Shaw Nitro 25Mbps Internet

Shaw LogoProduct/Service: Shaw Nitro Internet Service
Price: $99CDN / Month


Introduction:

As internet service providers advertise faster and faster download speeds for cheaper and cheaper in metropolitan areas, one begins to wonder if these companies can deliver on advertised speeds, or if the old "up to "x" speeds" marketing trick still applies.

Here in Western Canada, Shaw Communications has recently released their "Nitro" speed internet, with advertised download speeds of up to 25 Mbps. At this point, I would like to place a disclaimer. I am an employee of Shaw Communications, however this played no role in the statistical data collected, or my final opinion of the service being reviewed.

Shaw offers 4 speeds of internet service:

  • Lite Speed - 256 Kbps Down / 128 Kbps Up - $24.95/month
  • High Speed - 5 Mbps Down / 512 Kbps Up - $38.95/month
  • Extreme I - 10 Mbps Down / 1 Mbps Up - $48.95/month
  • Nitro - 25 Mbps Down / 1 Mbps Up - $99.95/month

(prices listed are stand alone service, with no bundling of services, assuming you have purchased a modem)


I have been using "Extreme I" for the last 2 years in multiple locations with no real issues, and I am regularly able to reach the advertised 10 Mbps download speeds when pulling from a subscription usenet server.

 

Test Info:

Test Machine 

  • Athlon 64 X2 3800+
  • 2 GB Ram
  • 2 x 250 GB Hard Disk in Raid 0 (500 GB)
  • Onboard Gigabit Yukon Ethernet

 

Network Setup

  • Motorola SB 5101 Cable Modem
  • 600Mhz Smoothwall router with web proxy disabled Category 6 network cable run to each machine on the wired network

 

Download In Action
Download In Action

Download Speeds:

 

I tested 3 of the most common mediums for downloading content, each with an approximately 400 MB file. Being an employee of Shaw, I am able to see the "population" of each router on our network, and over crowding was not an issue during this test. In fact, there was only 3 Mbps downstream being used in my area, according the cable router my modem was talking to. 

 Shaw Nitro Download Speed

 

Conclusion:

Although I only reached 10 Mbps off the usenet server in the official test, I regularly saw 12-17 Mbps in every day use over the month I test drove the service. More often than not, I would see closer to the 12 Mbps mark when downloading content, not much higher than the next lowest "Extreme I"'s 10 Mbps.

Overall, I would have to recommend against "Nitro" speed from Shaw at this time. The speeds achieved during my tests vs the monthly price just don't balance out. Until ISP's and the rest of the internet upgrade their networks to further accommodate the extra throughput, there is no point in moving up to these higher download speeds. Most web servers are able to serve thousands of simultaneous visitors on a 100 Mbps connection. At full speed, 4 Nitro customers could saturate the average websites bandwidth if all were downloading large files from the site at the same time. For now at least, Save your $50 a month, stick with the 10 Mbps "Extreme I".

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
9/10
Performance:
6/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
10/10
Features:
n/a
Value:
2/10
Total Score 6.8

 

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