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Understanding data usage/data loss and connection paths

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Honorary Alumnus

Understanding data usage/data loss and connection paths

We see many posts here in the Community related to data useage/data loss.

This post is intended to provide some insight in understanding how data is used and reported and what tools you have in measuring that usage.


We need to start by understanding that a satellite connection is more complex than a ground based connection.

Lets look at one of the major differences:


The Hughes Loop:

1 Hughes Loop.PNG


Every bit and byte of data has to run through the modem.

This useage is in three forms ......

>Data used by the modem itself in the form of "Command & Control" otherwise known as Overhead<

>Data used in the re-transmission of your data due to failing equipment<

>Data used by YOUR devices connected to the Modems LAN port<

There are procedures, processes and tools to assess and address each of these.


It is important to note that the Modem must remain powered up for the Hughes Loop to remain intact, that all internal Modem logs are retained so the forum Mods are able to use the data to support your issue and that all useage and history meters are updated as of the last modem "sync cycle" with the Gateway.


Taking them one by one:

>Data used by the modem itself in the form of "Command & Control" otherwise known as Overhead<


If you believe you are losing data the first step is a Modem Isolation Test:

2 Modem Isolation Test.jpg

The steps are straight forward:

#1: Take a sceenshot of the Status Meter

#2: Disconnect the Ethernet cable from the rear of the Modem


NOTE: If you have a HT2000w Wifi Modem the wireless "radios" must be disabled. This is done to insure that all connection paths are severed and the the Modem is truely isolated from everything except the Gateway


#3: Note the exact time of disconnect

#4: Wait a period of time. Perhaps overnight

#5: Reconnect the Ethernet cable (and re-enable radios if using a HT2000w wifi modem

#6: Take another screenshot of the Status Meter

#7: Note the exact time of reconnection

#8: Assess the results:

If more than a minor amount of data was used, start a new topic here in the Community and post your disconnect/reconnect screenshots along with times of each. Leave your Modem powered up to preserve the modem logs and the forum Mods will address your issue.


This will address any "rogue" modem issues, the first of the three items listed at the begining of this post


Next we have:

>Data used in the re-transmission of your data due to failing equipment<

For this we need to start a topic and tag one of the Mods and ask that they run remote diagnostics on your system.

It is possible for data that you have sent or requested to have to be retransmitted thereby using excess data. This can be due to failing modem/transmitter or poor aim among other things.


Finally the last and most difficult:

>Data used by YOUR devices connected to the Modems LAN port<

We have to understand "connection paths".

These are going to be ALL  of the potential ways that devices can access your Hughes Modem and thereby gain access to your data.

In the past (prior to the HT2000w wifi modem) things were pretty simple. Nothing connected to the Modem's single Eternet port ... equals no connection paths and no data usage:


Simple Network:

3 simple network.png

This is what we used to have ... one "connection path" to the Modem ..

It is more complex than it appears however.

That single computer has 65,536 com ports that can connect. That computer has software installed and both Programs  (that we can see are running) and Processes  (running in the background) that are going to send data along that single connection path.

The modem in turn sends and receives data to the Gateway along with "Command & Control" signals. Command & Control is NOT counted against your data allowance but normal send and receive data is as well as any data that needs to be retransmitted.

It can be tough to measure that data because Hughes does compress data where possible and users will benefit from that compression.


Lets go over the tools that Hughes makes available ... there are several.

Three "Usage" meters and two "History" meters and each has their own strengths and weaknesses.


Usage Meters:

None of the Usage Meters are exactly "real-time", there is some delay but not much ... as long as the modem is powered up and connected to the Gateway.  If the "Hughes Loop" is broken for any reason then the reported data will not be accurate until the next "sync cycle".



The SCC (System Control Center) meter is internal to the Modem and found at

(HT1100 shown below)




Hughes users have three Data Buckets from which to draw data.

In the case of Gen4 and Gen5 users with monthly plans these Data Buckets are:

Anytime Bytes: 8am to 2am local time

Bonus Bytes: 2am to 8am local time

Token Bytes: If available, used when Anytime Bytes are depleted during the 8am to 2am period


All three Data Buckets are shown in the SCC meter

The "resolution" of the SCC meter is .1 GB (100 MB) so it subject to "rounding errors" so it will display to the nearest 50 MB. That is OK for general use but lacks detail if trying to track an issue.


The second usage meter Hughes has made available is the Download Status Meter:

5 Download Status Meter.PNG


For a number of reasons I haven't upgraded to the latest and greatest but the main functions are there.

Remaining data in all three Data Buckets: Anytime, Bonus and Token.

The Download Status Meter is available for download from the Hughesnet MyAccount page:

It is a utility that installs on your computers systray and may be opened/closed as needed.

