Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hughesnet Woes

I thought it was a great idea. Get satellite internet service and my s-l-o-o-o-w dial-up problems would be over.

Boy was I wrong.

Not only am I paying four times as much for the satellite access as I was for dial-up, the speeds are not nearly what was promised by the company that installed the system, and there is little help available, apparently, from the company.

Downloading--email, internet browsing, etc--is better, I admit that. But uploading? Oh my! It's MUCH worse--how about a speedy 8 kbps tonight?
It's so bad that I cannot upload even one photo. This morning's speed was better (48 kbps) but nowhere near the 200 promised by the website. As a matter of fact, I ran speed tests three times a day for the past three days and the fastest speed was this morning's 48 kbps.

The problem, according to India ("Sam" his name was; the last two with distinctively Indian accents were "Peter" and "Allen") is the weather. That's right. Snow on the dish makes it slow. I can kinda sorta buy that extremely bad weather will impact the system. It makes sense that dense cloud cover and heavy rain or snow can create enough of an obstruction to impact service.

But this morning the sun was shining and there was no snow anywhere. So given the logic presented to me, I should have been experiencing peak speeds. But I was getting only a quarter of that. Go figure.

I think the real problem is that Hughesnet has oversubscribed its service. Too many people on the system slow it down, no matter the weather. The company istelf acknowledges that many users during a 24-hour period impact speeds for all--they instituted a "Fair Use" policy that restricts the amount one user can download in 24 hours. What happens if you download more than your fair share? Slow speeds, service interruptions, just like what I've been experiencing.

The thing is, I haven't used anything like 'at peak' amounts, except for a few instances when grandkids were visiting and madly uploading to their MySpace pages (a good reason to stay away from MySpace--the number of preteens who have pages there. Although the site rules say you must be 18, there is no way to enforce the age limit, so children as young as 8 and 9 have sites. Scary).

Meanwhile, Hughesnet tells me they are investigating, and I should clear the snow from my dish and check the speed when the sun is shining! But the sun rarely shines in February, and I'm not home when it does.

So if you're considering satellite internet, be warned that it will not be all that the sales people tell you. It will be far, far less and you will be sadly disappointed, as I have been, to find that you are paying 4 times the price for service that is only minimally better than dial-up.


Mary said...

My Garmin GPS also has problems with really cloudy or foggy conditions. . .and sometimes it just gets ornery and tells me wrong directions.

Granny Sue said...

Do you get ornery too, like I do? Last week, and so far this one, have been nothing but cloudy. Which means very slow speeds, and very ornery me!

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