Ask LH: Can I Get A Faster ISP For Uploading Files?

Dear Lifehacker, I just paid for a Megaupload premium account and I will be uploading a lot of files to it. Right now, I am on TPG's Unlimited plan which has an upload speed of 1Mbps. Does anyone else in Australia offer a faster upload speed than this? I am willing to go for a new connection alongside TPG if needed. Cheers, Big Uploader

Picture by RMP87

Dear Big Uploader,

Megaupload was one of the options we identified when a reader asked us last week about options for storing huge files online, but in that discussion we didn't look at ISP performance particularly. The short answer to your question is "there might be a handful of faster options, but they're pretty rare and they don't necessarily make sense".

The longer version of that answer: for home connections (as distinct from business accounts), the fastest practical option you'll get under most circumstances will be either an ADSL2+ or cable connection. If you're on a TPG unlimited plan, you're already on an ADSL2+ connection, so the odds of your getting a faster connection are slight right now, unless you happen to live in one of the areas where the NBN rollout has happened (and even then, you'd have to wait a couple of months at least).

There are faster speeds available on business plans, but those fall outside Lifehacker's usual scope when it comes to ISP issues. Cable shows a more apparent variation in performance depending on how many people in your area use it and it's also very unpredictable for uploads, so jumping to that also doesn't offer any guarantees.

You've generally only got one set of copper wires coming into your premises, so getting a second provider account won't actually help with performance at all. Using a different provider would also make it likely you'd get slugged with upload fees; TPG is unusual in not counting uploads on any of its plans (which isn't an issue on "unlimited" plans, but would be on most others).

The final issue to remember is that upload speeds (like download speeds) only ever represent a maximum performance option — if the place you're sending the files to can't handle those speeds, the maximum is essentially meaningless. You won't know how well Megaupload performs on your connection until you've run it for a quite a while (covering a variety of file sizes and times of day).

So for now, our advice is stick with the TPG option you've got unless it becomes unbearable and you have to hunt down a business-grade option or wait for a broader NBN rollout. But as always, we welcome alternative experiences in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Cheers Lifehacker


    Don't forget some ISPs offer Annex M if you're connected to their DSLAM (Internode is one) where you sacrifice a bit of download to get more upload speed. Limited availability, and you need a modem that supports it, but if you meet those criteria...

      Exactly what Ginji said, look to Internode and iiNet for Annex M. (Shame on you Angus for not knowing this!)

      Adam Internet also offer Annex M (provided you live in SA/NT)

      I just tried to enable it (thanks guys- had not even heard of it!) and for iinet customers you must have a Business B/Band connection. For shame!

    BigPond ultimate cable, 108/2.4mbps.

    iiNet annex M is great for uploads, but as with any annex M service your results with vary depending on your phone line.

    Muahahah NBN baby. On 25/4 with Internode I get ~24.something down and ~4.2 up =D win.

    But other than that, if you can get Annex M then you *should* be able to pull off 4mbps upload if you have a good line.

      Max theoretical is ~3Mbps as far as I remember. Even that would be amazing though, you'd have to be really close to the exchange.

        Yeah, best I've seen in any residential installation is ~1.4Mbps

    As great as Lifehacker is, this sounds like a question for Whirlpool.

    Yup.. upstream speed has always been the number one thing that has made online storage pointless to me. Other than the quick upload of pictures to Flickr, Facebook etc or the compressed videos to Youtube.. there's just no point trying to offload data to online storage because then you only have to download it again at slow speeds as well.

    If you are connected to TPG ADSL2 DSLAM, you should be able to get EFM service that is an up to 10Mbps for both up and down traffic. Best bet talk to Fibre Optic team, even if you are not in the CBD, those guys hook you up to EFM

    From a business point of view - we have a very large data volume going outbound to our partners based on what we do - we didn't have access to the NBN options due to location, so Telstra business products were our only option.

    Holy hell they're expensive.

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