LOL, BirdDog! And thanks! It did get 100% better with Gen4, but I was curious. Now I know! ETA: so going by the graphic on the Wikipedia article, the big problem is those huge clouds next to the little houses.
Yep, once one learns, and willing to do so, how to corral data use it is actually very reliable and even fast in most cases. Not broadband, although I'm on a beam/gateway where broadband download speed is frequent, as in +25 Mbps. I know that is not the norm for most.
I have good AT&T 4G LTE signal and even considered switching to it entirely when moving HughesNet to new house up the mountain just a bit. However after weighing the cost/benefit ratio I decided to stay with Hughes. The latency is not something that bothers me since I don't game online and again I'm lucky enough to have the 50/50 Ultra plan.
Use the 4G as backup and do understand how people who never had satellite before complain about slowness even when browsing. When I use my hotspot pages do load quicker. But a second or two slower doesn't make me crazy. I come from dial-up BBS days.
I come from dial-up too, so HN is indeed blazing fast compared to that. At work they have pretty fast internet, but it's not that much different. I also don't do online gaming and only stream towards the end of the period when I have some data left over., or use the Bonus Bytes early in the morning. I don't have 4G where I live, but even 3G is OK as a backup and perhaps a teeny bit faster than Hughesnet but nothing to write home about. I don't have the Ultra plan available here (is that limited to a specific type of area?), but I'm not sure I even need 50 GB of anytime bytes.
The Ultra plan is only available on certain beams/gateways that aren't (weren't) loaded so much. I jumped on it about two years ago when they first offered it. Not sure it is available anymore in my area. Sometimes nice to be "grandfathered".
Wife and I like Netflix on weekends but still don't come close to using entire 50 GB Anytime data allowance for the month.
A lot has to do with compression... Hughes can compress non-secure links as they can see the data and decompress it on the other end... The modem can also prefetch a lot of things on a website before it's actually needed to start loading so that it's ready. Secure links by nature will always be slower, even on land-based connections they will be slower than non-secure.
I don't think it's ever been available in my area...the most we get here is 20/50. We rely on Netflix DVDs a lot; I personally prefer them to streaming. I haven't watched TV for 3 years and returned one of the boxes -- the rest of the family threatened violence if I cancelled DirecTV.