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Friday 21 July 2023 | 8 min read

What is symmetrical internet, and why does your business need it?

A woman sitting at a desk looking at a laptop.

Slow upload speeds got you twiddling your thumbs? 

If you've ever paid attention to your internet speed, you've likely noticed that downloads tend to be faster than uploads.

That's typical for most standard residential internet plans. Speeds are written as 100/40 or 50/20, meaning 100Mbps download speed and 40Mbps upload speed, or 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload, respectively.

That's fine for residential services, since the typical internet user does more downloading than uploading. But for business users, there’s an increasing need for symmetrical internet speeds. And for good reason: Symmetrical internet speeds make your business more efficient and boost your bottom line.

Symmetrical internet

Symmetrical internet plans on the nbn® network

Access symmetrical internet speeds up to 1000/1000Mbps on Enterprise-grade fibre internet. $0* fibre install available for eligible businesses.

View nbn® Enterprise Ethernet plans

Subject to site qualification.

Why is upload speed slower than download speed?

Because we do much more downloading than uploading, internet providers allocate more bandwidth for downloads compared to uploads. When you browse web pages and stream content such as videos, you download all that information. At home, you spend a lot more time watching Netflix, listening to Spotify, or playing video games than uploading content to the internet. So for a typical residential internet user, allocating more bandwidth for downloads makes for a better internet experience.

But things are different when it comes to work. You're starting to upload a lot of data when you collaborate online, be it through cloud services, VoIP, video conferencing or any other platform.

So, slow upload speeds can be incredibly frustrating if your business uploads a lot of files. As the internet becomes the standard way to share files with your team, clients and partners, slow upload speeds eat away at your business's efficiency.

Help businesses upload faster some business-grade internet services now offer symmetrical speeds

Sick of slow upload speeds?

Get business-grade symmetrical internet and send as fast as you receive with plans up to 1000/1000Mbps

View nbn® Enterprise Ethernet plans

What are symmetrical internet plans?

Symmetrical internet plans refer to plans that offer identical download and upload speeds. And if your business uses the internet in any capacity, symmetrical speeds will be a game-changer for productivity.

Here are just some of the ways symmetrical internet speeds could benefit your business:

Why do you need symmetrical internet?

With upload speeds matching download speeds, symmetrical internet lets you tackle online tasks faster, making your business more efficient. Here are 6 benefits of symmetrical internet plans:


1. Improved communication and collaboration

With hybrid work becoming commonplace across businesses, the role of the office has changed considerably. The modern office needs to be a hub with the power to connect dispersed teams, business partners and clients. The internet has made us more mobile. What would have been an in-person meeting at a full office a decade ago would now be a video conference accessible from anywhere. Files you had to physically transfer between computers are now accessible from anywhere via the cloud-based collaboration tools.

You'll need a connection that gives as much as it takes to leverage these productivity tools from outside the office. Slow upload speeds have traditionally been the reason that quality has been patchy. A person might have a super-fast download speed, but if their upload speed isn’t up to scratch then there will be a loss of quality in video feeds that they broadcast, as well as lag in their efforts to collaborate in real time. Tools such as Microsoft 365, with its rich Teams and virtual whiteboard services, are built with a constant and stable internet connection in mind. That consistency isn’t there when upload and download speeds are different.

With symmetrical internet, two (or more) users can engage in an online video call. Equal upload and download speeds should help the calls' audio and video quality stay crystal clear. What's more, with the additional bandwidth capacity, team members not on the call can continue their work with minimal disruption.


2. Faster eCommerce

 eCommerce is a modern business essential - even if you're not a retail business. If you accept payments online, your business is engaging in eCommerce.

With so many businesses now engaged in eCommerce, the speed of doing business is critical. And symmetrical internet opens up the bandwidth to ensure a seamless eCommerce experience for vendors and customers alike.

eCommerce is an incredibly data-intensive form of business: IoT devices within the organisation collect and share data in real-time. Technologies such as the CMS, supply and logistics environments need to filter through and provide workers with instant feedback. All those business-critical tools need to upload large amounts of data quickly. So in eCommerce, upload speeds are much more important than download speeds.


3. Minimal congestion issues

Businesses tend to be located around other businesses. That's great for collaboration and a sense of community, but not so good when it comes to internet use. During peak hours, when everyone is using the internet at the same time, there can be noticeable declines in internet speeds.

Symmetrical internet can be a solution for that. Even at the base level, symmetrical internet plans will mean you share your network’s bandwidth with fewer outside connections. 

You can even upgrade to a connection that offers dedicated bandwidth. That means uploads from and downloads to computers on your business network are partitioned off. They won’t be affected by what other businesses around you are doing with their internet connections. It’s like having your own private road – congestion issues solved!


4. High-definition broadcasting 

Residential internet plans can download 4K, ultra-high-definition (UHD) content, but they’re not as capable of broadcasting it. This begs the question – how is that content going to become available?

