Imagine trying to stream your favorite show, only to be met with a buffering icon, or attempting to upload a simple document and waiting for an eternity. This is a reality for many users of HughesNet, a satellite internet provider that has been under fire for its subpar service. But why is HughesNet internet so bad?

By its very nature, satellite internet faces certain challenges that other types of internet do not. The data has to travel significantly from the user’s device to the satellite and back, which can cause latency issues. HughesNet uses geosynchronous satellites located approximately 22,236 miles above the Earth. This distance means HughesNet has a minimum latency of around 478 milliseconds, even before considering other factors. This can often rise to 600 milliseconds in real-world scenarios, significantly higher than the 30 to 40 milliseconds typical of cable internet.

Let’s investigate the details and uncover the truth behind HughesNet’s slow speeds.

How Does HughesNet Satellite Internet Work?

Let’s take a moment to unravel HughesNet’s operation. How does it manage to provide internet in areas where traditional broadband services fear to tread? The answer lies in the stars, or more accurately, in the satellites orbiting our planet.

HughesNet uses geosynchronous satellites to provide internet service. These satellites are positioned 22,236 miles above the surface and stay fixed in the sky. This means they stay in the same spot in the sky, making them ideal for transmitting data to and from a specific location.

When you send a request, your request doesn’t travel through underground cables. Instead, it embarks on a cosmic journey. The data travels from your device to a satellite dish installed at your location. From there, it shoots up into space, reaching the HughesNet satellite.

Once the satellite receives your data, it sends it back to Earth to a Network Operations Center (NOC). The NOC is the hub where the magic happens. It connects to the internet and retrieves the requested data. The satellite then sends the data back to your dish, and from there, it reaches your device. Though this round trip spans thousands of miles, it happens in the blink of an eye.

However, there’s a downside to this cosmic journey: latency. Latency is the time it takes for data to transit between points. With HughesNet, the data has to travel a total of 88,944 miles round trip, resulting in a delay that can impact your internet connection’s speed and quality.

Why Is My HughesNet Internet So Slow? 

If you’ve ever found yourself asking this query, you’re not alone. Despite its promise of high-speed internet, HughesNet often leaves its users grappling with sluggish speeds. Let’s dive into the reasons behind this digital dilemma.

Overselling Bandwidth Capacity

One of the primary culprits behind HughesNet’s slow internet speed is the overselling of bandwidth. HughesNet promises a download speed of 25 Mbps to each of its customers. However, the reality is that the total bandwidth available from its operational satellites, such as EchoStar XIX, is finite.

To put it in perspective, EchoStar XIX has a total bandwidth of 200 Gbps. If we divide this by the promised 25 Mbps for each customer, HughesNet can theoretically serve 8,192 customers simultaneously at full speed. But here’s the catch – HughesNet has more than 100,000 customers in North America. Even if only a quarter of these customers are online simultaneously, the system is overloaded, resulting in slower speeds for everyone.

Limitations of Geosynchronous Satellites

The very technology that allows HughesNet to provide internet in remote areas also contributes to its slow speeds. Geosynchronous satellites, due to their high altitude, introduce a significant delay in data transmission, known as latency.

When you request a webpage, the data has to travel a staggering 88,944 miles round trip. This results in a latency of around 600 milliseconds, which is significantly higher than the 30 to 40 milliseconds typical of cable internet. This high latency can make the internet feel slow, especially during activities that require real-time response, like online gaming or video calls.

Data Caps and Throttling

HughesNet does not offer an unlimited data package. They have five data packages at 25 Mbps speed — 15GB to 200GB. If a user exceeds their data limit, HughesNet throttles their internet speed to between 0 and 3 Mbps until the next billing period. In an era where everything is online, these data caps can be quickly exhausted, leading to slow internet speeds.

HughesNet Satellite Internet Plans
Data Plan Promo Price Speed Shop Now
Satellite 15GB $64.99/mo. 25/3 Mbps Order Now
Satellite 30GB $74.99/mo. 25/3 Mbps Order Now
Satellite 100GB $89.99/mo. 25/3 Mbps Order Now
Fusion 100GB $99.99/mo. 25/3 Mbps Order Now
Fusion 200GB $174.99/mo 25/3 Mbps Order Now

Weather Impact

The performance of satellite internet is also affected by weather conditions. If there is bad weather at the base station areas that HughesNet’s satellite uses for internet connection, it can impact the internet speed. This means that even if a user is in a location with clear skies, their internet speed can be affected by a storm happening at the base station location.

How to Speed up HughesNet Internet?

Nothing’s worse than a slow internet connection, right? It’s downright annoying, especially when you’re using it for crucial stuff like work, online classes, or even some Netflix and chill. So if you’re on HughesNet and your internet’s dragging, hang tight – there’s plenty you can do to help speed things up. Here’s a breakdown:

Check the Weather Conditions

Keep an Eye on the Weather Here’s the thing with satellite internet, like HughesNet – it doesn’t exactly get along with bad weather. Data signals traveling through the atmosphere can get knocked around by heavy rain, snowstorms, or blustery winds. This glitch is known as “rain fade,” and it can slow your internet to a crawl or knock it out completely.

