I purchased my PS5 in November of 2020, shortly after it was released. Excited as any gamer would be, I quickly unboxed it and connected it to my TV. After setting up my network connection, I notice that my PS5 was only reporting a 10 Mbps upload speed on the built-in speed test utility. Download speeds were reporting at 929 Mbps.
Given that my internet connection was a symmetrical gigabit fiber connection rated at 945 Mbps download and 945 Mbps upload, I knew something was off. As an IT systems administrator, I was familiar with troubleshooting network-related issues. I was asking myself, how can I fix my upload speeds to be fast like my download speed?
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Troubleshooting PS5 Slow Upload Speeds
The first thing I wanted to do was to identify why I was getting such low upload speeds. Here are the troubleshooting steps that I took.
- Test a laptop plugged into the ethernet cable I was using on my PS5
- Use the PS5 hidden web browser to test my speed using speedtest.net and fast.com
- Repeat the process of running the built-in speed test
- Run the built-in speed test in the middle of the night
Testing my Speed on Another Device
The first thing I wanted to determine is if the low upload speed was an issue with my internet connection or with my PS5.
To test this, I unplugged the ethernet cable from my PS5 and plugged it into my laptop. I then proceeded to run a speed test. According to speedtest.net, I was getting 935 Mbps upload speed. According to fast.com, I was getting 926 Mbps.
I repeated this test about 3 times and then decided that the issue was not with my internet connection itself.
Testing Using the Hidden Web Browser on my PS5
The PS5 has a hidden web browser that can be accessed by opening up the user’s guide on the console. I was able to then go to speedtest.net and fast.com, just like I was on my laptop. I ran both speed tests multiple times, and surprise, surprise.
I measured an average of 937 Mbps upload speed on speedtest.net and an average of 930 Mbps on fast.com. This proves that the PS5 hardware is not the problem.
Running the PS5 Built-in Speed Test Again
After running tests using speedtest.net and fast.com multiple times and getting consistent results, I went back to the PS5 speed test utility.
I proceeded to run the PS5 speed test again. This time I got 11 Mbps upload speed on the built-in speed test tool.
After re-running the test 20 times over the course of several hours, the highest upload speed I got was 14 Mbps, and the lowest was 9 Mbps.
Running the PS5 Built-in Speed Test at 3:00 AM
After running the previous tests, I was beginning to think that congestion on the PlayStation Network was to blame for the low speed test numbers. After all, my speeds were perfect when testing using speedtest.net and fast.com, yet, the PS5 official test showed upload speeds that were 100 times lower.
I decided to run the test again at 3:00 AM when I thought traffic on the PlayStation Network (PSN) might be at its lowest.
This time my upload speed jumped up to 38 Mbps. This is almost 4 times what I was getting during the day on my PS5. I repeated this test 10 more times and got some upload speeds as high as 62 Mbps, and some as low as 32 Mbps.
I then went back to speedtest.net and ran a few tests. I was getting about 935 Mbps to 940 Mbps consistently.
Why are PS5 Upload Speeds so Slow
Based on my testing, it appeared that my upload speeds were being limited by Sony and their PSN servers. At first, this was a little puzzling to me. Why would Sony intentionally limit the performance of their flagship gaming console?
After doing some critical thinking, I came to the following realization about upload speeds on PS5.
- Upload speed is really not that important
- Sony is constrained for network bandwidth
- Faster upload speeds would not have any beneficial effects on gaming
- Most people care about download speeds more than upload speeds
- Latency (Ping) is what matters most for online gaming
Upload Speed on PS5 is Less Important
According to the documentation put out by Sony, 1 Mbps upload speed is recommended for optimal PSN gaming performance. Based on that, I asked myself, how much does PS5 really upload? I proceeded to measure the amount of traffic that was getting uploaded from my PS5 while gaming.
I plugged in a network traffic analyzer and proceeded to play some online games on my PS5. I tried popular titles, including Call of Duty, Battlefield, Portal, and a few esports titles.
During all of my testing, the highest spike in upload traffic I saw maxed out at under 2 Mbps. Based on that information, upload speed is really not a big deal on PS5. I was then thinking, what about if I was streaming to YouTube or Twitch while gaming on PS5?
I started streaming in HD onto YouTube Live while playing Call of Duty on my PS5. Unsurprisingly, my upload bandwidth utilization increased dramatically to 18 Mbps when I started streaming. Interestingly, the stream ran perfectly, and there were no glitches or interruptions at all.
There were even a few points where my traffic analyzer showed up to 23 Mbps of upload speed usage. Keep in mind that based on the PS5 speed test, I was maxing out at about 10 Mbps.
As it turns out, my upload speeds were much higher than what the speed test reports. Based on reading some other people’s reports of similar issues on Reddit and seeing a few YouTube videos showing the same thing, I came to the conclusion that the PS5 speed test is not useful in determining your connection speed on.
Sony has Limited Network Bandwidth
All networks have a certain amount of bandwidth that is available for them to use. Sony has a massive network called the PlayStation Network (PSN). They have lots of bandwidth capacity. They also have an even greater demand for bandwidth capacity, with millions of PlayStation users connecting to it each day and expecting good performance.
As it turns out, since March 2020, Sony’s PSN has been severely overloaded, and they needed to find ways of limiting bandwidth usage to avoid future problems. Since then, Sony has added additional capacity to PSN, but demand has also grown steadily, especially since the PS5 release.
