VoIP, Gaming and Download Options from Hughesnet and Wildblue Satellite InternetRemote locations call for two things: communication and recreation. For those of you who've gone beyond being weekenders to become fulltime outside-the-grid residents, it's probably satellite internet access or nothing. Here, we take a look at Hughesnet and Wildblue and how they perform based on these three criteria:
The advent of Voice Over Internet Protocol has made it possible for internet users to take advantage of this inexpensive alternative to landline-based phone services. But since Hughesnet and Wildblue are satellite internet services, expect some latency for both. Latency can often affect the quality of the call since a delay in the conversation may become more and more noticeable as the latency increases.
Some testers have pegged the average ping time for Wildblue as ranging from 600 to 700 ms. With Hughesnet, it typically runs from 800 to 1000 ms depending on the system used. However, either system worked well comparably regardless of the difference in ping times. It's also worth mentioning that higher-level packages perform much better for use with VoIP.
The trick with online gaming is not whether or not Hughesnet's or Wildblue's systems could connect. Rather, it's whether the games could be played via satellite internet. But here's the bottomline: those games that functioned well even with dial-up will work better using satellite internet. After all, satellite internet is faster than a dial-up connection.
When it comes to games that can only be handled by broadband, it's a different matter altogether. They will be difficult to play over a satellite internet connection. Keeping this in mind will be helpful particularly where reaction-sensitive games are involved.
Download and surfing speeds vary for both Hughesnet and Wildblue, depending on the package a subscriber buys. If money is not such a big issue, it's often best to go for higher-level packages, such as Hughesnet's Pro Plan and Wildblue's Select Pak. Professional level packages also offer faster speeds (1500 kbps max for both).
For the most basic plans, though, Hughesnet charges $59.99 for their Home plan. That's $10 more compared to Wildblue's Value Pak. The difference, however, is that Hughesnet offers 700kbps against Wildblue's 512kbps.
Each company's Fair Access Policy or FAP can also affect downloading/uploading activities. Hughesnet's FAP limit is smaller than Wildblue's, which means the amount of data that can be downloaded/uploaded will be considerably affected.
However, Hughesnet is much more tolerant of users who reach their FAP limits more frequently. Their penalty consists mainly of reduction of connection speed for about 8 hours. Wildblue is much more stringent – subscribers often experience reduced speeds for 48 hours or even more. If you're in a remote area trying to communicate or access some form of online entertainment, that's probably not such a good deal.
Hughesnet and Wildblue: A Comparative Look
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