It too, once at the 1 GB usage level, suffers from rounding errors due to its .1 GB resolution



The third and most accurate of the useage meters is the MyAccount meter:

6 MyAccount Meter.PNG

This meter can be found after logging in here:


This is the most accurate of the three usage meters allowing you to read down to a single MB but you do have to connect to the Hughes MyAccount page and log in to access it.


In addition to the Useage meters we also have two History Displays.

One is on the History tab of the Download Status Meter:

7 DSM History Display.PNG


This is an older version but the essential points are made ... data per day.

The thing is, with three data buckets we have to define "Day" if we are to verifiy and track data usage.


The last History display is found on the Hughes MyAccount page after logging in:

8 MyAccount History.PNG


This last version is step backwards from what we used to have as it lacks the ability to see hour-by-hour usage for the last 24 hour period. This really is essential for those trying to pin down just when something happened. For that as well as to who or what used the data we have to employ other means.


Hughes is an ISP, contracted to provide a set amount of data per month. As such they really don't track where a user goes and what they do short of having a court order or suspected illegal activity. They only track usage to the extent needed to meet the usage contract. If a user disagrees then they (the user) need to provide a counter argument backed by data.


Lets look at our single connection path Network:


9 Networks Points A and B.png


Hughes has their measurment point, Point A and the best place to make our counter argument is at the other end of the connection path ... Point B


For that we need to install software such as Glasswire to measure what passes Point B and then compare it to the Hughes Point A value:

10 Networks Points A and B.png



 That brings us to GlassWire, The free version is fine for our purpose.


Glasswire interface and suggested setup:

11 Glasswire setup.png


There is learning curve to Glasswire but here are some tips on how to define and display a period:

12 Glasswire My Details.PNG


So we now have a counter argument for usage ... if we have only a single connection path

Glasswire will only monitor the usage of the single computer that it is installed on,


Most user networks involve multiple connection paths ... and data can be used by any of them. While Hughes still has their Point A we now have many Point B's, one for each wired device and even worse we have introduced a Point C ... (router setup and vulnerabilites) and a Point D ... namely every wireless frequency.


Now our Network has evolved into something like this:

13 Typical Home Network.png




We could and should install a copy of Glasswire on all Windows (Win7 and up) based computers both wired and wireless but that leaves many many connection paths unmonitored.

There have been so many changes lately, changes in OS's, video card drivers that "call home", multiple vulnerabilities in several brands of Routers ... Linksys and Netgear to name a couple. Beyond Ads and auto-start videos we now have HTML5 pre-fetch that is using a lot of data if not blocked with the proper browser extentions ....


The questions then become ... Who, What, When and Where?

Who? ... what device among all our devices?

What? .. what program, process or firmware?

When? ... when was the data used?

Where? ... where did this devices go on the'net?


Potential Causes:


One comment frequently seen is "Nothing has changed on my end, I'm doing nothing different than I have ever done".

This is likely an accurate statement except  ... something may have changed with a number of other things:


> Changes in the behavior of websites <

Many sites have "auto-start" embedded video content that if not blocked will eat massive amounts of data. To add to that and is much harder to detect is that more and more sites now have HTML5 video content that will, unless blocked by a browser extension, consume data by "pre-fetching" video content. More sites are adding this feature almost daily it seems.


> Virus/Malware/Adware <

No one is immune to these types of threats.

The fact that you run an Antivirus program does not provide 100% immunity. Zero Day exploits are discovered daily.

Ensuring that your virus definitions are up to date and running a weekly manual scan will help but not eliminate the threat entirely. It is also recommended to download the free version of Malwarebytes and run a weekly manual scan.


> Cloud and Sync functions <

Many cloud based backup and synchronization functions are enabled by default. In some cases these may have been previously disabled by the user only to have been re-enabled due to program updates or the result of Operating System updates.


> Operating System behavior <

Windows 10 is a difficult OS to manage at best. Updates can only be controlled in very limited fashion. Win10 also is set to share "telemetry"  with Microsoft thereby using even more data. Win10 can also "share" updates that it has downloaded with other computers unless this is disabled.

Other OS's such as Win7 and 8.1 can emulate some of these Win10 behaviors depending upon which updates have been installed.


> Network security >

There can be Router setting aspects that if overlooked can allow usage paths that aren't apparent:


Have you changed the default username and password that allows access to the Router's internal settings page?

Have you enabled strong wireless encryption on all wireless frequencies?

Have you disabled the Routers WPS function?

Have you disabled all wireless "Guest Accounts"?

Have you checked for any Router internal "services" that may be enabled?


> Software and browser corruption <

Software at times simply does not do as its told. I have software installed to update my Garmin GPS. Despite settings to the contrary it still periodically connects as a background process and uses some data.

Browsers can become corrupted. More than one Hughes user over the years has been able to pinpoint excessive usage to a given browser ... Firefox, Chrome, whatever ... take your pick. Uninstalling and reinstalling fixed the issue.