Download Speed is More Important to PS5 Users
PS5 games and PS5 updates are giant files. In many cases, they can be 20 gigabytes or larger. This means that downloading over a slow internet connection can be frustrating, to say the least.
Sony knows this and therefore chooses to dedicate most of their PSN bandwidth capacity to downloads and a smaller portion to uploads. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. What do you really upload from your PS5, and how big are the files?
Typically you are uploading save files and other small bits of data that upload quickly, even on a slow connection.
Based on what benefits most gamers, it makes perfect sense that Sony throttles upload speeds on their network. It also makes sense that there is no need for the speed test to show upload speeds higher than 10 Mbps when PSN uses less than 2 Mbps for gaming.
Latency is King When it Comes to PS5 Gaming Performance
When it comes to online gaming, latency, aka ping, is the most important metric to be concerned about. When your latency is too high on PS5, games tend to lag and feel like they are jumping around. This is extremely frustrating and annoying.
Fortunately, you do not need a lot of upload bandwidth to have low latency. The only time that upload speed will impact your ping is if it is maxing out your internet connection. Of course, in my case, I was nowhere near maxing out the 935 Mbps upload speed of my internet connection.
What matters most for ping is having just enough bandwidth to get your traffic through without having to wait. The distance between you and the server is also a primary factor in determining ping.
I was seeing an average ping of between 15 ms and 25 ms in most games. This is excellent and what any gamer would want to see.
Popularly Cited Ways of Increasing PS5 Upload Speed Tested
There are many popular “hacks” listed on the internet about how to increase upload speeds on PS5. Many of them appear to have no merit. Others appear to be plausible solutions.
However, I decided to test these once and for all. Did any of these methods work to fix PS5 upload speed?
- Switching from WiFi to Ethernet
- Changing my DNS server to Google (126.96.36.199) or Cloudflare (188.8.131.52) DNS.
- Contacting my ISP about slow upload speeds
- Upgrading my internet service plan
Switching from WiFi to Ethernet
There are numerous advantages to using ethernet instead of WiFi on PS5. Decreased latency, better stability, faster downloads, etc. However, what about faster upload speeds? Does ethernet make a difference?
Based on my testing, switching from WiFi to ethernet does not generally improve upload speeds on PS5. PS5 upload speeds cap out at less than 20 Mbps. Most WiFi connections, especially on the 5 GHz band, can handle 20 Mbps without issue.
However, there is one scenario where switching from WiFi to ethernet can improve upload speeds on PS5. That is when your router is a long way from your console. In that situation, WiFi speeds can be severely limited by attenuation and by interference.
Using an ethernet cable can improve your upload speed in certain situations. However, for most people, there will be no difference since the PlayStation Network is the limiting factor and not the WiFi. Switching to ethernet is unlikely to fix slow upload speeds.
That said, using an ethernet cable on PS5 has other advantages, and I would highly recommend it if at all possible.
Changing DNS Server to Google DNS or Cloudflare DNS
As a system administrator that works with DNS on a regular basis, I was doubtful that this could make any difference at all. However, given the number of websites and YouTube videos that list this as a solution, I had to at least test this out for myself. Could this be the silver bullet?
Unfortunately, as I originally expected, changing DNS settings made absolutely no difference at all in the upload speeds that I was getting on PS5. I tried Google DNS (184.108.40.206) and Cloudflare DNS (220.127.116.11), as well as several other popular choices.
Unfortunately, changing DNS servers to increase upload speeds proved to be snake oil. I was not the least bit surprised. DNS is used to map domain names to IP addresses. This is not going to impact upload speeds, and it showed when I tested it out for myself.
Contacting my ISP
Generally, contacting your ISP if you are not getting the speeds you are subscribed to is a good idea. I contacted my ISP and explained that I was getting slow upload speeds on PS5. Their recommendation was to test my internet speed using speedtest.net as well as their speed testing tool.
When I ran both of those, I got 935 Mbps or higher. At this point, my ISP told me that there is nothing wrong with my upload speed and to contact support for PlayStation Network. As frustrating as that was, it was the right answer.
My speed was not getting throttled by my ISP but rather by Sony.
Upgrading my Internet Service Plan
Unfortunately, I was unable to test this since I already had the fastest plan that my ISP offers. However, based on my experience, it would not have made any difference here anyways. PSN was limiting me to 20 Mbps or less, so any ISP plan that offers 20 Mbps or higher upload speed is going to max that out easily.
However, for people that have internet plans with 5 Mbps upload speeds or less, upgrading them could allow them to get higher upload speeds on PS5.
Conclusion: PS5 Upload Speeds too Slow
Upload speeds on PS5 are limited by Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN). If you have an internet connection with an upload speed of 20 Mbps or higher, your PS5 upload speed is getting throttled by the PSN servers and not by your ISP.
Fortunately, upload speed just isn’t that important on PS5. It does not really impact gaming performance, as there is surprisingly little data getting uploaded. Changing DNS servers does not make any difference in your PS5 upload speed, and using ethernet can help, but only if your console is really far from your router or having issues with interference.
Internet speed is always going to be the speed of the slowest part if the signal path between your device and the destination server. In this case, the destination (PNS) is the limiting factor. There is nothing that I can do that will actually increase my PS5 upload speeds.
If your internet connection is so slow that it is the limiting factor, by all means, upgrade it, and it will get you to the max possible upload speeds on PS5.