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inthewoods

join:2013-06-03
Priest River, ID

HughesNet is only option. Worth it? Precautions?

I have an eBay business, and live in the boondocks, in a parsonage of the church where my husband pastors. We live north of Priest River, ID. It looks as though ordering HughesNet is my only remaining option, but I'd like to hear others' thoughts before I sign a 2-year agreement.

(Here's my situation, if you want to know:
We have had a Verizon Wireless hotspot device with fairly poor reception (not much else available) at our last home, before moving to this location in February. At this house, we had to buy a Wilson antenna (dB Pro, $500ish) to get 3G cell and internet service. Poor reception means still staying close to interior antenna, and at some point after we moved here, my signal seems to have downgraded. I switched to using my 5-spot device via USB instead of WiFi, but then it seems to have gotten even worse still. I tried ordering a new device as VZW suggested, but no difference, so sent it back. I now have spikes in my speed (for an instant) of up to 400 kbps, but mostly staying under 150 kbps or half that, and then it bottoms out and gets stuck around 0 kbps or actually goes dormant. I now have to reconnect frequently just to attempt to browse webpages. The last tech I spoke to said I am 5-6 miles away from the two local towers, and just don't get enough reception. Don't know why it downgraded, though. I could get an inline amplifier for the Wilson antenna for $200ish to see if that helps, but I don't have extra to waste, and I can't see it making enough of a difference on the internet.)

Exede doesn't have any availability left in my area. Cable stops a few miles short of my house and will probably never go further. Frontier doesn't offer DSL here on their phones. Verizon has the best cell service here, so other Wireless is out. Priest Lake's WISP or whatever it is doesn't reach this far down.

I'm nestled between hills, on a rise, with lots of trees around, but I do have a view of the south, and someone had DirectTV set up on this house before us (don't want tv ourselves, though), if that's any indicator that HN will work for me.

I hate internet data usage caps, but at least I'd be getting more Gigs with HughesNet than I did with VZW. I am curious to know how the actual speed compares with the advertized speed. I know how it compares for Exede, but not for HN.

Also, when the data cap is reached, it sounds like they cut the speed back to between 128kbs and 1Mbps. They told me 1Mbps on the phone, but I had to ask again when I found a lower number in the data usage agreement online. Any experience with this? I have to be able to keep my eBay business going even if I reach my data limit, and I'd like to know how useable the service is when cut back. At the moment, I'm having to disconnect and reconnect all the time with VZW because the tech said the tower or whatever can't tell I'm disconnected (because the signal is so poor? I have 3-4 bars by the Wilson antenna) so it can reestablish the connection. So in some respects, I feel like the slowed-down rate with HN won't be much different than my current (degraded VZW service) situation, but hopefully I won't be dropped all the time? Can someone give me their experience with using HN after the data cap has been reached?

I've seen some threads on here about really poor service with HN, perhaps due to throttling or something? Is that a very widespread problem? I'll have 30 days to try the service, but I'd like to know that the 30 days will be truly representative of what the rest of the contract period will be like.

Lastly, someone on a WildBlue thread recommended the HN business plan to someone with lots of kids. Does anyone have thoughts on business vs. regular HughesNet plans? I'd be paying 20-30 bucks per month more for about the same stats, as far as I can see, except 5GB more Bonus Bytes, and those are useable till 10am. Beyond that, Business-Grade support seems to be the main diff?

I know this is long, but my last few weeks have been swallowed up in this stuff, and I want to make sure I don't get stuck in something I'll wish I hadn't signed up for. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!


Elkhorn

join:2009-12-31
Lyons, OR

I've been with Hughesnet since 2007, and switched to Gen4 Nov 2012. So far, I've been quite satisfied, the internet always "feels" fast to me, so that I never bother to check speeds.
I've not gone over my monthly allowance, so have no idea what speeds to expect while Fap'd.
Currently, the night time "bonus bytes" (2-8am local time) don't tick down, so they're unlimited for now.
Other Gen4 users on different beams have experienced really low speeds, I haven't.
HN does have terrible technical support, and some of their online tools rarely work.
It's satellite or dialup for me, and so far, Gen4 has been good.
Good luck !!
--
HT1000, Gen4, Power PLUS, Beam 10, Windows 7



Yelsel

@direcway.com
reply to inthewoods

I would definitely go for it if you have no other real options.

The only thing is, I suggest being seriously careful about FAP. I'd say try to time it so you experience it first on the last day of the month.

I did that and it was TERRIBLE despite some people saying it wasn't bad for them. Websites just plain wouldn't load. I did a speed test and my download speeds were 0.13 Mbps but it was just almost non-functional. So yeah, I guess FAP experience varies.
It may still be better than what you’re using now, though.



james1979
Premium
join:2012-10-09
Quinault, WA

1 edit
reply to inthewoods

said by inthewoods:

Lastly, someone on a WildBlue thread recommended the HN business plan to someone with lots of kids. Does anyone have thoughts on business vs. regular HughesNet plans? I'd be paying 20-30 bucks per month more for about the same stats, as far as I can see, except 5GB more Bonus Bytes, and those are useable till 10am. Beyond that, Business-Grade support seems to be the main diff?

