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Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?

Michael57
Senior

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?

Actually, I take that back a little bit.  Given the way HughesNet asks folks to do a specific speed test for getting escalated service for perceived performance, that is a good reason to not throttle it.  That way, they can tell if the customer's local hardware is the problem, but it also means that at least that particular speed test will never be a good indication of speeds customers should expect for normal traffic.

 

Now, why they also seem to white list other speed tests...I don't really have an answer for that.

GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?


@Michael57 wrote:

Actually, that's not true at all.   


Actually, yes it is.  And I didn't say there was anything special about speed tests.  Certain activities that are prioritized or deprioritized are identified by the signature they give.  Speed tests aren't one of them.  Speed tests are not streaming/video, nor game downloads, nor torrent downloads, etc.

 

Not everything is being prioritized or deprioritized.  In fact, most things aren't.  It's primarily work/schooling and those acivities that use large amounts of data, respectively, and some of those things can be identified by their signatures.    

 

And there's no doubt some things are being whitelisted, and that's part of the prioritization.  Zoom is one of them, or at least logic would dictate that it is.


Ryzen 5 3400G | MSI B450M Pro-M2 MAX | 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000 | XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe | Windows 10 Pro
Michael57
Senior

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?

No it isn't.  A game download and a file download are EXACTLY the same thing, games are just files.  There is no signature that will differentiate them.  Unless by signature you just mean the URL (which is a weird usage of the term)?

 

HughesNet (I would hope) is not trying to do packet inspection of all downloads to attempt to determine what the file is, in order to prioritize say a Document over a Game...that would be insantity.  The inspection is worth it to determine the type of traffic it is, at which point a speed test is just as ordinary as a game download, where as a VOIP packet (like zoom uses) could be given a higher priority.

 

That said, if you are trying to conserve bandwidth and minimize congestion, speed tests absolutely should be de-prioritized.  They are realatively big downloads, when compared to most web pages and completely superfluous.  The noted exception for debugging excluded.

 

 

MarkJFine
Associate Professor

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?

A packet is a packet. It contains data, routing information, and possibly security and crc checks. The only major difference between packets are their inherent size.

 

The protocol that involves those packets is a different story: What's getting lost in this conversation is the fact that some speed tests use simple protocols similar to file downloads, others use streaming techniques which are vastly more complicated and not suitable for satellite internet.

 

What's also getting lost in this conversation is the incorrect assumption that something like TestMy is being used as an accurate measurement of speed. It's being used as a 'common' measurement of speed in order to remove several other variables such as protocol, routing (to an extent), etc.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?


@Michael57 wrote:

No it isn't.  A game download and a file download are EXACTLY the same thing, games are just files.  There is no signature that will differentiate them.   


My mistake.  


Ryzen 5 3400G | MSI B450M Pro-M2 MAX | 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000 | XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe | Windows 10 Pro
Michael57
Senior

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?


@MarkJFine wrote:

A packet is a packet. It contains data, routing information, and possibly security and crc checks. The only major difference between packets are their inherent size.

 

The protocol that involves those packets is a different story: What's getting lost in this conversation is the fact that some speed tests use simple protocols similar to file downloads, others use streaming techniques which are vastly more complicated and not suitable for satellite internet.

 

What's also getting lost in this conversation is the incorrect assumption that something like TestMy is being used as an accurate measurement of speed. It's being used as a 'common' measurement of speed in order to remove several other variables such as protocol, routing (to an extent), etc.


The payloads of the packets of course are very different and modern networks can inspect them.   Typically that is done for malware but can also do some level of prioritization on them, like for VOIP traffic (Cisco made a killing off of this in the 90s).  But for all intents and purposes of this thread, you are correct.  

 

I think that last paragraph is the contentious piece though, and the question behind the question for this thread. 

 

After having read through a few threads of folks concerned about their network speed and inability to do certain things, a fast speed test seems to be used as a way sort of absolve HughesNet.  That is then followed up with comments that seem to suggest that either the website/service the customer is using or the route to get there is the problem.  That last part doesn't pass the sniff test. 

MarkJFine
Associate Professor

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?


@Michael57 wrote:

That last part doesn't pass the sniff test. 


