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PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

New Member

PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Hi there,

I live in a very rural area, and have always used an AT&T mobile hotspot as my main internet connection. I do a lot of gaming and streaming, and the speeds were always doable, but with overage charges and the such, we opted to try out Hughesnet.

The modem was just installed yesterday, and though the speeds for streaming have been commendable, the ping is making gaming absolutely impossible. Now I understand that the high latency Hughesnet customers experience is due to the fact that it has to travel X amount of miles to the satellite before a command or response can be made, but what I don't quite understand is how this is different from the AT&T hotspot.

As far as numbers goes, a quick Chrome speed test with both the hotspot and Hughesnet reveals an average of 125ms ping with the hotspot and 850ms with Hughesnet. Now I know the distance from my house to a satelite and my house to an ATT tower is hardly comparable, but seriously? That is MASSIVE. 

I'd just like to know why latency is so huge compared to a similarly non-hard-wired connection. Thanks for you time.
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Honorary Alumnus

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Your signal travels at about the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second.
Its 22,300 miles from your transmitter to the satellite, then another 22,300 miles from the sat to the Hughes Earthside facilities where your signal then joins the "real internet", then your "answer" has to follow that same path in reverse to reach your computer.
You are always going to have at least 580-600 ms of latency.

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19 REPLIES 19
Honorary Alumnus

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Your signal travels at about the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second.
Its 22,300 miles from your transmitter to the satellite, then another 22,300 miles from the sat to the Hughes Earthside facilities where your signal then joins the "real internet", then your "answer" has to follow that same path in reverse to reach your computer.
You are always going to have at least 580-600 ms of latency.

View solution in original post

Advanced Tutor

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

AT&T's stuff travels on a ground-based system, not over satellite. So it travels out and back, at the very most, perhaps 20,000 miles total round trip if the remote server happened to be on the opposite side of the planet. More likely, your data travels a few thousand miles at the most over AT&T.

The Sales Agent who sold you HughesNet should have told you that it's not suitable for any kind of high-speed, fast-twitch, rapid-response gaming (first-person shooters, etc.).  
El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com
New Member

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

You will never play any FPS with hughesnet.  I gave up trying years ago.  You are better off with AT&T in regards to gaming. 
New Member

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Just like AT&T Hughes has various plans and each plan is for a different internet experience.  I think Hughes has a fast internet service for gaming.
Honorary Alumnus

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Yup,

Straight line distance from New York to Los Angeles is 2,448 miles.

A request and the return reply to/from computers in those cities is less than 5000 miles total.

That same request for a Hughes user is going to be 22,300 miles x 2 = 44,600 miles just for the Hughes portion of the signal travel.

The speed of light being a constant in both cases.


Moderator

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Good morning Randy,

Our community members have provided great insight. As you said, AT&T's travel time is hardly close to the travel time of a satellite system, including the fact that it travels to the satellite in geosynchronous orbit and then to a ground base network center. I hope this helps to clear things up.

Thank you
Amanda
New Member

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Why do all 15 hops in the tracert from my Hughes home to say Google.com all appear as 600ms or so (exception: my router and Hughes modem hops #1 and #2 are both below 1ms as expected)?

Only some of those very early hops after my modem are dish/satellite -- eventually we get to land and closer and closer to Google and the hops remain at 600 ms -- that means Hughes is throttling me at all those other hops (on uploads) to prevent overloading their weakest link hops.  That's disingenuous.  It's flat out throttling with Hughes and their service level agreements (SLAs) with other land-based Tier 1 ISPs in the route for the upload speeds.  And this has nothing whatsoever to do with whether I signed up for 1mbs download or 2mbs download.  They set the SLA to whatever they want to in either direction.

Next I go to a Time Warner home and I do tracert in the reverse direction to those satellite IP addresses (hops 3 and 4 from my Hughes home) from a Time Warner home to those satellites I see 90ms which is more appropriate (6,100 miles) -- that is just further proof Hughes is throttling me in only one direction to prevent overloading their weakest link hops.  That's disingenuous.  They can throttle in either direction and they should not be throttling at all.  Give me the 90 ms I see from my Time Warner home when I do my tracert to Google from my Hughes home.  And don’t be mealy-mouthed with a lame technical response to an advanced network engineer.  Instead, respond in writing “We never throttle our Hughes customers when they do uploads other than making sure they do not exceed the upload mbs they paid for” (by the way 1mbs is 0.125mbytes/sec  and with a latency of 500ms my upload speed is going to be based on not on the 1mbs I paid or but on what data I can put into my TCP buffer to travel over that long throttled journey.  My data can be uploaded a lot faster when I am not throttled and the 90ms tracert hop time from my Time Warner house to the satellite is proof that my buffers can travel 6 to 7 times faster if Hughes would allow it.  That is, for the most part latency and transmission speed are unrelated (until there is congestion or intentional throttling).  Transmission latency will be unchanged when you increase the bandwidth.
Assistant Professor

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

Latency on satellite internet can never be below about 500-550 ms under perfect conditions. You can choose to believe the science or not. The IP servers you are pinging are on the ground, you will get much lower ping to them if going through a ground based system to ping them. All I have to say.

Oh, the satellite is 22.3K miles out in space but again that is a science fact which you might choose to ignore.

Curious, did dinosaurs and man co-exist?
New Poster

Re: PING: AT&T Mobile Hotspot vs. Hughesnet

if your a network engineer then why didnt you take into consideration that when running a tracert form a hughesnet modem it has to hit the sat and back to the ground to the NOC but when running it from time warner to hughesnet it never goes through the sat. only to the NOC skipping the trip to and from the bird,