Refer to these Frequently Asked Questions and tips below to learn more about internet speeds, running a Shaw speed test, and understanding your results.

What is an Internet speed test? 

A speed test is a measurement of the bandwidth being used by a particular device at that specific time, or in simple terms, the speed between your Shaw modem and the device you are performing the test on.  To learn how to run a speed test, visit How do I run an Internet speed test?

Shaw speed test will calculate your ping, download speeds, and upload speeds. Measured in milliseconds, your ping refers to the latency of your connection - how fast your device connects to the network. The higher the number, the longer it takes to transmit data. 

Download speed is the rate that data travels from the Internet to a device in your home, or how fast your network can receive data. When you stream music or shows, download files, or browse the Internet, you're downloading data.

Upload speed is the rate that the data travels from a device in your home to the Internet, or how fast your network can transmit data. When you send an email, post on a social network, or save files to Cloud storage, you're uploading data.

You can use this information to check how fast the connection is on the device you’re currently using which can help identify whether you’re receiving adequate speeds, or if WiFi troubleshooting may be required. Note, these results are often lower than your plan due to various factors such as your individual device's capabilities and WiFi conditions. It's also important to note, that your plan is the maximum bandwidth shared by all devices connected to your home network.  To learn more about bandwidth visit About: Internet Bandwidth

What speeds do I need and how to interpret the results?

Different internet or online activities require different connection speeds or bandwidth to operate smoothly. While the following is a minimum guideline, it's important to remember, a speed test represents the speed reaching the device running the test, not delivered to all devices in your home.

Ping: How fast your device connects to the network, traveling from your device to the server. The lower the ping, the better it is for your connection. Ping under 20 ms is considered excellent, while ping measuring between 50-100 ms is considered average. Competitive gamers serious about getting the best connection will want to minimize this number.  

For online gaming, here is a rough guideline:

  • Winning: 0-59 ms
  • In the game: 60-129 ms
  • Struggling: 130-199 ms
  • Game over: 200+ ms        

As of 2020 (source)

Download speed: How fast your device can receive data from the Internet. Most connections are designed to download much faster than they upload. This is because most online activity, like loading web pages or streaming videos, consists of downloads. Note, this can also be dependent on device capabilities/limitations.  

Here are some general download speed requirements based on everyday online activities:

  • Check email and browse the web: 1-5 Mbps minimum
  • Stream HD content: 15-25 Mbps minimum
  • Stream 4K content and play competitive online games: 40-100 Mbps minimum
  • Stream 4K content, play online games, and download very large files: 200+ Mbps minimum

As of 2020 (source)

Upload speed: How fast your device can transmit data to the Internet, such as posting pictures to social media, using video-chat, or sending an email. This can also be dependent on device capabilities/limitations.


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)


Visit About: Internet Speeds to learn more.


Does location of the Speed test server matter?  

Shaw Speed test will automatically choose a server close to your location that has the fastest response time (ping), thus providing the best performance. This is the server that is "closest" on the network, and usually provides the most accurate results. While you should stick with this default server to get a true test of the network speed, you can choose from the drop down to select a new location. Changing the server simply affects the server your device communicates with during the test process.  (For example, when accessing Google you are talking to Google's servers.) 

Many sites and streaming services may host their content on servers that are far away from your current location, which could translate to slower speeds and pings from those services.

Note, speed tests from various companies will provide differences in results as servers are in different locations.  


What is the difference between the internet speed on my plan and the speed I see on individual devices in my home?     

The speed on your plan is the speed delivered to your home for all your internet devices to share. This means all your cell phones, laptops, tablets, media players, smart devices and TV’s all use a portion of the total speed available.

The speed shown on your device (speed test results) shows the speed available to that device at that time.


Why am I not getting the speeds that match my Internet plan?

Several factors can affect your Internet speed. To properly diagnose your problem, you can perform an Internet speed test. This will help you determine if the problem is with your device or connection.  Usually, restarting your device is a good first step in resolving speed issues.

