Internet Speeds, Real vs Advertised

This is a story about Internet speed, real vs advertised. After I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I listened to a CBC Spark podcast. On that podcast, Nora (the host) spoke to a gentleman from CIRA, the Canadian domain organization responsible for the .ca domains. He spoke of a new speed test designed to provide _real world_ statistics regarding Internet performance. If you're curious, I'll provide the link shortly.

When I returned home, I decided to give it a try. Using the CIRA speed test, I found that I had upload speeds of 20 Mbps from here in Waterloo, to a server in Toronto. The download speed was an acceptable 70 Mbps. But wait . . . I pay for substantially more download bandwidth through the "Ignite" unlimited package we subscribe to.

Let's take a look at's result, arguably one of the most popular speed test sites. Here, I get the same upload speed, which sees legit given that it's hard to fudge an upload. Download speeds, however, registered at 199 Mbps.

I don't really have to say this, but that's a huge difference!

So, I decided to try again. This time, I chose Montreal as my location. Toronto is, after all, only an hour down the road from here. The upload speed using CIRA's test gave me 21 Mbps which is, again, quite respectable. The download speed, however, was only 22 Mbps. Using, I clocked in at 88 Mbps which, yet again, is a vast difference.

You can do this test again and again, choosing different locations, and the results are pretty much in sync. Upload speeds agree with one another. Download speeds are another story.

Most people, I dare say, might be ready to make some kind of judgement at this point, but I'd like to hear from others first. What do you see when you run the test? And what about, Rogers Communication? Care to weigh in with an explanation?  

Addendum . . . upload speed to Calgary, from Waterloo, is still 21 Mbps, so that remains consistent, and impressive. Download speeds, however, drop to 10 Mbps. What's interesting here is that the numbers from the CIRA test and Speedtest yield essentially the same result on these more distant servers.


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