Hughesnet and Wildblue: A Comparative Look
Frankly speaking, people who are looking at satellite internet services generally end up comparing two of the most popular: Hughesnet and Wildblue. Let’s weigh the benefits of each side by side by comparing their features:
Speed & Price
The lowest-priced package that Hughesnet offers is the Home plan at $59.99/month. Wildblue’s Value Pak is cheaper at $49.95. The $10 difference does come with something extra, though. Hughesnet allows you to surf at 700kbps while Wildblue is just at 512kbps. Those are subscribed speeds. Higher priced plans are comparable, so at these levels, it’s often a matter of considering other features.
FAP stands for Fair Access Policy. This is the limit imposed on subscribers by both companies to regulate the size of the data they download or upload. The limits vary depending on the package subscribed to.
Wildblue can handle frequent downloading of large files. Users who poke at their FAP limits more frequently than they should will experience reduced speed. Although the same thing happens to subscribers of Hughesnet, the recovery time for Wildblue is significantly longer. With Hughesnet, it’s quite possible to hit the limit, get reduced speed and surf using your subscribed speed in only a matter of 6 to 8 hours.
Satellite internet access, although very flexible, also has its limitations. Should problems crop up, it will often help to find a good reference such as internal diagnostics, error parameters, signal strength and set-up parameters, among others. Of the two, it is Hughesnet that has the upper hand.
Hughesnet’s modem offers a complete menu to view set-up and diagnostics features and settings. Wildblue’s modem, on the other hand, is the more basic and offers no user interface features.
Hughesnet generally doesn’t suffer as much as Wildblue in terms of service or signal drops. Drops are generally easy to manage by rebooting the modem. However, the fact that Wildblue’s modem doesn’t come with diagnostics feature often makes it difficult to identify the cause of the drops and subsequently manage it. Hughesnet’s modem features allow users a better look at the settings so troubleshooting the system in case of glitches is a lot easier.
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