Our Internet packages provide download and upload speeds that exceed the minimum requirements for the vast majority of popular online services and activities. If you've wondered how upload and download speeds affect your use and enjoyment of the Internet, this article will explain.

Speed vs. Bandwidth

There’s a lot more to the Internet than just speed! If we think about Internet plans only based on speed, we’re missing half the picture – bandwidth! Also known as, the amount of data that can be transferred in a given moment.

Everything that connects to your Internet uses some of your bandwidth, whether you’re using that device or not. The maximum possible download and upload speed in your Internet plan is shared by all devices connected to your network. To find out more about bandwidth, please visit our page About: Internet Bandwidth.

Upload speed vs. Download speed

What's the difference between upload speed and download speed? Simply put:

  • Download speed is the rate that data travels from the Internet to a device in your home. When you stream music or shows, download files, or browse the Internet, you are downloading data.
  • Upload speed is the rate that data travels from a device in your home to the Internet. When you send email, post on a social network, or save files to Cloud storage, you are uploading data.

Our data shows that, on average, our customers use 15 to 20 times more downstream data than upstream data during peak hours. The Internet plans Shaw offers mirror that ratio.

Benefits of faster upload speeds

A faster upload speed can improve your Internet experience. Activities that benefit from faster upload speeds include:

  • attaching and sending files via email
  • publishing media to a website
  • live streaming
  • video chat & video conferences
  • saving to cloud storage
  • audio or video broadcasting
  • online video games

Most online services that have a minimum upload speed requirement will keep it low, to accommodate the largest possible audience. If you would like faster upload speeds, see our current line-up of Shaw Internet Plans.by clicking on the View Details under each plan.

Standard Upload Speeds

Call Type Minimum Recommended Upload Speed
Calling 0.1 Mbps*
Video Calling / Screen Sharing 0.3 Mbps*
Video Calling (HD) 1.5 Mbps*
Group Video (3 People) 0.5 Mbps*
Group Video (7+ People) 0.5 Mbps*
Playing Online Video Games 0.5-1 Mbps**
* As of 2020 (source)
** As of 2020 (source)
 

Support for popular services

Some premium content and quality levels on streaming services rely on you having a fast Internet connection and high processing power. For assistance with 3rd party streaming services, visit these 3rd party support pages:

Video chat and conferencing relies on upload and download speeds for clarity of picture and quality of sound. You can adjust these settings in the video chat service or app you are using. For assistance, visit these 3rd party support pages:

A great 3rd party resource for any site to determine if the site itself is having server issues, visit:

For online gaming, upload and download speed requirements can vary from game to game. For assistance with online gaming performance, visit these 3rd party support pages:

Did you know: When playing video games online, download and upload speeds don't matter as much as "ping" — the responsiveness of your connection. You can improve your ping by using a wired connection instead of WiFi.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are upload speeds lower than download speeds?

  • We have set our upload speeds in our plans at rates that exceed the minimum requirements for the needs of the vast majority of popular online services and activities. 
  • Offering the packages we do grants us the advantage of being able to provide customers across 98,8% of our footprint with amazing download speeds.

What online activities require fast upload speeds?

  • Any activity that requires sending information from your device to the Internet uses upload.
    • Examples include: attaching and sending files via email, publishing media to a website, video chat, saving to cloud storage, audio or video broadcasts and video gaming
  • While a faster upload speed will mean that you can send larger files or sets of files faster, most online services that have a minimum upload speed requirement will keep it low to cater to the largest possible audience.

What is the average upload speed for Canadian Internet customers?

  • 60.70 Mbps, as of September 2020 (source).

How do Shaw’s top speeds compare against other Canadian Internet providers?

  • We currently offer upload speeds of 100 Mbps with our Fibre+ Max plans.
  • Upload speeds offered by Canadian providers range from 0.5 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. 1000 Mbps upload speeds are typically from fibre Internet service providers as part of a symmetrical Internet plan. The vast majority of Canadians do not have access to symmetrical fibre Internet services. 

What are examples of activities that require high upload speeds?

  • High upload speeds would be required if you need to quickly upload large files or large sets of files to the Internet, such as high resolution or professional quality photographs or video.
  • Live streaming also requires a high and stable upload speed to ensure a clear broadcast and clear reception.
  • Our data shows that on average, our customers use 15 to 20 times more downstream than upstream at peak hours—so the packages we offer provide download and upload speeds at a ration that mirrors our customers' average consumption rates to best meet their needs.
    • Most customers are using the internet at a 10:1 ratio of download vs upload traffic— meaning that our customers' experiences are very rarely limited because of our upload speeds
  • Although there may be some businesses or home contractors and hobbyists that require a fast upload speed, most activities typically don’t need symmetrical upload speeds to have an enjoyable online experience.
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