Intro to Your Tech: Uploads and Downloads

Posted: May 30, 2018

Computing is based on data - manipulating it, accumulating it, and transferring it. These transfers have names that most will find familiar: uploads and downloads. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at these activities, and how they present themselves during regular business use.

Which One’s Which?
Technically speaking, the words upload and download both describe the same transfer process. The difference is strictly in the direction that the data is going.

Let’s say you are on your workstation, connected to the Internet. You’re doing research for a project, and you find a really great source of information. Instead of having to navigate back to the website every time you want to refer back to this info, you transfer a copy of your source from the website into your laptop’s local storage. Because you receive this data as it is incoming, this action would be classified as a download.

Now, once your project is completed, it is likely that you will want to share it. To do so, you add it to your company’s shared cloud storage. Since you are sending outgoing data to an external storage space, this would be classified as an upload.

Considerations for Uploading and Downloading
One of the biggest considerations in computing is often speed, as in the speed at which files can be uploaded and downloaded. Naturally, a better Internet connection will be able to upload and download files more efficiently. If you’d like to find out what kind of speeds you could expect, you can run a basic Internet speed test.

Sometimes, a download might take longer because the location it is stored has slower upload speeds. Most consumer Internet plans have great download speeds, but very low upload speeds. Transferring a file from one home network to another home network will seem to take a lot longer, simply because the origin of the file only has so much upload bandwidth to work with.

Of course, there are other factors that can affect your upload/downloads speeds. A major one is file size.

Larger files, especially media files, can lead to tedious, dragging upload and download times. It isn’t uncommon to see this mitigated through streaming by many online media providers. Rather than downloading the entire file before it can be viewed, the website itself plays the media on demand with a little buffering to account for variations in download speed. This is different than live streaming, where the media is being broadcast in real time.

No matter how you primarily use technology, you are uploading and (especially) downloading files all the time. Now you know the difference between the two. Make sure you keep checking in for more explanations of the technology you use every day!

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