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Short Video: Is the Hughesnet speed test VALID? Why isn't acceptable for testing?

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Associate Professor

Short Video: Is the Hughesnet speed test VALID? Why isn't acceptable for testing?

This video and post is to be used to help educate consumers of Hughesnet Satellite services in regards to network speeds and what consumers can see.  

Due to recent users constantly stating that things aren't "Real World" when it comes to diagnostics, I figured I would record a video showing several things.  The video is approximately 30MB, I am sitting on the current PowerMax plan of 15Mbps down and 2Mbps up  - I Encourage you to watch this

1: What my router it self sees when I am initiating a speedtest
2: What the speedtest reports
3: That these are in fact "real world".

This will be a FAQ style post.

Q: Why does show I get half or even a TENTH of my advertised speeds?
A: This is due to many factors, one being that doesn't take into account compression technology located on the Hughes Infrastructure.  Hughesnet will take and compress any traffic it can and send it to the consumer, then the modem decompresses it and releases this information as quickly as possible, upto your plan rates.  Another reason may not show accurate speeds is because of location. Lets use an example for this.

Lets say you live in Kentucky, your signal travels up into space, then back down in an entirely DIFFERENT part of the country, I could be coming down in Washington, Arizona, or even Florida. From there my signal has to travel to the server for processing.  Along this route I could be going through as many as 20 different internet providers or more, each with their own network congestion issues.  Even the server it self can be suffering from a load that's so heavy it can't give a good measurement.

Q: Why do posters sometimes recommend instead of the Hughesnet tests then?
A: Historically, has for MANY members indicated results that are very similar to the Hughesnet test, while they don't take into account the Web Acceleration system, they have programmed the test to tolerate satellite based services unlike

Q: What is the difference between Third Party tests like and the Hughes Speed Test?
A: typically deploys Flash for testing purposes, these types of tests are known to be glitchy at best, where as the Hughesnet speed tests employee Java to measure and upload the results it sees back to the test server.  With Java the Hughes test can take into account the Web Acceleration system.

Q: Why does report signifigantly HIGHER than the Hughes test at times?
A: This could be due to server loading.  At times there can be far more people testing on the Hughes server it self, and this can overloading it, giving invalid results, where as the testmy server might not be overloaded.

Q: Does Hughesnet deploy QoS controls?
A: Yes, as they are technically a wireless infrastructure they must deploy QoS to ensure that one user is NOT overloading the system to the point that thousands of others can't even use the service.

Q: Why do I only see a fraction of my total download speeds while browsing the internet, or downloading software online?
A: This can be caused by many things, but typically, websites will never deliver speeds that will peak your connection out.  As far as downloads are concerned, imagine a single computer that has 100,000 users on it, downloading from it.  Every user has a 10Mbps connection, and requests the same download.  No single server/computer in the world can keep up with 1 Terabit total throughput and still be capable of servicing other users.  The owners of these websites place caps in place so that you downloading software doesn't impact their entire client base.

Q: What is that website on the right side of the video?
A: That is my router with PFSense loaded onto it so that I can display in real time what is going through my network.  This is by no means a normal router, or anything that 99.99% of typical users will ever use, or even see, you see this sort of thing in Schools, Government and Enterprise setups.

Q: Why can't I play my video games online even though my speeds are 10 times faster?
A: There are two measurements when it comes to internet connectivity.  Latency or Ping, and Download/Upload speeds.  Latency on a DSL connection sits between 150 and 300ms, this is a fast response time. Cable can be as low as 16ms to a service.  Satellite on the other hand, due to the distance the signal travels can be anywhere from approximately 550ms to 2000ms.

Q: Ok, so my speeds are low according to all these test websites, what now?
A: Speeds can vary based upon the time of day for one reason, congestion.  That is, the system can only adequately support so many people at one time before speeds start to slow down for everyone.  Once they slow down, this is called "Peak Time".  Every internet provider experiences it but it is more evident on Satellite communications.  What you can do is run a series of tests through out the day to ensure your unit IS operating properly.  These tests must be done on the Hughesnet server, you do 5 back to back in the morning, another 5 mid-day, and another 5 at night.  Using these results lets engineering know whether your system isn't operating properly, or if the slow speeds your experiencing is because of network congestion.

Q: It seriously feels like Hughesnet is singling me and others out and crippling our speeds, why is this?
A: They are not crippling users connections by accident, nor on purpose.  The satellite in space has multiple beams, and congestion is purely based upon each beam.  Some beams have so few users that they NEVER see congestion or slowed speeds, while other users may never see more than 80% of the advertised speed at ANY time of the day.

Q: How are these tests in the video real world?
A: They are no different than visiting websites, and downloading files via traditional methods.  The only difference is that these tests try to find your maximum throughput to the server your testing.  Just to give you an idea and something to think about, while browsing facebook, you get a stream of data for a few seconds at about 1Mbps, yet when you stream a video you could get your plans full speeds congestion low of course.

Q: Why is it that sometimes I see one program say I am getting 10Mbps, while another reports 9.6Mbps or similar, yet they are finishing at the same time?
A: This is due to how data is counted, some software counts differently, base-10 vs base-2.  It's why a 1Terabyte Hard Drive isn't 1Terabyte in your software.  The same rules apply here.
Honorary Alumnus

Well done Charles !

We will need to bookmark this thread for future reference

New Member

Yes, this was well done.  The best explanation I've read so far.  What it boils down to in the end is, there are always variables no matter what type of service you have, but especially with Satellite.  If Satellite is your only choice, as it is for us in our rural area, you do the best you can by working with your provider and educating yourself, properly monitoring your usage, etc.  Thanks for posting this!
Assistant Professor

Very nice Charles!  

Good morning Charles,

This is great, thank you for preparing and sharing all this! I'm sure this information will benefit the community. 

If you have a tech or billing question and need help, please start a new thread in the appropriate board. Unsolicited Private Messages may not get replies.

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