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HughesNet Satellite DSL,
Is It Right For You?

These Answers To Common Questions About This Service Will Help You Decide For Yourself



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HughesNet Satellite DSL offers connectivity solutions for those seeking high speed internet access, especially in remote locations.


Individuals and small businesses, who previously could not receive high speed internet service, may do so now via satellite.


It no longer matters if you reside or work in areas not served by traditional dsl or cable services.
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Most everyone in the US and North America with a clear view of the Southern sky, can receive satellite internet services.


The following discussion will address many of the frequently asked questions and technical aspects about HughesNet service to help you determine if this high speed internet option is for you.



Additional information about the features of HughesNet Satellite DSL service may be found on my HughesNet page.



FAQ divider



About HughesNet
  • What is HughesNet?
  • How safe is information/data transmitted via satellite?
  • Will you need a separate ISP?
  • Compatibility
  • Is Hughesnet compatible with PC and MAC platforms?
  • What are the system requirements?
  • Is a Network Interface Card required for HughesNet service?
  • Can I run a VPN with HughesNet? Why does the service slowdown?
  • Can HughesNet support advanced services,e.g.- VOIP and video-conferencing?
  • Can I use HughesNet on a small network?
  • Equipment
  • Do I need a dial-up modem and phone line?
  • What's the "buzz" on the HN7000S satellite system?
  • What's the "story" on the new HN9000S satellite modem?
  • What size dish is required to receive HughesNet service?
  • Does the older DW4000 modem still work or do I need to upgrade?
  • Why is professional installation required?
  • If I already have DIRECTV do I need a separate dish for HughesNet service?
  • Speed and Performance
  • How fast is Hughesnet? How does it compare with other broadband service?
  • Does HughesNet offer residential and business service?
  • What if I am experiencing slow downloads with HughesNet?
  • What is a satellite contention ratio? How does it affect service?
  • What is satellite transmission latency?
  • Can rain fade affect satellite internet performance?
  • What is the "Fair Access Policy"?
  • General
  • Does HughesNet offer a money-back guarantee?
  • How can I contact Hughesnet?




  • HughesNet Satellite

    What is HughesNet Satellite DSL?

    HughesNet is a consumer-grade broadband service via satellite especially for those who can not be serviced by cable, dsl or fiber optic networks.

    Satellite DSL technology makes high-speed internet available via satellite to everyone in the U.S., as long as you have a clear view of the Southern sky.

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    Do I need a dial-up modem and telephone line?

    No, there is no phone line requirement for normal operation; therefore, a dial-up modem is not required to access satellite internet service with any HughesNet equipment.


    Can I use a Mac with HughesNet?

    Yes, the HughesNet HN7000S and the new HN9000S systems are compatible with both PC and Mac operating systems.

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    How safe is data/information transmitted via satellite?

    HughesNet satellite systems employ advanced encryption technology to insure information privacy and security for all users keeping your computer safe from hackers and prying eyes.

    Many industries employ HughesNet satellite systems in the delivery of sensitive credit card information over networks. The complexity of satellite transmissions alone prevents any information from being intercepted from this system.


    What are the system requirements to qualify for Satellite DSL?

    The minimum requirements for HughesNet are:
    Operating Sys. PC: Windows 98 ME, SE, 2000 & XP
    MAC: 9.0-10.2 (excludes 10.0)
    Processor PC: Pentium II 333 MHz or faster
    MAC: 300 MHz or faster
    Memory PC: 64MB RAM (Windows 98SE and Windows Me)
         128MB RAM (Windows 2000 & XP)
    Mac: 128 MB
    Free Space PC: 100 MB of free hard drive space
    Mac: 150 MB
    Network Capability 10/100 Ethernet pre-equipped
    (configured for auto-negotiate)


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    Will I need to have a separate ISP - Internet Service Provider?

    No, HughesNet satellite DSL is an ISP providing Internet access for all subscribers. Standard consumer service includes 5 e-mail accounts; business service includes 10 email accounts. All includes spam and virus protection with up to 2 Gb of storage. So, there's no need for the expense of a separate provider for internet access.


    What's the "buzz" about the HN7000S series satellite DSL system?

    It's a fast, efficient way to connect to the Internet via satellite operating on the Ku frequency band. A sleek, new design houses the next generation communication modems neatly in a single compact unit.

    Together with a satellite dish, it is connected via ethernet cable directly to your computer. Smart technology provides built-in operational software which means no programs to load or updates to download. The system is simple to operate and self-updating via satellite.

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    What's the "story" on the new HN9000S satellite modem?

