HughesNet began offering satellite internet to consumers in rural areas of the country in 1996. Since then, the company has built a strong presence and has become one of the most well-known satellite internet providers in the industry. The company recently launched its Gen4 service, which yields some of the fastest speeds in satellite broadband. Its performance coupled with useful service features and excellent customer service earns HughesNet our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award.
The latest generation of HughesNet, Gen4, delivers significantly improved speed and performance over previous generations. The service's advertised download speed for its base package can reach 10Mbpswhile its maximum upload speed is 1Mbps. The service's actual speed averages aren't quite as fast (about 8Mbps download speed in the base package) but still quite fast for satellite internet. Most impressive is the service's premium package, the Power MAX plan. At 15Mbps, it offers the fastest maximum download speed of any satellite internet provider on our lineup. You're still likely to experience some latency with these speeds, which is common for all satellite internet providers. However, it's only noticeable with data-heavy activities such as online gaming, and there shouldn't be any lag as you browse, interact on social networking sites, and stream music and video.
With satellite internet, it's important to remember that you don't have unlimited downloading and uploading privileges. HughesNet, as well as all other satellite internet services, imposes a monthly data allowance. Your bandwidth allotment depends on the service package you select. For instance, the base package, the Power plan, gives you 10GB of anytime bandwidth and 10GB of "Bonus Bytes," which can be utilized during off-peak hours between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. You can also upgrade your service to receive a total of 40GB monthly. Within the realm of metered usage, HughesNet offers one of the most generous bandwidth allowances.
If you're worried that you might exceed your data allowance one month, HughesNet allows you to purchase additional data in specified increments. This option gives you the flexibility to exceed your bandwidth if necessary without incurring a penalty of throttled bandwidth. The service also makes it easy to track your bandwidth usage online to make sure that you don't go over and experience the dreaded bandwidth throttle.
HughesNet provides all of the important service features we looked for in satellite internet providers. It includes 10 email addresses in each package. The service allots each address only 2GB of storage, but this should be plenty for most users. You also can customize your HughesNet homepage with news, local weather and bookmarks to your favorite websites.
Like most satellite internet services, this one offers a download manager to help you optimize your bandwidth consumption. You can automatically schedule large downloads to take place during the middle the night or any other time you don't often utilize bandwidth.
Another bonus feature HughesNet offers is spam and virus protection so that you don't have to deal with spam, phishing, worms and viruses. If you're interested in creating a blog, the service also provides integrated browser tools that can help you make the blog you envision.
One thing HughesNet does not offer that most satellite broadband providers do is bundled services. It is common for internet companies to bundle their offering with a related service, such as television, and offer a discounted rate for both. This would be convenient, especially if you are also in the market for satellite television, but it certainly is not an essential qualifying feature of the best satellite internet providers.
A crucial component of any satellite internet provider is the customer service and technical support it provides. HughesNet delivers in every aspect of this category, with 24/7 technical support, a customer service website and convenient online account management. We especially like the fact that the company provides support via live chat. In addition to email and telephone support, this gives customers yet another method to receive technical support when they need it.
If you live in an area without access to cable or DSL, HughesNet may be your next best option. The satellite internet provider delivers excellent performance, features and customer support. In addition, HughesNet boasts the fastest download speed among satellite broadband providers (thought it comes at a cost). No matter which package you opt for, HughesNet lets you do more with a satellite internet connection.
HughesNet's actual connection speeds are very close to its advertised speeds. The company also offers excellent technical support and a breadth of online resources for customers.
This provider doesn't offer any bundling services, which would be convenient, although they aren't essential for satellite internet.
With packages that fit every budget and lifestyle, HughesNet is a great option to consider if you need satellite internet in a rural area.