With the launch of the Echostar XVII satellite that will deliver the new Hughesnet service known as Gen4 just weeks away, the technology promises to change the way users, who do not have the option of conventional high-speed connections, connect to the internet. The high throughput and coverage footprint of the satellite is unlike anything that is currently avalible, even the ViaSat-1 satellite that Exede uses. If we compare the new services “Hughesnet vs Exede” there are a couple of advantages Hughesnet will definitely have. Nothing is official as of yet from Hughes about speeds, and one can only speculate based on the information that has been posted on some popular internet forums about the new service.
From reports, from these forums unlike Exede, Hughesnet Gen4 will be available through-out the US. One major advantage Hughesnet has always had over Wildblue is the Fair Access Policy. This is the same with the Exede service which basically runs on a monthly basis, compared to how Hughesnet does it with daily free download periods.
Rumors are that the service prices and equipment/installation will be comparable to plans now. Speeds are still in question however. Some reports state speeds could be as high as 20 Mbps. This is definably possible with the 100 Gbps throughput Echostar XVII is capable of. Hughesnet promises that services not available in the past, will be no problem in the future. Some of these services I know first hand customers have urged for like BlockBuster VOD and netflix. Voice services like magicjack and Vonage will also not be a problem.
Could Satellite Internet finally compete with DSL and Cable?
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If these rumors about the very high speeds are true, and the pricing of the plans stay close to the same as now, we could very well see the satellite internet industry start to compete with DSL and Cable companies. For instance, if we see a plan that has speeds of around 12 Mbps from Hughesnet Gen4, that is matched to a current Basic plan price of $49.99, this would be faster and comparable to the competing plans from AT&T and Comcast. Currently both of these companies only offer a 6 Mbps plan for that price.
The download threshold debate
For years there have been numerous reviews about satellite internet’s limitations when it comes to the amount users can download in a certain time period. There has recently been vast improvements from Hughes with end user services to closely monitor your threshold limit. I read recently where someone did an experiment to see really how much you can really download on a Hughesnet system. With the free periods using the download manager they were able to get 40Gb in a monthly time span without any additional fees or penalties from Hughes. For the layman that’s up to 40 hours of video, or 10000 songs.
Again one can speculate on any plans about the new service, but from what I understand the everyday free time will still be available. Some say that the new limits will be split into different categories. For instance, a user will have a certain amount of your usage for videos/movies, another for browsing, and another for file downloading.
Easier and Faster Installation
One thing that is definite is the installation and upgrade process will be easier and quicker. Hughesnet has focused on making the installers life a little easier with this new service launch. This includes a faster and easier installation process. Currently the HN7000 and HN9000 systems need a two coax installation “one for transmit, one for receive”. The Gen4 system will only require ONE coax. Installers who roll-up on a customer who has pre-wired the house will no longer have to worry about running more cables. The modem commissioning, downloading, and verification process will be shorten from over fifteen minutes now, down to only two minutes. For customers who plan on upgrading, only a new modem and radio unit “the hardware on the dish” will be needed. The installer will be able to use your same dish. This can be comforting to a customer who needs high speed internet in rural area’s now and wants get a Hughesnet system before the new service is available.
What about online gaming with satellite?
A small percentage of customers might ask if the new service from Hughes will support online gaming. While online gaming has always worked with satellite internet it does and will continue have disadvantages. Games such as the popular World of Warcraft, or Diablo III which require a real-time/low latency connection will never be full supported by any satellite internet service. This is not a speed issue but more of a physics issue. Latency is the amount of time it takes for data to communicate with devices. Since broadband satellites are in geocentric orbit 22,500 miles above the earth, it takes a little time for for data request to transfer. However, games like Farmville or other facebook games will have no problems.
The Wrap-up and Verdict
As we still wait for Hughesnet to have an announcement about the new offerings, it is clear that they have a chance change how a vast majority of people explore and experience the internet. One thing that we can count on is their promise to deliver a faster and more reliable network. This from the number one choice for high-speed Internet by satellite, and has been in business for over 35 years. Brad’s Electronics will keep you up to date with any news from Hughes the day it happens. Here is a wrap-up on some of the features we can expect from Hughesnet Gen4:
- Faster Speeds
- Greater Download Capabilities
- Faster and Easier Installation
- Affordable Plans
- Greater video and voice support