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When Dropbox uploads files, it does not sustain a constant speed. The upload happens in bursts, stopping for a few seconds every few seconds.

Other apps, such as CloudApp or Google Drive, or even ftp, upload consistently.

This is a traffic graph of Dropbox uploading:

enter image description here

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I'm not sure whether Dropbox is classified as a "web application" or a "desktop application" - this site's distinction between "web applications" and "desktop applications" is very confusing and arbitrary, so I'm not sure which Stack Exchange site this question belongs on Superuser or Webapps. –  Anderson Green Mar 22 '13 at 18:27

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This is likely because the Dropbox client uploads files in 4 MB chunks. https://www.dropbox.com/developers/core/api : "A typical chunk is 4 MB."

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That makes sense. I tested a straight upload to Dropbox, and that did go at full speed. I guess syncing is slower than uploading. Bummer. –  Ze'ev Mar 22 '13 at 23:32

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