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What is good internet speed in Canada (2022)?


Article summary

According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), “Good Internet speed” means any broadband connection that can download at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and download at 10 Mbps. With millions of Canadians now working from home during the day and streaming TV every night, even that might not be enough.

WhistleOut actively monitors home internet plans from major networks across North America, so our experts know what makes good internet speed. We can help you choose the best internet connection for your home and find a plan with the best value.

What Makes Good Internet Speed?

There are four parts of a network connection that must all work well for fast internet speeds:
A family using internet-connected devices together

What is the download speed?

Your download speed measures how fast data can travel from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to your home. High speed Internet plans in Canada are often advertised using this number. Even though 50 Mbps is considered a “good Internet”, your needs may be greater if you stream movies and TV shows in 4K, work from home, or have more than three people in your household. Download speeds in many cities can reach 1.5 Gbps (or 1500 Mbps), but many rural areas can only get 25 Mbps (or less!).

What is my internet speed?

Even though home internet connection plans are labeled based on maximum download speed, it’s common that you don’t get that maximum output. However, you should receive over 50% of that speed under most conditions. Take a moment to find the speed you are getting right now with the WhistleOut Canada Speed ​​Test app, then come back here for find a plan you will love from the best Internet service providers in Canada.

What is the download speed?

Unlike download speed, your download speed reflects the speed at which your connection travels from your computer to your provider’s servers. Every time you post a photo on Facebook, start a video chat, or play an online video game, you are “downloading”. If you run a speed test, you will probably notice that your download speed is much slower than your download speed. This is pretty normal, as a lot more online activity involves downloads than downloads.

For most Canadians, a download speed of 10 Mbps is pretty fast. But you might need faster speeds if, for example, you often have multiple video conferences or if you’re an avid gamer who streams Twitch on a daily basis. If you’re looking for the fastest internet service provider in Canada, look for one that uses fiber optics. For example, Bell Fibe upload speeds can reach 1 Gbps. During this time, cable internet is generally limited to just 30 Mbps download.

What is latency?

Quite simply, latency is the delay between sending a signal by your computer to its destination and returning a response. This is often referred to as the “round trip time” of your Internet signal. Latency is typically measured in thousandths of a second.

A person playing an online video game on television

Generally, lower latency is better, although most users won’t notice any latency differences. But if you’re a die-hard gamer, or if you frequently stream to Twitch, Instagram, or other live download apps, latency may play a bigger role in your experience. Why? Higher latency can cause delays between when you do something and when your live viewers see it.

What is a data cap?

Data caps dictate how much data you can use in a month before you are slowed down or cut off completely from the Internet. It is not commonly referenced in home internet plans as most carriers and plans now include unlimited data. Smaller operators often offer lower prices associated with a hard data cap. In general, a plan with a data cap of 100 GB is sufficient if you don’t stream Netflix a lot.

Important note on data caps

Wireless plans in Canada for cell phones and home Internet are advertised by the maximum amount of data you can use each month (i.e., data caps) instead of download speed. Even “unlimited” wireless plans have a high-speed data cap, after which you can still connect but at a slower speed. WhistleOut Canada tracks hundreds of plans from 33 carriers so you can find the best mobile data plan for your needs.

How can I improve my Internet speed?

If you are looking to fix a bad internet, there are two places you need to look: outside and inside the house. Outside the home, there are several technologies including ADSL, cable and fiber optics that can bring high speed internet to your home. Inside, you can choose a wired or wireless connection.

Telecommunications cables buried underground

DSL vs cable vs fiber: what is the fastest broadband in Canada

The three most common forms of broadband Internet delivery in Canada are DSL, cable, and fiber optic. The best option for your needs often comes down to what’s available. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages:

  • Optical fiber is the best internet for streaming with download speeds as high as 1.5 Gbps, but it is not easily accessible to all Canadians.
  • Cable internet is more common and offers download speeds of up to 1.0 Gbps, but it is also expensive and download speeds are slower than fiber.
  • DSL is the most commonly available broadband option for Canadians, but download speeds are limited to 50 Mbps or less.

Other options include wireless internet, such as cell phone signals, and satellite internet. Both are great options for getting deep into the Canadian wilderness, but are also much more expensive and less reliable.

Comparison of Home Internet Technologies
Internet technology Carriers Download speed Cost
DSL Bell, Telus, SaskTel $ $
Cable Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, Eastlink $ $ $
Fiber Bell Fibe, Telus PureFibre $ $ $
Wireless Bell, Telus, Rogers, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink $ $ $ $
Satellite Starlink, Xplornet, Galaxy $ $ $ $ $

Get better internet inside your home

Getting the fastest Internet in Canada at home is just one step in getting good Internet speeds. Many homes have more than a dozen computers, cell phones, smart TVs, and other devices that connect to the Internet. Your best option is always a wired (or “Ethernet”) connection. This provides the fastest downloads, the lowest latency, the best security, and the fewest dropouts.

Connecting an Ethernet network cable to a laptop

Running a wire isn’t always your easiest option, so setting up a WiFi network can solve this problem. WiFi routers are inexpensive (usually around $ 100 or less) and connect your smart devices up to hundreds of feet away. There is often a Wi-Fi router built into the modem that brings the Internet into your home.

There may be a lot of interference (or “crosstalk”) from other devices causing a bad connection. A WiFi repeater can help you get high speed internet connection to every corner of your house. Likewise, if you live near other homes or in a building / condo, Wi-Fi noise from dozens of routers can make it impossible to get good wireless internet speeds. We recommend that you set up a wired Ethernet connection to your most critical devices like your computer and entertainment center.

How to reduce Wi-Fi interference

Newer technology helps solve the problem of WiFi crosstalk. WiFi 6E uses new frequencies to broadcast data connections, opening up new avenues for internet downloads. However, this technology is still very recent, so look for devices that connect to 5Ghz to minimize the effect of signal noise.