    The HN9000S was introduced to service in June 2008. Like it's predecessor the HN7000S, the HN9000S incorporates HughesNet's latest, smart technology into a single, sleek modem unit with the intent of providing faster internet access speeds.


    What Size Dish is Required to Receive HughesNet Service?

    Most residential and small office service requires only a .74 meter satellite dish. That's approximately 29 inches in diameter. Elite business level service utilizes a slightly larger (.89 meter or 35 inch) dish in order to accomodate larger transmission resources and faster service speeds.

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    What if my computer did not come with a Network Interface Card (NIC)? How can I make it satellite internet ready?

    Many computers can be upgraded with a 10/100 Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC). If you are comfortable with opening your computer and installing hardware, most Ethernet NICs can be self-installed.

    Check with your computer manufacturer for more information on the right Ethernet NIC for your system. Make sure your NIC is configured for "auto-negotiate."

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    If my system has the DW4000 modem, will it still work now that HughesNet has launched its next-generation satellite dsl modem?

    Yes. If you choose not to upgrade your HughesNet modem to the HN9000S, your DW4000 or DW6000 transmit and receive modems will still function and are supported by HughesNet.


    Should I upgrade to the HN7000S or HN9000S series system from an older DW4000 system?

    Upgrading from a DW4000 modem to the next-generation HN7000S or 9000S modem will allow you to connect multiple computer to your network and purportedly delivers faster service speed. Be advised that there is a charge to upgrade to new equipment - the price range is about $250.

    By networking more than one computer, multiple users will be able to access your HughesNet high-speed Internet connection from any computer on the network and will not have to wait in line in order to get online.


    If I already have DIRECTV® service, do I need to get a new dish for HughesNet?

    Yes. The HughesNet system requires a unique dish in order to send and receive information via satellite. You can not receive DIRECTV® and HughesNet services on the same dish. They are two different companies and two different services.

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    How fast is the HughesNet® Satellite DSL System?

    When comparing typical HughesNet download activity with a dial-up service, the difference in the amount of time you'll be waiting is considerable. Depending upon the package you select, HughesNet service can be 35 times to 100 times faster than dial-up.


    Does HughesNet® offer residential and business service?

    Currently, HughesNet offers three residential service packages to meet your needs and budget - Home, Pro, and Pro Plus.

    Business Service
    HughesNet also offers two levels of business service for Home Office/Small Office environments called Elite and Elite Plus.

    More info on service packages and typical service speeds.


    How fast is HughesNet compared to other high-speed services? Aren't they faster?

    Typically, landline networks (cable and fiber optic) offer faster internet service speeds than satellite internet providers. In addition, satellite networks have a disadvantage in transmission latency to overcome. However, if you are located beyond the reach of cable or fiber networks, satellite dsl can provide you with broadband internet access. That capability gives satellite service so much appeal.

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    What if I am experiencing slow downloads with HughesNet satellite service?

    You can verify your internet service speed, FREE, with Speed Test. Click on the logo below to open a new browser window and start the test.

    Test your Internet connection speed at Speedtest.net


    then follow these quick tips from HughesNet to resolve slowdown issues regarding the DW6000 / DW7000 & HN7000S systems here.


    What is a satellite contention ratio? How does it affect service?

    All shared bandwidth satellite service comes with a contention ratio. It indicates the number of subscribers sharing the same segment space on the satellite expressed as a ratio. A contention ratio of 20:1, for example, indicates that a given subscriber may share the same segment space (Internet access) with up to 20 other subscribers.

    Naturally, the lower the contention ratio, the better the service with less chance of slow downs or interruptions. However, low contention ratio service comes with a premium of higher monthly subscription costs. I recommend a contention ratio of 25:1 or lower for consistent, reliable service.

    HughesNet and many other consumer-grade satellite service providers do not publicize the contention ratios of their various levels of service. You will have to contact them or an authorized dealer to learn this information before subscribing.

    Keep in mind ... that too many subscribers sharing the same bandwidth segment on the satellite leads to overcrowding which causes service slow downs, congestion and impaired service.

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    What is satellite transmission latency?

    Latency refers to the time it takes data to travel across a network. A satellite network has greater latency due to the time it takes for the signal to travel to and from the satellite, as well as, from the satellite to the host server return. Since most communications satellites are located in a geostationary orbit about 35,786 Km (22,223 mi.) above the Equator, you can expect a delay of about 240 to 280 milliseconds per transmission.

    That's approximately one quarter of a second delay in each direction (1 sec. total) to the overall response time between your computer and a host site or Web server. Consequently, HughesNet satellite DSL and other satellite systems that use MPEG encapsulation transmission are not ideal for on-line gaming and some time-sensitive business applications.

