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What does upstream mean in IT?

In IT operations, upstream refers to the direction of network traffic as it relates to device communication and dependency. Equipment that gives commands to other devices is considered to be upstream from those devices. For example, an application server is upstream of its dependent applications.

Upstream vs. Downstream

Even if there is bi-directional communication between devices, upstream and downstream, the upstream component is regarded as dominant and the downstream device is dependent.

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