiency are of the essence. Consider, for example, the problems that such a system could cause when regularly communicating with offsite servers or sharing large files with clients.

A process which could potentially take a fraction of a second with a suitably-fast upload speed slows to a crawl, making for an unmanageable business environment.

It is for this reason that symmetrical Internet connections were developed. Symmetric systems “partition” your internet connection, allowing equal upload and download speeds.

In doing so symmetric systems do away with the weaknesses of asymmetric systems.

Suddenly businesses will find their upload speeds increase significantly. Such systems are particularly beneficial for businesses utilizing VoIP and SIP technology to run their communications network. This balance between upload and download speeds makes for a higher call quality and fewer delays with live-action communication.

Additionally, businesses sending large amounts of data between networks (such as financial institutions with multiple remote sites) will find the benefits of symmetrical systems greatly outweigh the small increase in cost.

The most common form of symmetric Internet connections these days are dedicated leased lines. As the name suggests, such Internet connections are not shared with other users. They are essentially like being “hard-wired” directly into the Internet, with your own personal connection. As a result you maintain greater control and faster transmission speeds than when using shared cables.

You will also find such a connection tends to be far more reliable and predictable as you no longer need to worry what other Internet users in your area are doing with their connection. Instead you bypass other business users with your own dedicated line.

Luminet offers two symmetric connection services at present. The first of these is our fully-managed fibre leased line. Not just your dedicated connection to the web, our leased lines also offer complete control over how your connection is used. This allows you to prioritize mission-critical applications, while giving others lower priority or even blocking them altogether. In this way you can feel confident that you’ll always have the connection speed that your business needs.

Our second offering is our trademark Fibre-Air wireless internet service. Offering speeds of up to 1GB our wireless service removes the need to install new cabling. As a result it offers exceptional connection speeds combined with rapid installation. With our AES encryption as standard and a 99.95% Service Level Agreement you can feel confident that you’ll never be left without the connection your business needs.

Why not learn more about our superfast London internet connections?