Honored Resident
Posts: 79
Which is more important for SL: download speed or upload speed?
[ Edited ]

Hello all, and thanks in advance for any advice.  

I am in the US, on the East Coast. I currently have FiOS for my internet service (as well as phone and television.) My contract with them is up in about 5 weeks. Due to the cost of their service, I am seriously considering a change to high speed internet through a cable company instead.  There is a difference in the connection speed offered by each provider, and I would love some clarification about how this may affect Second Life for me (if at all!)

My current connection with FiOS is 25Mbps/25Mbps. Using speedtest.net I find that I do get those speeds consistently (usually 2-3 Mbps higher on download speed and 1-5 Mbps lower on the upload side, but that is still very close.) I've found it great for running SL, but the cost is high and will only go up even with a 2 year contract. 

The cable service is offering 30Mbps/6Mbps with "PowerBoost." (I must admit, I'm not really clear about how PowerBoost works, or for how much data, but I'm told it can be a big help!)  There is a possibility I could upgrade that to 50Mbps/15Mbps with PowerBoost again, but that would probably cost at least another $25 a month.  I'm not sure the extra speed would be worth the cost.  

I've looked through the forums, knowledge base, etc. and cannot get a clear idea of whether it is download speed or upload speed which affects SL performance from the user side. Could someone please explain that to me, or point me towards an article or post where I can learn a bit more?

 If it's download speed that affects things from my side, I'm concerned that the drop from 25Mbps to 6Mbps may be a real shock (even with the help of the mysterious "PowerBoost"... then again, for my first year or so in SL I used a laptop and a wireless connection... ANYTHING is an improvement over that! ) If you have made a similar change in connections and speeds, did you notice a major difference? 

I will include my system information as well, in case that may play into this at all:

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

Processor: Intel Core i7 930 @2.80 GHz

RAM: 6.00 GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 534MHz (8-8-8-20)

Graphics: 1024MB GeForce 9500 GT (EVGA)


Thanks for your patience in reading this, please let me know if I can give any further information (and I am sorry if I have gone on too long already!)  

Be well,


Other Answers: 5
Posts: 3,560

You want a fast download speed for Second Life. 

If your PC was being used as a server, you would want a fast upload speed.

A minor downgrade in Speed, won't be very noticeable when using a powerful PC.

Fiber optic vs. Coaxial cable. Fiber optic is the clear winner.

I would avoid any service packages that requires a "boost", in order to achieve it's maximum capability. This "boost" distinction, sounds like a hook-n-reel, any overage on your speed, may be provided for a fee.

25 - 6 will be noticable, in applications where you need more than 6Mbps


Set a budget that will allow for peaceful enjoyment of SL. Worring about money in SL can be unsettling.

You can detune your SL settings. Ihave my graphic at the medium setting. My system will support Utlra, but running at lower speed will extend the life of the machine.







Posts: 6,325
Kudos: 848
Solutions: 306
Registered: ‎12-30-2009

The normal bandwidth speed is given as download/upload.  So, as I read it, your cable company is giving you 30 mbps download and 6 mbps upload.  That would actually be 5 mbps faster download than the FiOS connection you have now.  And download is what you are interested in........the upload is really not important unless you do a lot of uploading of content (and I mean a whole lot and often).  You won't see any difference with your connection with the cable company over FiOS.  Of course, the proof will be in the tested speeds but if you test out at less than about 75% of what you are paying for then a phone call to the ISP would be in order.

Even if you were to only have the 6 mbps download that will be still be more than enough for SL.  You'll never get more than the servers will send and I don't think the servers will ever send more than 2 mbps (and then only in very rare spurts).  I'm with Knowl on the "PowerBoost" thing........have them give you the down and up speeds without the boost.  It sounds like a gimmick to get your money.

Posts: 3,582

Upload speed has very little impact on SL if you're not a creator uploading items. As far as download speed, SL only runs its web connection "wide open" when you first arrive in a new region. Even 6 Mbps should be plenty of speed for you and actually I always though that downloading is the faster of two speeds listed like that anyway. My maximum bandwidth is currently set at 1000 Kbps and I'm happy with my loading performance. Your video card looks like it's getting a bit old and that might be more of an issue.

Posts: 4,251
Registered: ‎12-26-2009
[ Edited ]

Download. SL runs at around 45 frames per second (with rare spikes over 50 fps) so much over that is not necessary. What speed does the fps say when your using the statistics bar? (Check several Sims then average the rate.) Advanced>performance tools> statistics bar>FPS, the top one. It may record more but you can't use it because the transmission rate from SL is around 50 fps tops with an average or 45 fps.

The 9500 evga cards are aging you might consider upgrading there before up grading to a faster connection.


EVGA 02G-P3-1559-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card


Good luck.



By-the-way, it's pronounced Faa-b-o or Fau-b-o, if you were wondering. I really should have chosen another name. Your curious about something, you type something into the box and then you stay .... forever: Amazing! (Faubio, head palms) Smiley Happy
Posts: 4,688
Registered: ‎09-15-2009

Open the statistics window and have a look at the download speed you're actually getting.  It's usually only high when you first enter a new area and SL has to send all the new object/texture data.  If you're hanging around in the same place for a while it drops right down.  If I'm sitting in my SL home, for instance, it just ticks-over below 100kbps.

The other thing to note is that quality of connection is at least as important as raw speed, especially when connecting to a new server.  Since you've previously used wireless you'll know all about that :-(

Occam's Razor (House version): the simplest explanation is invariably ... someone screwed up.