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HughesNet vs HughesNet

Or, a Tale of Two Sat Services.

When we arrived in Canada, I was hopeful that I would be able to get Internet service via our HughesNet Gen 5 dish. However, I had doubts since our Gen 5 HughesNet doesn’t “cover” most of Canada.

That’s the rub. The “old” HughesNet (or Ku-band for the geeks) covered wide areas while the newer Gen 5 HughesNet (or Ka-band) uses smaller, focused spot beams.

Ku-band good for Canada, Ka-band bad for Canada


With the older Ku-band (“Your father’s HughesNet”) satellite Internet service, you could get service in much of Canada and Alaska. The only “gotcha” was signal strength. The further north you went, the weaker the satellite signal (measured in dBW). So in the far north you needed a .98M or 1.2M satellite dish — that’s about 39 and 47 inches, respectively. Those are big, unwieldy dishes.

On the other hand, Ka-band HughesNet Gen 5 service pretty much stops at the Canadian border.

HughesNet Gen 5 Spot Beam Coverage


Nevertheless, Banff was pretty close to one of the HughesNet Gen 5 spot beams (Beam 6), so I gave it a try.

I tried to fool the HughesNet software that I was actually in Fairmont Hot Springs (which is just inside Beam 6) and not at Banff.

And I got close to getting a signal, but after several days of tweaking the satellite dish, I threw in the towel.

Almost . . .


One of my forum commenters, Al Morgan, found the same thing about HughesNet Gen 5 Canadian coverage:

Hughes Net should work up to about Fort Macleod in Alberta but as you’ve found out, no further.

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