I recently purchased the Shaw BB250 Plan. This plan suites my data needs, in particular because of the 15 Mbs upload capability, which is useful for my home software business. Initially, I was frustrated because I was not achieving anywhere close to 250 Mbs download rates. In fact, I was almost consistently obtaining 105 Mbs using Shaw's Speed test (http://speedtest.shaw.ca). The upload speed was a repeatable 13.5 Mbs. Thus, it seemed apparent that something was limiting (or throttling) the download speeds to 105 Mbs, so I called Shaw. A tech came out and verified the connection, setup, etc. We went through Tier 2 support, and still nothing, after 2 hours.
After the tech left, I continued playing around, and I figured out the problem. It turned out that the Adobe Flash Shaw Speed Test was not working correctly with my OS X 10.8.5 Safari web browser. Running the Shaw Speed test again using Google Chrome (32-bit), I suddenly achieved anywhere from 150 Mbs to 210 Mbs. I was excited, but I didn't stop there. I figured that perhaps the Flash application and/or the Speed Test were not suitable for measuring the BB250 plan. So, I setup a file transfer test with a remote server that I administer and I was able to get peak downloads close to 250 Mbs using SMB tunneled over the SSH protocol, with steady rates of 230 Mbs, minute after minute.
Here is a summary of notes:
- The Shaw Speed test application does not appear to be able to measure the 250 Mbs plan properly.
- Perform all tests by directly connecting a Cat 5e/6 ethernet cable to the Shaw modem. Wifi is simply not fast enough to test BB 250. Although 802.11n is rated at 450 Mbs, you cannot achieve this in a practical setting with walls, interference, etc. My best Wifi tests were 35% lower than my ethernet tests, and that was only 10 ft from my router.
- Speed is dependent on many things, such as the time of day, the server you are connecting to, the route to the server from your computer, your computer hardware, the processes that you have running on your computer, and as I found, the speed test itself.
- If you get anywhere from 150 Mbs to over 200 Mbs with the Shaw speed test, you are most likely getting what you paid for. It's the Speed Test that does not work.
- I did some Google searches and I found out that many others know that Flash Applications are not suitable for speed tests, certainly at these rates. Also, most speed tests themselves are inadequate for speed tests (i.e., capped at 100 Mbs, small file tests, etc.).
- Do not base your results on Speed Tests from non-Shaw sources if you are testing to make sure that your plan is working correctly. Your are adding major steps to the equation. I was only getting 40 Mbs to 100 Mbs on other sites.
- Remember: Shaw sold you an internet package with the capability of downloading/uploading at certain rates. However, many places on the Internet simply won't play at those speeds. However, you can use that additional bandwidth for other purposes.
The BB250 plan is good for the following type of people:
- You want fast uploads (i.e., 15 Mbs).
- You have several internet-heavy users in your household. Remember, if you can't use bandwidth to increase the speed of a particular transfer, you can use the bandwidth for other purposes. Although most servers do not push 250 Mbs, you can have a few people surfing at 75 Mbs. This made my wife happy, as the internet used to crawl when I was doing my work.
- Your like me and you draw parallels between Mbs and horse power, in that more is better, and too much is just right.