Symmetrical speeds are the answer. With high upload speeds, organisations can create and share 4K content efficiently and on time. As more organisations do this with UHD, it’s going to become the mainstream video solution on the web, meaning organisations that aren’t capable of it will struggle to catch their audience’s attention.

5. Enabling the Internet of Things (IoT)

 From sensors to appliances, IoT devices are already a mainstay across businesses. As we mentioned above, it’s already an intrinsic part of the logistics and fulfilment in eCommerce.

How the Internet of Things is transforming Aussie businesses

IoT devices help businesses work smarter, by collecting, gathering and sharing data.

To work effectively, IoT devices need to upload the data they collect. With so many internet-enabled IoT devices connected to your business's network, the bandwidth they use will add up, and cause congestion in your network. And if your business survives on low upload speeds, it won't take many devices to slow down your network - even if the devices only use a small amount of bandwidth.

Symmetrical internet speeds help ensure your network has the bandwidth to benefit from IoT devices' productivity powers.


6. Future proofing

The future's coming sooner than you expect.

In 2013, game-changing business innovations such as the cloud, videoconferencing, and the aforementioned Internet of Things were around but not widely adopted.

But back then, the average internet speed was only 4Mbps - not nearly enough to power high-definition video calls and seamless cloud collaboration.

And technology's only going to get more complicated. Some exciting developments are happening in the world of tech that are set to become commonplace by 2030.

When we first published this article back in 2019, Virtual Reality (VR) was the big innovation in town. This time around, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting all the "future of business" buzz. Cleantech and next-generation cloud computing might well be next.

Predicting the future is hard, but we know one thing for sure: Whatever comes next will need fast, reliable internet. And a lot of that improvement will need to come from upload speeds. VR and AI need to be highly responsive to user actions, and the ability for the network to deliver quick feedback is key. That feedback needs a fast upload speed to maintain a real-time data feed.

Future-proof your business internet

Join our Aussie Fibre network, and access tomorrow's essential internet speeds today.

View Aussie Fibre plans


Case study: How symmetrical internet speeds connected a Byron Bay studio to Hollywood

Cumulus visual effects is an acclaimed visual effects company based in beautiful Byron Bay. Over the years, they've worked on some impressive films with the likes of Sony and Netflix - who trust them to provide world-class visual effects. Running a production company involves a lot of uploading, with regular terabyte-sized data transfers being part of day-to-day operations. The problem? Their internet connection's upload speed was capped at 10Mbps. To manage those slow file transfers, they’d need to schedule project completion dates many days before the actual deadline to allow time for those large uploads. As a result, making do with slow upload speeds severely impacted their efficiency and capacity to take on new jobs.
To power their extensive productivity, Cumulus switched to nbn® Enterprise Ethernet to access symmetrical internet speeds. Now they can seamlessly transfer large files to studios across the globe and have the capacity to take on more work in busy periods.

Want to see symmetrical internet in action, delivering real business benefits? Check out the Cumulus Visual Effects case study below:

Delivering an nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet solution for Cumulus Visual Effects

Prefer to read? Check out the full case study on Cumulus Visual Effects here.


How to get a symmetrical internet plan

Fibre internet has made it possible for businesses to access a symmetrical internet connection with identical upload and download speeds.

Nbn® Enterprise Ethernet gives your business symmetrical plans up to 1000/1000Mbps* on the nbn® network. You'll also have the option to get committed bandwidth, which guarantees your business bandwidth in high-traffic periods. Having your own lane for bandwidth is crucial if you're running a high volume of business-critical internet apps, particularly if you're a larger business with multiple users.

Through our own Aussie Fibre network, your business can access ultrafast symmetrical internet plans up to 2000/2000Mbps. We can deliver Aussie Fibre plans up to 10,000/10,000Mbps for specialised applications.

Check out our Enterprise Ethernet and Aussie Fibre pages to learn more about next-gen connectivity and build the perfect internet plan for your business.

And if you upgrade to enjoy symmetrical speeds on either business-grade fibre internet option, you can access a $0 install**, saving you thousands in installation costs. 

If you have any further questions or want to discuss your business's unique needs, we're here to help. Give our friendly, 100% Australian-based team of business internet experts a call on 1300 480 905.

*Actual wholesale speeds capped at 952Mbps as prescribed by nbn® due to many factors including equipment and network limitations not operated by Aussie Broadband.
**{$0 fibre upgrade subject to site qualification check. Only available on 36-month contract.T&Cs apply}


Written by

Michael Hayman Headshot

Michael Hayman

Content Writer

Michael is Aussie Broadband's marketing copywriter. Michael has worked as a content marketer since 2016, predominantly in the B2B space. He is passionate about writing educational content that helps small and medium businesses run, grow and...

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