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Back in febuary I subscribed to shaw 500KB/s cable internet, bundled with phone and TV. The guy came and installed everything all fine, and then when I went and tried it, it was significantly slower than our older connection (telus DSL 160 KB/s). For some reason our download speed averages at only 50 KB/ and never raises over 63 KB/s, and our upload speed never raises above 34 KB/s. On many websites images dont load or they dont load properly, and youtube videos generally dont play, even if they have fully buffered. we only have one modem (a blue motorolla surfboard - Model SB5102) and shut it off when not in use. I have never used it through a router or wireless modem, only directly to whatever computer is connected to it. i have tried this connection on 3 different computers (an HP G61 Laptop with 2 AMD vision processers (3.6 GHz) on Win. 7, a Compaq pressario desktop with 1 AMD Vision processor (2.8 GHz)on Win. Vista, and a DELL Precision Workstation PC with 2 intel XEON 4GHz processors on Win. XP) only to find no difference in speed or quality. Would anybody know why this is happening, and how to fix it?

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Kilobytes or kilobits? 63KBps is close enough to 500Kbps... Double check your bill. I use Shaw and I have the 25 Mbps package, which is quite different. Check the B – Canadian Luke Jul 10 '12 at 6:03
Call tech support? Sounds like a problem on their end, not yours. I've heard of people being successful in raising their bandwidth limit by complaining to tech support, since clearly that's not usable. – NReilingh Jul 10 '12 at 6:05
@NReilingh, but it is what he is paying for... – soandos Jul 10 '12 at 6:41
@Luke This is why if something is kilo-BYTES-per-second, I refer to it as KB/sec instead of some other more ambiguous form. Of course, as a "user level" metric, it also includes the after-effects of TCP/IP encoding and whatnot, so it may seem "less-truth-ful" than kbps, which is what all providers "quote" to subscribers. (I'm still bitter over 1Gb=1billion bytes, and 1Tb=1trillion bytes... stupid marketing jackasses) – killermist Jul 10 '12 at 7:13
up vote 3 down vote accepted

ISPs often quote speeds in Kbps(kilo-bits per second) and you have to divide it by 8 to get download speed(which is measured in KBps or kilo-bytes per second)......
The reason being 8 bits = 1 byte.

the B and b have been fooling internet users for a long time..

In your case, it most probably is 500Kbps and not 500KBps...
So, download speed would be 500/8= 62.5 KBps which seems to match your description.

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oh, i see. thank you! that really clears up why my internet is so crappy... now, would you know of any way to speed up my internet then? – Ben Franchuk Jul 10 '12 at 6:47
You really have to convert between kilobits (1000's of bits) and KibiBytes (1,024's of 8-bit bytes). So you really need to divide by about 8.2 to convert from kb to KiB, 8.4 to convert from mb to MiB, and 8.6 to convert from gb to GiB. – Spiff Jul 10 '12 at 6:48
@ShadowFrunchak: get a plan with higher bandwidth from your ISP.. – tumchaaditya Jul 10 '12 at 6:51
@Spiff: i don't know if that is true with internet connections. I think when they say a 500kbps internet, they mean 500x1024 bps and not 500x1000 bps....will still have to confirm though....what you are saying is very true with storage devices where 1GB means 1 billion bytes. – tumchaaditya Jul 10 '12 at 6:55
Communications speeds (LAN, WAN, etc.) are always in kilo-, mega-, and giga- bits. Disk and File I/O speeds are always in Kibi-, Mebi-, and Gibi- Bytes. Since he's comparing his advertised WAN connection speed (500,000 bits/sec) to a speed a file transfer program is reporting (50 * 1024 Bytes/sec), he needs to do the kilo -> Kibi conversion. Apple has started to drop the (confusing to average users) binary prefixes in favor of more universally understood SI prefixes in places like the OS X Finder, and drive manufacturers break the "Bytes use binary prefixes" rule just because they suck. :-) – Spiff Jul 10 '12 at 7:12

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