Well I did put a smiley after that. I don't have any experience with a HN business solution, although perhaps I should since I essentially am using my systems for business purposes. Based solely upon HughesNet's advertising for a business solution, they advertise to do the installation correctly (which has not occurred with either of my HN residential customer installations), they offer 24/7 "premier" US based tech support (which I hope means not waiting for 40 minutes on the telephone if something goes wrong), and then they offer either same day or next day maintenance (which I'd guess would be pricey). With my HN7000s, I only had to contact customer support once in 9 1/2 years. After 20-30 minutes of being on hold, I hung up. I called back later and waited the wait, and then I got to do a failed cross-pol test over and over again for at least 10 minutes. Then I was informed that a technician would call me to schedule an appointment within 7-10 days. To my surprise, an unmarked truck pulled into my driveway the next day (a Saturday), and it was the HughesNet technician! He did the best that he could to realign my dish bolted to a tree, but I decided that I needed a backup system. That's when I signed up with Exede 12.

Regarding the performance of Gen4, I seem to be reporting the slowest or most variable speeds. It "feels like" HughesNet has implemented some type of priority queue on my gateway - and I'm low priority. This is of course speculation on my part, but if true, then business customers might be higher priority. Whatever the case, I think that you could run a business on eBay with Gen4 even if your system performed as slowly as mine. Browsing, email, auctions, forums like this, etc. are all functional. The one thing that I can't do is stream video reliably. Sometimes I can stream 720p HD, sometimes I can't. Sometimes I can stream 480p SD, sometimes I can't. I can usually stream 360p, but sometimes I can't.

I don't know what is like to be FAPped on Gen4 as I have never come close to using up my data allowance since I can't really stream anything. (Gen4 is now serving as an expensive backup system to Exede 12, the opposite of what I had planned.)

While this may be a typo, note that those business quotes apparently include the $9.99 equipment lease fee (which is hidden in the fine print on the residential plan). So yes, with a business plan, it seems that you would be paying an extra $20 a month for higher tier customer service and maintenance; you might get closer to the "up to" speeds as well.

Whoops, Exede's DNS servers are out again. I'm glad that I've got a backup system.

Edit: If you exceed your data allowance, then you can buy tokens to restore your service. And you can buy tokens in advance. When I was FAPped on HN7000s, only email barely worked.
--
HT1000 - Beam 51/Time Capsule, Exede 12/Airport Express, OSX Snow Leopard

inthewoods

join:2013-06-03
Priest River, ID
reply to inthewoods

Thanks, all! My husband became annoyed by a minute or two's worth of dealing with the lack of internet I've tampered with for the past two weeks. It's really pretty unusable. I think I'll have to order HN today, but I'll try to find out more info about the business plan first.

Elkhorn, did you mean that the "bonus bytes" aren't being measured, so even though the plan says they are limited, they effectively are not right now? Or did you sign up before they were limited?

We were thinking it would be a better test run of HN if we purposely used up all our data before the trial period was over, so we won't be surprised later.

James1979, I especially appreciate your taking the time to tell me what it's been like using HN and Exede for your business. If the lease amount is indeed covered in the base price of the business plan, the better service (and yes, I have suspected as well that business customers might get better connection priority) would probably be worth an extra $10/month. Also, I believe the business plan's BB are good until 10am, which might actually make them useable for us, to some extent.



gwalk
Premium
join:2005-07-27
West Mich.
reply to inthewoods

Before committing to Hughes you may wish to read this thread describing the experience of a Hughes customer.

»The Real Hughes

While every ones mileage may vary it does provide insight into the communication, miss-information and general practices of Hughes.



james1979
Premium
join:2012-10-09
Quinault, WA
reply to inthewoods

inthewoods, it does appear that the equipment becomes yours after 30 days with a business plan. That explains why there is no equipment lease fee. Since you don't have any other option than Gen4, I would certainly try it out for 30 days. For all of Exede 12's speed, it hasn't been as reliable as Gen4 overall. The type of DNS outage with Exede 12 which occurred in my previous post hasn't occurred in 2-3 months, but they were common in late 2012. I haven't had any DNS problems with Gen4, just speed issues.

Based upon the location you provided, you experience above average (both ID and USA) snowfall, snow cover, and winds. If there is a problem with trees or mountains, the installer might want to install the dish on your roof.
I would want the dish to be easily accessible so that you can keep the dish clear of snow. Gen4 definitely will not work if there is snow on the dish. I would speak with the dealer in advance to determine the charge for a pole mount if necessary.

Regarding the "Bonus Bytes" - usage during that period is currently unlimited. I assume that HughesNet will eventually begin metering that period.
--
HT1000 - Beam 51/Time Capsule, Exede 12/Airport Express, OSX Snow Leopard



C0RR0SIVE88

@direcway.com

James1979, they are already metering the Bonus Bytes, and it is now 2:00AM to 8:00AM for most all of the customers. Some still have yet to be switched over.