    Business applications which have protocols that require sub second response times will be affected by increased latency and generally are not recommended for use over HughesNet satellite. A few examples are VOIP, video conferencing, VPNs, and remote desktop management.

    If you have a need to utilize any bandwidth intensive applications for business via satellite, such as those mentioned above, iDirect satellite systems can support all of them efficiently and reliably without compromising security or transmission speed. Please be advised that this service is quite expensive. Learn more about
    iDirect satellite technology.

    return to HughesNet satellite internet service page


    Can rain fade affect satellite internet performance?

    Yes, it can. Systems that operate over the Ka or Ku band frequency may be more susceptible to experiencing performance slow downs during periods of heavy rain and snowfall. This is because of the shorter wavelength these frequencies have and the amount of precipitation through which the signal must pass. The signal strength is effectively weakened as it passes through droplets of rain or snow.

    Technical advances in the transmission of satellite signals over the ku frequency band have greatly improved the effectiveness of this service in rainy locations. However, if you require consistent service in a location that experiences heavy rain or snow fall, C-band satellite systems are still the recommended solution. They offer the most dependable operations even in adverse weather conditions.


    Why is there a requirement that a Satellite DSL system be professionally installed?

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that trained professionals install any two-way Satellite DSL system in the US. This is for safety reasons because these systems not only receive but also transmit radio signals. Improper installation can pose a potential health risk.

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    Can I run a VPN using HughesNet Business?

    Running a VPN client over a HughesNet network is not an ideal configuration and is not recommended over this service. If you choose to run VPN over HughesNet satellite, your data speeds may be reduced by as much as 50 - 75%. You can restore your connection to full speed by simply disabling your VPN client when your session is over.

    Note:
    HughesNet technical support does not provide help with configuring or troubleshooting problems associated with VPN clients.

    HughesNet does offer a VPN accelerator solution for small and large corporations and government agencies that delivers higher connection speeds over VPN.
    HughesNet VPN information.

    You may also contact HughesNet toll-free at 1-866-240-3875, or at hughesnet.com to discuss your specific requirement. For VPN and other advanced service options, read the business applications message above.


    Why does HughesNet service slow down when used with a VPN?

    According to HughesNet, their service uses sophisticated acceleration techniques which requires access to data packet header information. This is blocked when some VPNs are used.

    These VPNs encrypt the data creating a secure channel through the network; however, the encrypted data cannot be processed by HughesNet acceleration techniques. This results in slower performance.

    For other satellite system options supporting VPNs and advanced communications services, see business applications note above.

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    Can I run HughesNet Satellite DSL on a small network?

    Yes, customers can run satellite internet services on a small network using such software as Microsoft ICS. Please understand that all computers on this network will be sharing a single connection, and are subject to the Fair Access Policy. Companies should consider HughesNet Business Internet service to accommodate more demanding needs.


    What is the Fair Access Policy?

    The Fair Access Policy was implemented by HughesNet to curb an abuse by a small percentage (5%) of subscribers of this high speed internet service. Basically, if any subscriber downloads an excessive amount of information during a typical internet session, access will be temporarily throttled back (restricted) for 24 hours.

    This is necessary to maintain system integrity and ensure that all users realize the benefits of high speed service. Normally, most HughesNet subscribers are not affected by this policy because this limitation is set above the maximum for typical usage.

    The download limitation thresholds vary according to the service plan you subscribe to. Generally, they are as follows: Home - 200 MB, Pro - 300 MB, ProPlus - 425 MB, Elite - 500 MB, and Elite Plus - 500 MB.
    Fair Access Policy explanation by HughesNet.

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    Does HughesNet offer a money-back guarantee?

    Yes, Hughes does offer a 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with HughesNet service, just cancel your service within 30 days of activation, and return your HughesNet modem and radio (transmitter) to receive an equipment refund. Installation charges and other fees are not refundable.

    Also, the modem and radio must be returned to Hughes, in good condition, within 60 days of your service activation in order to receive the refund. Instructions are provided on how to de-install and return your equipment. In any event, you are not required to return the dish antenna, mount or any cables.


    Whom do I contact regarding HughesNet service problems?

    Log on to MyHughesNet Customer Care Support where you can chat with technicians about technical issues or problems related to Hughesnet satellite internet service. Telephone Customer Service and technical support is also available toll-free at 1-866-347-3292.

    return to faq directory


    For international satellite service, visit my worldwide satellite dsl providers page.






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