Ok. Maybe this will further explain it. Each user is assigned a spot beam on the satellite that covers their specific geographic location. Several beams (up to 8 or 9) are then routed to one of 19 different ground stations spread across the West Coast. Each of those legs have different load demands. Each are also serviced by potentially different internet providers (however most - Level3, Qwest, etc. - have been merged under CenturyLink's various acquisitions), and therefore different nationwide backbones.

 

So, someone using the ground station in San Diego,CA may or may not have a more efficient route than someone using the Billings, MT ground station due to overall distance (and hence latency and how that's handled), weather, and most importantly the competency of the internet provider.

 

Tried to excise my negative CenturyLink bias, but that's not happening. But I think you can start to see how complex this really is. It's not as straightforward as terrestrial, where a lot of these parameters are neglegable.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?


@Michael57 wrote:

After having read through a few threads of folks concerned about their network speed and inability to do certain things, a fast speed test seems to be used as a way sort of absolve HughesNet.  That is then followed up with comments that seem to suggest that either the website/service the customer is using or the route to get there is the problem.  That last part doesn't pass the sniff test. 


A speed test, whether run prior to posting or by instruction, is simply a troubleshooting tool in order to determine whether an issue is as a result of overall slow speed or something else.  Basically, it's step one in the troubleshooting process, or step two after first determining whether someone is in FAP.

 

Sometimes a problem IS due to issues along the route.  Other times it's not.  It's not a go to excuse, but is only suggested when it could be the actual cause, and very often when a problem along the route is suspected, further steps are taken to see if that truly is the cause.  This isn't always the case, though, as sometimes the cause of the issue is already known.

 

Edit:  That's not to suggest slow speed can cause all problems seen, of course.


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Michael57
Senior

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?

First, @MarkJFine  thanks for contributing. @GabeU replied before I could reply to your comment so I'll just speak to both here for simplicity.

 

I'm a longtime software engineer, I don't code much anymore, but I'm still deeply involved at a leadership level.  At one point, I worked for an online brokerage.  Milliseconds costs tons of money in that scenario (not for us really, but for the customers) and so if you want customers, you have to have crazy optimizations around the time to from login to placing a trade, it matters greatly. 

Today, I work for a company that has a massive website presence, one of the largest (in terms of traffic) in the world.  I'm sure you've all been on one of the thousands of sites that we run at some point.  Again, we spend thousands of hours optimizing our traffic and load times, honestly it's still something we are measured on relative to our competition, frankly I think it's nonsense for our vertical but that's a whole other conversation.  I point this out, not to suggest that I know more than you on this topic, but simply to short circuit some explanations.  I know the factors involved for both terrestial and satelite internet.  I also understand, deeply, the nuance involved that affects "how fast a page loads" or stream quality etc. from source to destination and back, and what things are whose responsibility in the chain.

 

Here's my concern with that response ("that the problem is with the service or the route") It's a handwavy response that's a bit unfair and it's probably wrong.  The average person will not be able to refute it, and it's always a possiblity that an upstream issue is in fact the cause.  It's nearly impossible to rule out, especially if you don't have another ISP to use at that moment, and if you are using satelite you likely don't at that point in time.  It's like saying that you think you have a brain tumor, because you have a bad headache.  You could... but probably, it's not a tumor ( Smiley Very Happy ).

 

I also understand that managing throttlling and QoS during a time of massive usage isn't easy either, and satelite internet has a hard cap that just can't be scaled out, which adds to the challenge.  That said, the HughesNet network is the primary influencer of the speed customers are seeing. Whether that's HughesNet network congestion, well tuned prioritization, poorly tuned prioritization or some combination of all of it.

MarkJFine
Associate Professor

Re: Has HughesNet figured out a way to fake a speedtest?

Like you, I was once very technical, but found myself in upper management, now finally doing technical things again in early retirement. My point in all that is I understand your skepticism.

 

However, I could bore you with the proof I have of the problems upstream with CenturyLink. Common things that I've seen on HughesNet that were replicated on servers I have outside of HughesNet, but also behind CenturyLink. Stupid things like simple misrouted paths. Things like 1 minute gaps in service that send latency through the roof. Things like twitter bots and automated backups that end up timing out on authorization at their destinations (some of which are only two hops away... I actually had to move the twitter bot to a server on 1&1 in Germany for it to finally work).

 

I'm usually skeptical of most things. I'm not a skeptic on this.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.