Hltrancher

join:2012-11-05
reply to inthewoods

Shame about the Verizon reception, I see their coverage map for your area and it looks like they don't go that far north. Here I have lots of trees, but the land is relatively flat. I get what's below at 8 miles away with an antenna only, no booster.

Download Connection Speed:: 23871 Kbps or 23.9 Mbps
Download Speed Test Size:: 25 MB or 25600 kB or 26214400 bytes | Timed:: 8.792 seconds
Download Binary File Transfer Speed:: 2984 kB/s or 3 MB/s

I had a Wilson Sleek 4G booster, didn't notice a difference with or without it as far as speed (it helped with 3G).

I looked up the Wilson dB, looks like at least some of them come with an omnidirectional antenna. I don't know if a directional antenna would help in your situation or not (if you don't have one). You also mention 3G signal, here, after 4G was turned on, I got a much better signal. With Millenicom, the 20GB cap is a bit more usable than going through Verizon directly.

Also, the 4G boosters are limited for the time being, last I looked their weren't any really good ones out yet (and you said you didn't have $ to waste).

I would have little nice to say about Hughesnet, this area is overloaded, and not served by the new satellite. Exede5 is closed to new customers, I had Wildblue about 7 years. The 3G connection was better than any satellite I've seen and worked on in this area by far, but I got over 2 megs most of the time with that. Exede service is still poor here for the people that have it, with the lower latency the 3G is much more responsive, and it doesn't/didn't (yet) congest at night like Exede & HN do (severe).

I don't know if you're in the 4G area on the map, guessing not. I'd almost try it with a yagi connected to the VZW device directly if you were, but it's hard to say without knowing the terrain between you and the towers. With the Wilson getting you 3-4 bars, it makes me suspect that there might be some signal to work with if a person could just do some tweaking with something to get it better.


fmw

join:2012-10-10

I too live in the country. I had Hughes several years ago and hated it. I switched to mobile when they installed a 3G tower about 5 miles from me. That was 4 years ago. I was never able to get 4G but 3G did the job reasonably well. A month ago I switched back to Hughes for the Gen4.

The Gen4 Hughes service is quite good. While you still experience some delay as the signal goes out to the satellite and back, it isn't that bad and the speed of the system is comparable to wired broadband on downloads.
I could never watch a movie on 3G, the quality was so bad I preferred not to use it and I didn't have much bandwidth.

With Gen4 I get 10 GB of bandwidth and unlimited bandwidth in the middle of the night. Hughes charges you bandwidth very differently than Verizon did. I get almost no usage charge for operating my web sites and general surfing while Verizon racked up about 100mb per day with that stuff.

I'm half way through my my monthly allowance with 6 days left until reset. I've used the internet as I always have and have even watched two movies on Netflix - somerhing I couldn't do before. The two movies have involved about 3GB of the 5 that I have use.

Gen4 is an effective service. I'm definitely keeping it.



gwalk
Premium
join:2005-07-27
West Mich.

On Gen4 you do NOT have unlimited bandwidth in the middle of the night.
In the middle of the night you have the "bonus byte" period.

In the first week or so Hughes doesn't count your Anytime or Bonus Byte time periods

They had such a software mess the WERE not counting Bonus Bytes.
They are now in the process of rolling out new software that:

A: counts middle of the night usage.

B: Changes the start time that bonus byte hours begin to YOUR local time zone rather than the previous/traditional Eastern time zone.

This has not yet been rolled out to ALL Gen4 users so everyone needs to pay attention.

Also one "feature" of Gen4 is that upload data now counts against your monthly allowance.


fmw

join:2012-10-10

They did tell me that the middle of the night allowance was 10GB but they haven't charged me for any of it yet. Now I know why. I use very little of the system in the middle of the night and I'm probably going to finish the month with 3GB left over.

I've been self trained over the years to avoid watching videos on the internet because of bandwidth and speed limitations so my movie watching is normally blu rays and DVD's from Netflix. Gen4 is working just fine for me.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to inthewoods

If at all possible stay away from HN. I had it for 3 years and it was a disaster. The equipment worked flawlessly but the overload of customers sapping bandwidth was unacceptable.

Went with Millenicom (Sprint and Verizon Wireless reseller) and have been completely satisfied. I live in no-mans land so nothing else is available. You should be able to get an antenna to be able to use wireless if you have cell phone service where you live.


GreenUncle

join:2013-06-08
Saint John, KS
Reviews:
·HughesNet Satell..
reply to inthewoods

I just switched from HN after 9 years with them. NIGHTMARE corporation. They will lie and lie and do all they can do to convince you all their problems are yours. I was astounded at how they do business. I urge you to read around and see all the problems folks are having and have had with them.

I am really happy with my new Verizon service. The "Jetpack" brings me consistent 2-4 kbps download speeds out here in the middle of nowhere (which explains why I stuck w/ Hughes that long).

Sounds crazy, but one of the best days for me was when I took down the satellite after telling Hughes goodbye. Funny thing is, the only time I got any service of any quality was when they were convinced I was cancelling (hint: if you really ever want to get their attention tell them you are cancelling- I did this three times before I actually did it, and each time they were falling all over themselves to try to keep me).

Good luck. Sorry their aren't better options...