The term downstream, as used with regards to data connections and the Internet, denotes the speed at which data is transferred from a data server to an end user device through a data connection. The term is most commonly used in reference to Internet speed.

Downstream speeds are measure in bits per second (bps), with the most common measurements used being kilobits per second (Kbps), megabits per second (Mbps) and Gigabits per second (Gbps).

The opposite of downstream is upstream – the speed at which data flows from an end user device to a data server through a data connection.

In Switzerland, many telecom service providers offer asymmetrical Internet connections. In an asymmetrical connection, the downstream is faster than the upstream, meaning data can be downloaded from a data server to an end user device faster than data can be uploaded to a data server.

Some Swiss telecom service providers offer symmetrical Internet plans which provide identical downstream and upstream speeds.

The download calculator on helps you find out how long downloads will take based on a given Internet speed.

More on this topic:
Unbiased broadband Internet plan comparison

Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at and also covers other areas of personal finance.