No matter where you live, you should be able to sign up for HughesNet. As a satellite provider, HughesNet delivers its internet service wirelessly using satellites in orbit around the Earth. Although primarily covering the United States mainland, the HughesNet service area also includes Alaska, Puerto Rico, Brazil, India, and some parts of Europe. In total, HughesNet provides satellite internet service to 330.4 million people across these areas.
HughesNet’s availability depends less on the ability of the signal to reach customers and more on the availability of clear space around a reception dish. Trees, buildings, mountainsides, and other physical objects between customers and the satellite can cause problems. Luckily, since HughesNet is primarily used by rural customers, there isn’t much of a problem with tall buildings blocking signals, which satellite TV providers have to deal with in urban areas.
HughesNet Internet Services
|Best features||Things to consider|
Since HughesNet offers the same speed (up to 50 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload), HughesNet plan pricing is a bit unusual. The difference between each plan is its soft data cap, which ranges from 15 to 200 GB.
|Plan||Download speeds||Starting price||Contract requirement||Soft data cap|
|HughesNet satellite||Up to 50 Mbps||$49.99 per month (for six months)||Two-year contract||15 to 200 GB|
While HughesNet offers enough speed to browse the internet and stream in HD, heavy internet users, large families, and gaming and streaming fans may find the soft data caps quite restrictive. Fortunately, HughesNet offers two ways to use and get more data: bonus data and data tokens.
HughesNet’s “data tokens” extend the amount of data you can use in a given month. The prices of these tokens vary based on the amount you’re purchasing.
|Data token amount||Price|
It can quickly get expensive if you purchase data tokens frequently. For now, it’s an option if you think you’ll exceed your allowance in a given month.
HughesNet also offers a “Bonus Zone” from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., where data cap restrictions are lifted. During these hours, you can stream and download to your heart’s content without using your data allowance. That said, HughesNet does limit your access to 50 GB per month during these periods as well.
HughesNet Internet Speeds
Most current satellite services fall short of wired alternatives in terms of both overall performance and reliability. In fact, HughesNet satellite internet plans only reach download speeds up to 50 Mbps. Satellite internet from HughesNet has three key parts: the transmitter that sends data to space, the satellite that receives the data, and the dish in subscribers’ yards that picks up the signal.
The concern with this setup is high latency, or lag, which is the time it takes for data to travel between you, the provider, and the satellite. This lag can interfere with time-sensitive applications like gaming or two-way video. A latency of 700 to 800 milliseconds is average for satellite service, compared to 40 to 100 milliseconds with cable or DSL service.
However, HughesNet’s new Fusion plans aim to deal with these latency issues. Rather than sending latency-sensitive tasks through the normal satellite receiver system, HughesNet Fusion plans use multipath technology to send these signals along wireless connections for a faster and more consistent user experience.