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HughesNet Service Plans

A Look at Internet Connectivity Speeds,
Equipment, and Service Limitations

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HughesNet service plans offer various bandwidth speeds geared primarily to serve the Internet needs of residential and small business environments.

This service is good in the sense that it brings Internet access to areas where broadband service is not ordinarily available.

However, it should not be looked upon as a substitute for faster broadband services that are delivered over landline networks, such as, fiber optic or cable.

To keep things in perspective, those services can support time sensitive applications for voice, video and data transmission at very high speeds - up to 50 Mbps on fiber optic networks.

HughesNet simply can not match that speed level nor support time sensitive apps, but then again, landline networks can not provide broadband service in all of the areas covered by satellite.

With this in mind, let's take a look at the different Hughesnet service plans, advertised speed levels, and the equipment required to receive HughesNet service. First, a little about ...

HughesNet Equipment

HughesNet service plans depend upon efficient equipment to deliver broadband Internet access over their entire network. Presently, this service features the HN9000S router and satellite dish operating together with the Spaceway-3 satellite over a more responsive Ka frequency band.

The communication modems are incorporated into a single compact unit for a more efficient operation. A simple ethernet connection joins the router and satellite dish directly to your computer or network. All that is required for operation is an available power source. Absolutely no cable or phone lines are needed.

This system and satellite solution is used in combination to provide a more robust service with added bandwidth capacity. However, it remains to be seen as to whether or not this approach will alleviate concerns over bandwidth speed during peak service hours.

About HughesNet Service Plans

HughesNet service plans and equipment work seamlessly to provide you with an ability to enjoy broadband Internet access where it was previously unavailable, and this is, perhaps, the greatest benefit of this service.

Remember ...

HughesNet offers consumer grade satellite internet connectivity, and thus service speeds are not guaranteed.

If you're looking for download speeds greater than 3 Mbps and the ability to run advanced applications online, then you need to consider something other than HughesNet.

Consumer grade satellite services are not able to accomodate the needs of time sensitive applications, such as, VOIP, VPNs, RPNs, gaming, and conferencing.

With that thought in mind, here is a summary of each of the Hughesnet Service Plans advertised speeds and limitations. All service plans are delivered with shared bandwidth connectivity and are governed by HughesNet's
Fair Access Policy.

Note -
Service speed may be reduced noticeably for all HughesNet service plans during peak hours. - [usually from 4pm to 12am local time].

A flow control mechanism may be used by HughesNet throughout this period to ensure sufficient bandwidth availability for all users. As as result, actual throughput speed during peak hours may be less than advertised.

HughesNet Service Plans   -    Home

Maximum speeds for the Home service are up to 1 Mbps down and 128 Kbps up. This service level may be satisfactory for individuals with a single computer network accessing the Internet mostly for web surfing and emailing.

The service is fast enough for general use; however, there is a 200 Mb FAP download threshold for a 24 hour period. So, as long as you do not frequently download large files (i.e. watch YouTube videos), Home service is okay.

Be advised that with Home service, the advertised throughput speed for downloads during peak service time is between 550 Kbps to 650 Kbps and between 70 Kbps to 80 Kbps for uploads. Some subscribers of this service have reported actual speeds as slow as ordinary dial-up during peak hours!

home service

HughesNet Service Plans   -    Professional

Professional service, with up to 1.2 Mbps downloads and 200 Kbps uploads, is suited for small home networks. It typically can support up to two computers online at the same time with steady Internet use and downloading of files for both business and personal applications.

Pro service comes with a larger download threshold of 300 Mb, but that may not be enough to avoid FAP service restriction for over-downloading.

Advertised throughput speed for downloads during peak times is about 700 Kbps to 800 Kbps and aproximately 100 Kbps to 120 Kbps for uploads.

home service

HughesNet Service Plans   -    Professional Plus

For more active users, Professional Plus service delivers up to 1.6 Mbps downloads and 250 Kbps uploads. This service is also geared for small home-based networks with the same activity support as the Professional service level with a little faster speed. Professional Plus service also offers a larger download threshold of 425 Mb.

Throughput speed of about 800 Kbps to 1.0 Mbps for downloads and about 130 Kbps to 150 Kbps for uploads are advertised during peak service hours.

HughesNet service plans for home environments include spam and virus protection plus 5 email accounts with up to 2 Gb of storage per account.

home service

HughesNet Service Plans   -    Elite and Elite Plus

Elite service, providing up to 2.0 Mbps download and 300 Kbps upload speeds, is potentially a good solution for small office/ home office networks. It can support a network with 5 to 10 concurrent users engaging in large downloads and continual Internet use.

Elite service may only deliver a throughput download speed of about 1.0 Mbps to 1.2 Mbps and upload speed of 165 Kbps to 180 Kbps during peak service.

Elite Plus features the same service capability as Elite only at faster speeds of up to 3.0 Mbps down and 300 Kbps up during off-peak hours.

Advertised throughput speed for downloads is about 1.6 Mbps to 1.8 Mbps and only 165 Kbps to 180 Kbps for uploads with Elite Plus during peak times.

small business service

Both HughesNet service plans for business offer download thresholds of 500 Mb, spam and virus protection, and 10 email accounts with up to 2Gb storage for each account. Optional static IP address upgrades are available for all Elite service levels for an additional monthly fee of $10 to $20 depending upon the service selected.


After visiting several satellite forums online, the consensus among HughesNet subscribers is that this service can be frustratingly slow, especially at peak service times.

The slow downs subscribers experience may be attributed to a number of reasons, among them HughesNet's use of flow control to ensure bandwidth availability for all users, as well as, providing a satellite internet service with a high contention ratio.

More about
contention ratios in shared bandwidth connectivity and how they can affect service performance.

Bottom line about shared bandwidth service -

When a large number of subscribers sharing the same segment space on the satellite (high contention ratio) attempt to access the Internet at the same time, congestion results and disappointment is sure to follow.

Whatever may be causing the slowdowns which are affecting HughesNet service plans, one thing is certain. Subscribers will become more disenchanted with this service and seek alternative broadband solutions, unless this situation is resolved quickly.

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