PROS / HughesNet offers you high-speed internet for when you're home or on the road, such as in your RV.
CONS / This service provider doesn't offer the highest connection speeds out of the companies we reviewed.
VERDICT / With packages that fit every budget and lifestyle, HughesNet is a great option for satellite internet in a rural area.
HughesNet is one of the best-known satellite internet providers in the industry. With its Gen4 service, it offers some of the highest speeds in satellite broadband. Its performance, coupled with useful service features, earns HughesNet our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.
Speeds & Threshold
The latest generation of HughesNet, Gen4, delivers significantly improved speed and performance over previous generations, which means you can get good internet connections in rural areas. The service's advertised download speed for its base package can reach 10 Mbps, while its maximum upload speed is 1 Mbps. The service's actual speed averages aren't quite as fast but are still very good for satellite internet. Its Power MAX plan offers 15 Mbps, the highest maximum download speed of any satellite internet provider on our lineup.
With satellite internet, you don't have unlimited downloading and uploading privileges. Like all satellite internet services, HughesNet imposes a monthly data allowance. Your bandwidth allotment depends on the service package you select. For instance, the midrange package, the Power plan, gives you 10GB of anytime bandwidth and 10GB of Bonus Bytes, which you can use 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, each with 5GB of storage. You also can customize your HughesNet homepage with news, local weather and bookmarks for your favorite websites.
Like most satellite internet services, this provider offers a download manager to help you optimize your bandwidth consumption. You can automatically schedule large downloads to take place during the middle of the night or any other time you don't often use bandwidth.
HughesNet offers spam and virus protection so that you don't have to deal with spam, phishing, worms and viruses. In case you're interested in creating a blog, the service also provides integrated browser tools.
If you travel for extended times or have two homes you live in according to the season, HughesNet lets you save on your bill by offering a vacation plan. With this plan, you pay a lower subscription rate when you are not in your home for extended periods, at least a couple of months. This lets you keep the service while not paying the full rate when you aren't there to use it. Another great feature for travelers is this provider's mobile satellite internet option. With additional equipment, you can take your service with you when you travel, such as in an RV or a boat.
HughesNet is also the only service we reviewed that offers a 30-day return policy. If, for some reason, the service does not work for your home, you have 30 days to return the equipment and cancel without incurring huge penalties.
If you get satellite internet via DirecTV, you can add HughesNet to your account through DirecTV's bundling plan and save a little on both services. The company also offers internet phone service.
Help & Support
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. In addition to email and telephone support, HughesNet offers live chat support.
If you live in an area without access to cable or DSL, HughesNet is a great option. This satellite internet provider delivers excellent performance, features and customer support. HughesNet boasts the highest download speed among satellite broadband providers, and its additional services for mobile satellite internet make it especially attractive if you travel. No matter which package you opt for, HughesNet gives you a solid satellite internet connection.