Download speed: Download speed is what most people think of when they hear “internet speed.” It measures how your connection performs when data travels from the web server to your device. Download speed determines how fast web pages and files load and how streaming services perform. For example, you’ll want fast download speeds to watch Netflix in 4K.
Upload speed: Upload speed is how quickly data travels from your device to the web server. Examples of uploads include sharing photos and videos to social media, backing up files to cloud storage, sending emails, and other outgoing tasks. Upload speed can also impact video calls, like Zoom and Facetime.
Latency: Latency measures how long it takes data to travel from your device to the server and back. It’s measured in milliseconds, and the lower the better. One of the biggest contributors to high latency is distance—latency increases the further you are from the tower or web server you’re connected to. It’s most impactful in online gaming, where quick response times are needed.
Ping: Ping is often used interchangeably with latency, but that’s not technically correct. A ping is the piece of data (known as a packet) that’s used to measure latency. That said, the practical result is the same: Higher ping, like higher latency, means a longer response time.