It's important to note that the maximum speed on your internet plan will be shared by all the devices connected to your home network (both WiFi and wired devices). It's normal to experience slower speeds if you have many devices connected at once, or one device consistently uploading/downloading substantial amounts of data. This is more noticeable on slower speed packages.

The following methods may help improve your speeds.  

  • Restart your device.
  • Reboot your modem.
  • Disconnect unused devices connected to your network. (If you have a Gateway modem, you can use the BlueCurve Home app to see how many devices are connected to your network.)
  • Try closing apps on your device and reduce the number of connected devices to your network to see if performance improves for the devices still connected.
  • Disconnect any devices running bandwidth-heavy programs (e.g. streaming, downloading, performing updates) This can cause a slow down on you network.
  • If you’re using a coax splitter, it may be damaged and needing to be replaced. Try unscrewing the cable both at the wall and the modem, (bypass any splitters) and re-screw the connections finger-tight to ensure a solid connection and retest.
  • Make sure your Shaw modem is within 10 feet and in line of sight of you when running the test.
  • Visit our Service Updates to check if there are any outages or interruptions in your area.

To understand more about optimizing WiFi in your home, visit How To: Optimize your WiFi experience.


What do I do if my results show speeds that match my Internet plan, but my Internet and WiFi are still slow?

Since the problem most likely lies with your device, the following methods may help improve your speeds:

  • Ensure your device and any software is up to date.
  • Reboot your device.
  • Check your device for malware and viruses.
  • For the best WiFi speeds, connect your device to the 5 GHz channel rather than the 2.4 GHz channel.
  • Move your modem/router to a more centralized and open area.
  • If you're still having issues with slow speeds, please visit Troubleshooting: Slow Internet Speeds.

What factors may impact my speed test result?

For the best results, you should perform the test using a device plugged directly into your modem with an ethernet cable. If that's not possible, stand within 10ft and in line of sight of you modem and connect to the 5GHz band, if available.

There are several factors that may interfere with your speed test and overall WiFi experience, such as:

  • All active devices connected to your network; the more devices connected, the greater the impact.
  • Any activity on the device besides your browsers, such as downloading a file or the streaming of a movie or TV show.
  • An out-of-date browser.
  • Age, make, or type of device, see Device capabilities/limitations for more information.
  • Placement and location of your modem, visit About: Modem placement and range to learn more.
  • Interference caused by other wireless networks in proximity to your network, other 2.4 GHz frequency devices, and high voltage devices that generate electromagnetic interference. Visit Causes of 2.4ghz WiFi interference.
  • Electronics, including kitchen appliances.
  • Mirrors and aquariums.
  • Dense building materials, such as concrete, brick and metal in your walls or floor.

For an in-depth look at how interference can affect your wireless signal and how to mitigate it, please visit WiFi Interference.

Device capabilities/limitations

Your experience can change drastically depending on the type and technical specs of the device you're using - like when it was made, what type of network card is built-in, its processor speed, software and more. Depending on when a device was manufactured, it may not be able to reach the top speeds offered by your internet plan. This is true, regardless of whether the device is wired directly to the modem or operating in an ideal WiFi environment. Many devices made prior to 2015 are incapable of reaching speeds over 100 Mbps. Some devices lack the capability because high speeds aren't deemed necessary for use.

For these reasons, it may not be capable of reaching the top speeds offered by your Internet plan.

If you're unsure of your device's speed capabilities, we recommend that you check its technical specifications or contact the device's manufacturer about potential upgrades or updates that might improve its performance


Year Released Expected WiFi Speed*
2011-present 150-500 Mbps
2007-2010 75-150 Mbps
2006 & earlier 25 Mbps

Phones and Tablets

Year Released Expected WiFi Speed*
2011-present 75-300 Mbps
2007-2010 25-75 Mbps
2006 & earlier 25 Mbps

* 2020 (source)

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