HughesNet vs Verizon Broadband Wireless

I’ve been frustrated with my HughesNet Satellite internet access for quite some time. The speed is much slower than the nominal speeds I am paying for, and it is also inconsistent. A few days ago it was operating at dial-up download speeds, and I have about had enough of this. And I had not even invoked the fair-use policy – it was just that slow.

So I signed up for Verizon’s broadband wireless access, which is just about the only other option we have, where we live. I got the MiFi 2200 device, which acts as a WiFi access point, and connects to the EVDO Rev.A signal we get out here. We’ve been operating on it for a couple of days, now.

On HughesNet, I am paying for a 1.6 mbps download / 256 kbps upload service, nominally for $79.99 per month plus various fees. I have, on exactly ONE occasion, achieved the promised download speed; averaging only 612 kbps down and 103 kbps up. I have NEVER achieved the 256 kbps upload speed. These numbers are the average of 73 individual tests, mostly using but also HughesNet’s own tools. As far as I am concerned, they are in breach of contract. Maybe I should sue them for false advertising.

I should also note that HughesNet’s speed test consistently delivers results showing in some cases twice or more the speed indicated by Internet Frog or the several other online speed tests I tried. Running tests back to back, HughesNet is always optimistic by a huge factor. Seat of the pants tells me that Internet Frog’s output is closer to the truth.

On Verizon, just now I tested at 1.09 Mbps down and 217 kbps up. In the several tests I’ve run in the last couple of days, Verizon is generally faster than HughesNet on download, and always at least twice as fast on upload. Verizon also does not have the latency induced by the speed-of-light travel times up to geosynchronous satellite and down to earth, several times for each communication. Verizon feels snappier. It is also about $20 less per month.

In short, Verizon consistently outperforms HughesNet, in my personal, informal tests.

It does this with a little dingus about the size of a deck of cards. HughesNet requires a fairly large dish mounted on the roof, wiring into the house, a desk-sitting modem, and a WiFi access point if I want it wireless.

I think I’m about to cancel HughesNet.

Addendum: On Verizon, I just got 1.5 Mbps down, 256 Kbps up. While sharing the connection with Texas Grandma. HughesNet has never approached this.


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