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The direction of the data between the end user and the service provider. Something moving “upstream” or “uploading” is moving from the end user’s computer or device to the service provider, while data moving “downstream” or “downloading” is moving from the service provider to the end user. When referring to speed, “10 down” means data is moving downstream to the end user at a rate of 10 megabits per second or Mbps, while “1 up” means data is moving at a rate of 1 Mbps up from the end user. Downstream is important in applications like streaming video, while upstream is important for end users who need to send large files somewhere, for instance, to a customer or to a hospital.

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