What is Symmetrical Internet and How Do You Get It?
Symmetrical internet is an internet connection that gives you equally fast download and upload speeds.
Most internet connections have much faster download speeds than upload speeds. But you can get symmetrical speeds with fiber internet. Those fast uploads give you a crucial boost for activities like attending Zoom meetings, uploading large files to servers, hosting livestreams, and posting video content to YouTube and social media.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what symmetrical internet is, why it’s good, and how to get it.
Best symmetrical internet plans
|Plan||Download / upload speed||Prices||Get it|
|Google Fiber 1 Gig||1,000 Mbps / 1,000 Mbps||$70.00/mo.**|
|Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection||Up to 940 Mbps / Up to 880 Mbps||$89.99/mo.*||View Plan|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||940 Mbps / 940 Mbps||$65.00/mo.‡||View Plan|
|AT&T 5G Internet||5,000 Mbps / 5,000 Mbps||$180.00/mo.***|
**Terms and Conditions: Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas. If you live in an apartment or condo, Google Fiber’s ability to construct and provide Fiber is subject to the continued agreement between Google Fiber and the property owner. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc
*w/ Auto Pay + taxes
‡Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
***Plus taxes. Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies.
The best symmetrical internet plans come from fiber internet providers—which makes sense, considering that fiber is the only way you can get symmetrical internet.
These plans give you incredibly fast upload speeds, ensuring that you have all the bandwidth you could ever want to attend Zoom meetings, post content online, and host livestreams. The plans will also make it possible for you to share your Wi-Fi with a large number of other users without worries over a slow connection or long buffering times.
Fiber internet is the best internet, in our opinion. Figure out why by looking at fiber internet speeds, prices, and plans.
Why is symmetrical internet important?
Symmetrical internet is important because it gives you the fastest speeds possible to do upload-heavy tasks like making video calls, posting content online and to social media, uploading files to online servers, and livestreaming over platforms like Twitch.
It’s also important because it gives you a huge amount of upload bandwidth to support a large number of users who are all sharing the same Wi-Fi connection. If you live with a lot of roommates or family members, a symmetrical connection ensures fast speeds and top performance even when a bunch of people are streaming, gaming, and Zooming on multiple devices at the same time.
Activities that benefit from symmetrical internet:
- Posting frequently to TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube
- Frequently attending Zoom or other video conference meetings
- VR and AR gaming and activities
Why does fiber internet have symmetrical speeds?
Fiber has symmetrical speeds because it has a much larger capacity to deliver data compared to other internet types.
Fiber provides a connection using bundled strands of fiber-optic cable. Photon signals bounce through the cables at the speed of light (or at least something close), carrying vast amounts of data and avoiding the electromagnetic interference that’s common with the copper wiring of cable and DSL internet.
Fiber is the only type of internet that gives you symmetrical speeds right now. Cable internet may catch up in a few years as tech standards evolve, but right now, fiber is really the way to go.
Do you need symmetrical internet speeds?
Most people don’t need symmetrical internet speeds. But they’re nice to have, and those speeds will especially make your life a lot easier if you have any job or passion that requires extensive time on the internet.
Jobs that benefit from symmetrical internet:
- Social media influencer
- Content creator
- Professional gamer
- Filmmaker who frequently posts content online
Of course, the majority of people in the United States don’t have symmetrical internet speeds and many are doing just fine.1 Most of what we do online involves downloading data rather than uploading it, so internet providers haven’t felt a great demand to up their uploads—but times may be changing.
There’s a rising demand for fast uploads, thanks to the drastic rise of remote working, increasingly ubiquitous internet connectivity, and a greater push for video content on social media (shoutouts to Instagram Reels and TikTok). And while you don’t need speedy uploads, you greatly benefit from having them.
Long story short—Get fiber internet for symmetrical speeds (and for lots of other great reasons too)
Fiber internet is the only internet that gets you symmetrical speeds. So if you want symmetrical internet, then get a fiber plan if it’s available in your area.
But also, it just so happens that fiber is the best type of internet you can get, and not just because of the upload speeds. Compared to cable or DSL internet, fiber gives you an incredibly fast and reliable connection, packs in more Mbps for your dollar, and often comes with extra perks like free equipment and unlimited data.
If you can get fiber internet, we say go for it.
FAQ about symmetrical internet
Why don’t other internet connection types have symmetrical internet?
Most internet providers don’t offer symmetrical internet because technical limitations and user demands make it more efficient to devote most of their bandwidth to downloads.2
Cable, DSL, and other internet connections are divided into separate streams for uploads and downloads—much in the same way a city street has right and left lanes to manage traffic. And like any city street during rush hour, internet providers have limits on the amount of information they can carry over these streams.
- Federal Communications Commission, “Fixed Broadband Deployment—Area Summary,” December 2020. Accessed February 17, 2022.
- Andrew Braun, Make Tech Easier, “Why Are Upload Speeds So Much Slower than Download Speeds?,” August 15, 2018. Accessed February 18, 2022.
Author - Peter Holslin
Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.
Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong
Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.