New to HN and was told we could stream "a few games a month" but then our data would decrease. What they failed to tell us is that the buffering would make anything and everything unwatchable. Called tech support and was told "there is nothing we can do" but that recorded shows and games would not buffer. This is untrue as I just tested it. Any ideas on what to try?
If the show is recorded, it wouldn't be using data or be connected to the internet, so there would not be any buffering. Where are these shows being recorded to, and what do you use to watch them?
Latency and congestion affect satellite internet and there's nothing to be done about it,as it's related to the technology itself, the laws of physics, and users trying to do data intensive activities on a limited data environment.
if you want to watch games, why not get satellite TV? That uses no data and there's no buffering unless the weather is really bad.
"Latency and congestion affect satellite internet and there's nothing to be done about it, as it's related to the technology itself, the laws of physics, and users trying to do data intensive activities on a limited data environment. "
From what I understand latency is affected by the distance from the gateway -> satellite -> home router. While the satellite -> router probably can't be changed, the gateway -> satellite distance can be changed by having more gateways. I recently was told my connection was bad because of a storm in Cheyenne, WY !!! I live in North Carolina, are you trying to say HughesNet can't afford to have a closer gateway?
As for congestion, as you mentioned too many user on a limited data environment. One tech explained it to me as think of it as a highway, once there gets to be too many cars on the highway, everyone slows down. So the solution is to add more lanes to the highway, or limit the number of cars on the highway. Since HughesNet will never limit the number of users, they should add more lanes. The tech also explained, that there are many 'channels' available, and if you happen to be on a busy channel, you get poor reception. This tech actually switched the channel I was using and it cleared up the problem. Unfortunately, all the other times I call, the support person says they can't do that.
I sure hope the guy I talked to didn't get in trouble for helping me.
The satellite is approximately 38,000 km from your dish. Even if your ground station were in the next county it would still be a 76,000 km trip to the gateway, and a 152,000 km round trip. The latency on that is still a half a second, given the speed of light. Latency has nothing to do with the location of the ground station and has everything to do with the fact that the satellite is about 36,000 km above the equator in a geosynchronous orbit.
As for many lanes, look at an open source satellite coverage map (pick one, there are many): Each spot beam is aimed at a specific region of the country. The beams are serviced by and distributed amongst the ground stations in order to try to balance the potential population per ground station. What mysterious undocumented lanes were you looking for in particular?
Bottom line: What are you talking about? Or, did you just make all that stuff up?
Edit: And as for "switching the channel", sometimes the IP gateway that you're associated to gets overused. Simply rebooting the modem will re-associate you to a lesser used IP gateway... it's not magic and you didn't need a tech to do that.
Thanks for the quick response, and I apologize for my satellite technology ignorance. I am old guy, so you can understand my thinking that a gateway in Wyoming would have more latency then one closer. Your explanation was very good, thank you.
As for the lanes, I was referring to channels, but stand corrected, there are a set number of channels. Here is a link about the channels - https://us.hitrontech.com/blog/what-are-network-channels-and-how-does-it-affect-my-wifi/ . So, I'm assuming the tech switched my channel from whatever it was on to channel 1, 6 or 11.
If I made anything up, it was not intentional and I apologize for the confusion.
Follow up question on latency, - if the distances are always the same, why do I get different latency values when running speed tests?
The WiFi itself is how the satellite internet is delivered to your devices and is completely independent upon satellite latency and speed. Depending upon the protocol used, your WiFi signal may use multiple channels to widen the available bandwidth from 20MHz, up to 80MHz. The only way this can be impeded is if you have one or more neighbors whose personal WiFi may be using one (or more) of those channels, therefore interfering with it and creating a problem with your local WiFi usage. Usually, WiFi systems will analyze the local environment and pick the first unused set of available channels, but there are WiFi channel scanners for computers that can detect them as well.
Regarding the latency values in speed tests: You shouldn't put any faith in them, primarily because of the way satellite internet works. The latency tests weren't designed for the inherent latency that occurs due to the sheer distances involved, nor the additional effects of beam and gateway loading from high intensity of pings that result from server-intense activities such as streaming. The results would be all over the place at any given time. The only credible latency test that should be used is the one provided in the System Control Center's Connectivity Test, which provides an accurate assessment of the latency between your computer and your particular ground station (Wyoming) that includes radio signal latency as well as any processing delays due to user congestion. Given that, any additional latency from the internet backbone, that the ground station is connected to, is negligible for all intents and purposes (basically milliseconds as compared to 600+ milliseconds).
Thanks for the great explanations. You knowledge of this is impressive. Perhaps you can explain
why it I get so-so streaming between 12pm and 4-5pm, then unusable streaming from 5ish to 11-12
and then so-so streaming again? I have plenty of data tokens, so shouldn't be throttled for that reason.
This is why I was thinking congestion was the problem.
Could the 'beam' distribution you mentioned above be the problem?
It is congestion: Other people are trying to stream at the same time, which is pounding the **bleep** out of the ground station. It doesn't take much to disrupt one person streaming, and it doesn't take too many people trying to stream to disrupt a ground station. Streaming is a very ping-intensive operation and the inherent latency impacts the timing required. It just gets exponentially worse as more people are banging away at constantly eroding time windows until the system just becomes unresponsive.
