When you stream, are you turning off (or pausing) the Video Data Saver?
When the Video Data Saver (VDS) is on, which is the default setting, your streaming speed is throttled to that which is amenable to SD (DVD quality), which means you won't get any higher than about 2.5Mbps to 3Mbps at the very most. If you turn the VDS off or pause it, however, the throttling while streaming will stop. But, keep in mind that the VDS is designed to do just what it's name suggests, and streaming in HD uses a considerable amount of data compared to SD. With Netflix it's about 3GB vs 0.7GB per hour, respectively.
Though it's not a HughesNet accepted speed test, fast.com can show you the difference between the VDS being on and off (or paused), as the test mimics streaming (it's owned by Netflix).
Hope this helps.
Why would I have such a drop in bandwidth when I go to use my video streaming services?
Because of limited bandwidth. You found the peak usage time for your beam/gateway, when everyone is likely trying to stream (or whatever) at the same time.
Streaming is different than downloading a file, and is a very resource-demanding activity. The limited bandwidth available to each beam/gateway is only made worse by more people trying to stream to different sources at the same time.
Just the laggy nature of satellite communications alone complicates streaming exponentially with the number of users. As such, the actually speed averaged over time isn't really the problem. Latency and the ability to rapidly synchronize with the streaming server is. You should be able to successfully stream any SD video easily at 1.5Mbps.
Congestion is more noticeable with satellite internet because there's only so much data to go around. When more people use the data at the same time, it slows down the flow. It seems that where you live a lot of people are doing data-intensive things like streaming. Satellite internet can be used for streaming and it works, but it's not the best choice for cord cutters who stream all the time. Even though it's a cutting edge technology, it doesn't have the capacity at the moment, so it requires data management on the part of the user.
Any terrestial internet will have the ability to be expanded, as the companies can just add more capacity. Satellite internet launches a satellite into space, and they don't launch people to go up there and increase the throughput. They have to build satellites with more capacity, at great cost. They do, but it's not something that can be done in a day.
Is the congestion really that bad? All day I was getting down speeds between 35 to 49mbps and 2 to 4 mbps up. Then between that 6 to 10pm pacific time period I only get 1 to 4 mbps down and 2 to 4 mbps up. I am new to this service, so I am not sure what to expect. I move from a place where I had a fiber connection with 100 mpbs down and 100 mbps up and it never really fluctuated. So this is a big change for me. This is the sacrifice for living in the country. I am hoping Wave communication will have their new DSL lines out my way in the next couple years and I get a more dedicated speed. The hardest part about this is that I am paying more for a service that is less than what I was getting. The fiber line I was only paying $50 a month for.
Nature of the beast with satellite communications. I think we did the calculation once and I think all you needed was 40 people on the same beam trying to watch an HD movie at the same time to bring a beam to it's knees. Couple that with many people who just want to watch something and don't know the technical implications of HD vs SD and you have the potential for a nightmare... the video data saver is an attempt to try to limit the resolution to something manageable across the board from a data usage aspect, but because it tries to reduce the video resolution it also can also help to reduce congestion as well. I can tell you that most people tend to turn it off primarily because of the reasons stated elsewhere.