Today I set up our HughesNet Gen 5 portable dish again, aimed it, and acquired the satellite (Echostar 19). My signal level was 121 which, according to Mobile Internet Satellite, is a good level.
Then I conducted a number of Internet speed tests using several speed test programs. I settled on three HTML5 programs. I discovered some glaring differences between speed testers. For example, a few always ended up with very high download values and one was just plain wrong. It came up with Ping values that indicated the program had somehow exceeded the speed of light.
As a comparison, I also ran speed tests on our campground WiFi system and our Suddenlink cable modem.
SPEED TEST RESULTS
REAL WORLD TESTS
Speed tests are one thing, but actual day-to-day use is where the rubber meets the road.
I tried three tests: YouTube, Netflix, and AppleTV.
I streamed a Blackpink music video using HughesNET, campground WiFI, and our Suddenlink cable modem.
- Suddenlink – flawless 1080p HD. No buffering or sudden stops.
- Campground WiFi – very good 720 HD. Again, no buffering or sudden stops.
- HughesNET – ok to poor looking 360 SD. Buffering at first, then fine.
Netflix & AppleTV
I streamed a TV show on each service. Both Netflix and AppleTV have superb adaptive video engines.
- Suddenlink, Campground WiFi, and HughesNET – each one served up good looking to great video. I was pretty sure HughesNET had to be SD, but I had a hard time telling the difference.
Would I get a HughesNET Gen 5 again? Definitely.
Though I expected higher download speeds, the “slower” (14 – 20 Mbps) speeds I’ve seen so far did not seem to impact day-to-day performance. Note that any satellite Internet system will have high Ping values. While it’s not an issue with streaming video, long Ping delays can make applications like VoIP (voice over Internet) problematic.
The Gen 5 dish was easier to set up and to aim than I expected. However, a HughesNET Gen 5 system does take up room and requires a 2-year commitment.
I’ll try to do another evaluation later this year or early in 2019.