What Does Downstream Mean?

In IT, "downstream" refers to the transmission of data to an end user or toward an end user from a central server or point of origin. This is in contrast to upstream transmissions, which move from the end user to the central repository. The terms "uploads" and "downloads" are often used to refer to upstream and downstream transmissions respectively.


Another similar set of terms is "uplink" and "downlink," which are often applied to satellite systems.

Techopedia Explains Downstream

When considering downstream transmissions, experts have to recognize specific transmission protocols, such as TCP/IP, FTP and HTTPS. They may rate performance according to MBpS or another metric. Downstream transmissions often have a faster rate than corresponding upstream transmissions, and are generally easier to broadcast. In calculating downstream speed from one point to another, engineers and analysts may have to factor in multiple transmission segments, as well as problems such as bottlenecks.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…