In Canada download and upload speeds are not treated equally by traditional Internet service providers, despite being of equal importance. The ratio of download to upload is typically 10 to 1, meaning that your ability to upload data to the web is only 10% of your ability to download data. An average download speed in Alberta is 15 megabits per second (Mbps). Asymmetrical Internet offerings mean that the average Albertan is getting 1.5 Mbps upload with their Internet service.
This is a growing issue for Internet users as we begin to rely upon cloud-based services on a daily basis. If you use online services like Google Drive, iCloud, Flickr, Snapchat, and Instagram, you may be maxing out your upload bandwidth every time you post a video or backup your system.
Internet download speeds are often capable of handling the needs of multiple devices or users while they stream and surf. However, it is common for one user's activity to choke the entire upload stream of a home. As the popularity of cloud-based services increases, this load on home networks will continually burden the Internet users.
You can try to alleviate some of the strain on your home network by uploading files or backing up your devices at night when fewer people are using the Internet. This may help avoid uploading bottlenecks during peak demand times, but is a band-aid fix for the issue.
A longer-term solution that resolves the issue is a different Internet package with symmetrical Internet. Symmetrical speeds provide equal upload and download speeds with a 1 to 1 ratio. This removes the barriers users experienced when trying to send their data out to the web. Households that have multiple devices connected to the cloud or users that depend on the Internet should opt for a provider that offers symmetrical speeds to ensure the best online experience.