If you’re experiencing slow speeds during a storm or heavy snowfall, it’s likely that the weather is to blame. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in this situation other than wait for the weather to improve. Once the skies clear, your internet speed should return to normal.

Restart Your Modem and Router

It may sound simple, but restarting your modem and router can often resolve issues with slow internet speeds. Unplug both devices, wait for about 30 seconds (now’s a good time to grab a quick snack), and then plug them back in, starting with the modem.

Place Your Wi-Fi Router in a Prime Spot

The location of your Wi-Fi router can significantly impact your internet speed. If your router is located far away from your devices, or if there are walls or other obstructions, your Wi-Fi signal may be weak.

Finding a central and open spot for your router somewhere high up would be perfect. If you live in a large house or a multi-story building, consider using a Wi-Fi extender or mesh system to ensure you have a strong signal everywhere.

Inspect Your Equipment

Check Out Your Equipment The gear you get from HughesNet, like your satellite dish and modem, can influence your internet speed. Please look at your satellite dish for any obvious damage, such as cracks or chips, and clean it well. Also, check your cables and connectors to ensure they’re tight and rust-free.

Position Your Dish Correctly

Where your satellite dish is pointing matters a lot. It needs to maintain a solid connection with the HughesNet satellite. For most parts of the US, this means having your dish face the southern sky. If it’s not aimed properly, you might be experiencing a weaker connection and slower speeds.

If you’re unsure about the positioning of your dish, it could be worth giving HughesNet customer service a call for guidance.

Check Your Router and Modem Settings

The settings on your router and modem can significantly affect your internet speed. If your router is operating on a crowded Wi-Fi channel, it could lead to slower speeds. Similarly, if your modem settings are off, it might have trouble establishing a strong connection with the HughesNet satellite.

Check your router and modem settings to ensure they’re optimized for speed. This may involve changing your Wi-Fi channel, updating your router’s firmware, or resetting your modem.

Be Aware of Rush Hours

Just like traffic on the highway, internet service providers like HughesNet can get jam-packed during certain times of the day, commonly known as “rush hours.” When everyone’s online at once, the network can get bogged down, causing speeds to dip.

If you’re consistently noticing slower speeds at certain times, it’s probably due to this network traffic. If you can, try to use the internet for heavy-duty tasks outside these peak times.

Does HughesNet Throttle Internet Speed?

The term “throttling” refers to an internet service provider’s intentional slowing down of internet speeds (ISP). They might do this after you’ve hit a certain data limit, during popular usage times, or for specific types of data-heavy activities like streaming. So, does HughesNet engage in this practice? The answer is yes, but it’s a bit more nuanced than a simple yes or no.

HughesNet operates on a system known as data caps. What this means is that each of their service plans comes with a fixed amount of data that you can use at your plan’s promised speed within a given month. Throughout the month, you can use up your data allowance at the full speed your plan offers, which can reach up to 25 Mbps.

But what happens when you’ve exhausted your monthly data allowance? That’s when HughesNet’s “Fair Access Policy,” or FAP, comes into play. Under FAP, HughesNet takes a foot off the gas pedal, significantly slowing down your internet speed.

According to this policy, once you’ve reached your data limit, your internet speed gets “throttled,” and can slow down to a crawl of between 1 and 3 Mbps. Trust me, this will result in a noticeable dip in your internet’s performance.

During this period of reduced speed, basic internet activities like browsing and email should still be possible, albeit slower. However, more data-intensive activities like streaming, video conferencing, or online gaming may be noticeably slower or not possible at all.

But there’s a silver lining.  To help mitigate the impact of the data cap, HughesNet offers a “Bonus Zone.” This is a period from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. local time when customers can use an additional 50 GB of data per month without affecting their monthly data allowance. It’s a perfect time to schedule your heavy downloads or updates and get the most out of this Bonus Zone data.

Is HughesNet Internet Really Bad?

As we’ve delved into HughesNet, we’ve illuminated the reasons for its sluggish pace, deciphered the nuances of its function, and explored possible routes to enhance its performance. So, is HughesNet really that bad?

HughesNet’s main advantage lies in its capacity to deliver internet services in locales where conventional broadband providers can’t. For those residing in rural or isolated areas, HughesNet may be a godsend, linking them to the wider digital universe.

That being said, the service does carry its own set of issues. Bandwidth overselling, the unavoidable delay associated with satellite internet, the influence of weather conditions, and data cap policies all contribute to less optimal internet speeds. These elements might render HughesNet a subpar choice for users who need a high-speed internet for tasks such as online gaming, streaming videos, or participating in video conference calls.

However, HughesNet is consistently pouring resources into tech and infrastructure enhancements to upgrade its service. They propose methods to fine-tune internet speed and provide extra data during less busy hours via the Bonus Zone. Also, the launch of new satellites has considerably augmented HughesNet’s capacity and future developments may further enhance the service.

In a nutshell, HughesNet may not be the go-to choice for those with access to cable or fiber-optic internet. However, for those in remote areas where satellite internet is the only game in town, HughesNet delivers an invaluable service. It may not always hit the mark, but it embodies the spirit of human innovation, spreading the internet to even the most remote corners of our planet.