> Overlooked devices such as networked wireless printers <

One often overlooked area of usage is that of both wired and wireless printers. Depending on permissions, these devices can use massive amounts of data for updates to their software suite packages.


There can be no comprehensive "Do this and all is well" list because the landscape is in a constant state of change.




Hopefully it is apparent that there is no single cause to data usage, hence there can be no single "silver bullet" cure.


It now becomes a matter of identification and that requires that we monitor ALL connection paths between our devices and "POINT A",  that traffic point that Hughes uses to charge our monthly data allotment.


In a simple network consisting of a single wired computer directly connected to a non-WiFi modem we need only install Glasswire and compare its reported usage to that claimed by Hughes.

We could then sift through the Glasswire output to identify ways to cut usage and yes there are many ways ... but the culprits must first be ID'd.


Very few of us however have such a simple setup. With the inclusion of routers and Wifi connections other steps need to be considered.

Here is a diagram outlining a more typical setup that defines the various connection paths:


14 Router graphic.png


First we have POINT A: The Hughes measurement point

Then we have, on our side of the Network:

Point B: One or more wired devices connected to the Router's LAN ports

Point C: Router "internals" consisting of firmware and services that some Routers supply

Point 😧 That point within the Router that accounts for all wireless traffic. This can be divided into one or more wireless frequencies

Point E: This is the total traffic through the Router including upload and download and covers all connection path.


Point E is the most logical point to monitor to use as a comparison point to the usage claimed by Hughes. If the proper data is available it will also define how much data is being used overall, by each device and which software application is using the data as well as when the data was used.


Quickest Solution:

The fastest solution to identifying how much data is being used by every device is to measure the amount of data that passes through a central point, defined as Point E in the above commentary, and that point lays within some Routers. Point E is not a place, it is a Router function.


The Router has to have a Traffic Analyzer function and not all do. In some cases Router functions can be enhanced through a firmware update.

I strongly suggest that anyone that has questions related to their usage replace their Router with one that can track and display usage on the basis of Date, Time, Device and Application.


In the past whenever a subscriber needed to have more than a single device sharing their connection they simply installed their own Router so as to add additional LAN ports and/or add wireless capacity.

This still holds true today even with the introduction of the Hughes HT2000w Wifi modem.


If a subscriber has a HT2000w Wifi Modem we have a slightly different scenario In that the Modem proper and the wireless functions are combined in the same unit. This means that we have to take a different approach as there is no means in which to "insert" a Router with data tracking ability between the Modem proper and the WiFi Modems wireless functions.


Functional Diagram of the WiFi Modem:



15 WiFi Modem.png



 There is however a way around this issue and it may even provide better overall network performance.


The answer is to disable the WiFi Modems wireless channels and install our own Router that has the "tools" to measure all data that passes through the "network" on its way to/from the Hughes Modem.


While the idea of purchasing and installing a new Router seems drastic this will very quickly pinpoint where to concentrate your efforts to reduce data consumption across the board and find every elusive device, program and application.


There are a number of ways our Network "security" and performance can be improved by doing so:


I have always felt that a user's Router holds the "Keys to the Network Kingdom"

All routers have at least one hardware "Firewall" and many have two or more.

Having your own Router means .... Your Router, Your Rules  and there is value in that.

Another aspect is in performance ... how powerful is the Routers CPU? How much memory is available?


Not all Routers are created equal ......

From a wireless standpoint the ability to place the unit in the best location is very important ... this is tough to do with a WiFi modem .. Routers like an elevated central location, hard to do with a WiFi modem and the lack of external antennas that can be aimed further limits "tuning" a wireless router to its environment.


The addition of a quality Router to a users Network can enhance performance, add additional security and provide detailed information of data used.


There are a number of router brands that offer models with the capacity to track data in various way. Research your choice carefully.

In this example I'm using an Asus RT-AC3100 running the Asuswrt-Merlin firmware that provides mild but stable enhancements over the stock Asus firmware.


We can define a period of days and display the total usage per day and also see the amounts used by individual computers and devices:

1 traffic 2 day all.PNG



We can choose a statistical view that will depict hours of operation in the upper blue graph:

2 traffic all.PNG


We can view the hours of usage by an individual device:

3 traffic hours samsung.PNG


We can see what applications and processes were active during the period in question:

4 traffic where first.PNG5 traffic where second.PNG


To be effective, you have to monitor all connection paths all of the time. This can only be done from a central point, that point being your router.

It is the nature of "missing data" to be somewhat sporatic in nature. The causes are many and varied ... virus/malware activity, overlooked cloud applications and so on.


Before you can control your data, you have to indentify the devices, programs and processes that consume that data.





















It is the AC1200 Smart WiFi R6220. I was able to upgrade the firmware and my UPnP was enabled. So I disabled it. Everything else you mentioned is already disabled.