Thanks for the quick response, so if I understand correctly, the problem is that HughesNet has too many customers per ground station. Since they'll never limit the amount of customers, they should add more ground stations.
Is there anyway to tell what ground station I'm using and the number of users hitting it?
I'm assuming snice you know these facts that HughesNet does also. If there are any HughesNet reps out there
what are you doing to remedy this situation?
"too many customers per ground station" - not necessarily the case. Too many customers doing server-intensive things simultaneously on a particular ground station's IP gateway is more accurate. A better analogy is everyone on the eastern seaboard turning on their air conditioning at full bore at the same time on the hottest day of the year until the grid collapses. Or more commonly, if you've ever seen your non-filament bulbs dim, it's your power company drawing down to accommodate the load. The grid was designed for that many people using electricity, just not that much of a spike at one given time. There is no remedy, per se, you just wait until the surge subsides. You also can't add more ground stations, because you would also have to add and aim more downlinks from the satellite to those additional ground stations (there are currently 17 of them), not to mention having to construct/procure the facilities to house them. You would also have to add beams to the current suite of 97 beams currently covering the country, then re-map all of them so it covers each area equitably. But this point is moot: The current capacity is the capacity. You can't just roll a repair truck into space to add new spot beams and ground station downlinks from what currently exists.
"Is there anyway to tell what ground station I'm using" - The ground station you're on is encoded in the IP gateway you're associated with. It's normally in the format J2xxxyyyHNSIGWzzzz, where xxx is the ground station location ID, yyy is the spot beam ID (for your general location), and zzzz is the particular IP gateway ID that you're currently associated with. You can find it on this page under Association Status. There's no way for you to know how many are loading your IP gateway, but if you feel it's being too sluggish you can try to re-associate to another less congested one by rebooting your modem (as I previously mentioned). The system will then attempt to pick the least congested IPGW available and put you on it.
Thanks for the great information! I see you are not a HughesNet employee, but you should be, you know way more than anyone I've ever talked to in support. So is ground station the same as a gateway? Or does a ground station house one or more gateway IP addresses? As for rebooting, it's the first thing I try when things are going south. And generally, the support person either has me do another reboot, or does it from their end. So looks like I'm stuck with poor service until I can find another ISP.
Once again thanks for patience with me.
Well, the first thing you should know is that I've been a retired defense contractor for almost 10 years. Prior to that was involved with Army projects that included mobile satellite comms, so I'm not an expert but am 100% dangerous.
The second thing you should know is that technical companies will invest the most in R&D, maintenance, and overhead - not a whole lot on support. They certainly wouldn't pay premium engineering or management rates for contracted phone support, which is less than pennies on the dollar. Bottom line is that whether you're talking about HughesNet or someone else, you get what you pay for, and you're not getting anyone's best and brightest when you make that phone call. The reason why it is contracted overseas is you can't even find domestic labor to support it for those low wages.
Conversely, that kind of user help should not be confused with the support provided by the admins on this site, who are a part of HN corporate management and attend to this site as time allows. They are exceptionally knowledgeable, courteous, helpful, and quite a bit more interested and involved in customer satisfaction (and hopefully tons more expensive) than contracted phone help.
So is ground station the same as a gateway? Or does a ground station house one or more gateway IP addresses?
Though I know you asked Mark these questions...
Yes, ground station and gateway are synonymous. In context, the gateway is the actual connection/entrance to the internet, and that's what the ground station provides. The satellite is, if you will, a sophisticated 'mirror' for your signal, redirecting it from your dish to the gateway and onto the internet, then back to you again. The ground station does support multiple gateway IP addresses, and the multiple channels within them, as each gateway supports multiple beams, but the overall throughput capacity of the gateway itself remains the same regardless of the number of spot beams and channels it's supporting. Sort of like if you added Y splitters to a garden hose. No matter how many you add to create more outlets, the throughput of the spigot remains the same.
They can upgrade the capacity at the ground stations, but the satellite is the sticking point, as once it's up there its capacity can't be added to, or at least not traditionally. They can sometimes update software to eke out a little more, but the physical components of it limit how much of that can be done.
Mark's a smart cookie with technology. Likely the most knowledgeable person currently active in this community.
For reference, regarding the streaming, you might want to look into PlayOn Cloud. It plays and records your chosen item on a 'cloud' based DVR, converts it to an mp4 file, then sends you a link so you can download it, whether manually, automatically or by scheduling, and then you can watch it on anything you have that can play mp4s, including Smart TVs. It doesn't work with all streaming services, but it supports most of the big ones.
Though it's not the same as streaming, it gets around the buffering, uses less of your data, and you can keep what you download forever, watching it anytime and however many times you want. @maratsade and I both use it, and I've built up quite a library over the last few years. A library of hundreds of movies and TV shows. So many that I have an 8TB USB external HDD nearly 60% filled so far, which I keep connected to my TV.
It's just an idea, but compared to streaming the movies or TV shows you really want to watch it ends up being worth it.
Thanks for the info. I'll definitely look into it. How much of the cost will HughesNet cover, since it's needed because of
their poor service? (Just kidding, they'd probably charge extra if they found out)