In the sprawling digital landscape of America, where connectivity is as essential as the air we breathe, two giants stand tall: Viasat and HughesNet. These satellite internet behemoths beam down data from the vastness of space, ensuring that even the most remote corners of our nation aren’t left in the digital dark. But when it comes to choosing between them, which one truly shines brighter?
Much like the debate between Spectrum and its rivals, AT&T Fiber and Frontier, the choice isn’t always clear-cut. It’s not just about speed or price; it’s about reliability, customer service, and the little extras that can make all the difference.
So, if you’re sitting there, scratching your head, wondering which satellite provider to go with, you’re in the right place. We’ve delved deep, comparing these two providers head-to-head, so you don’t have to. From speeds and technology to data allowances and pricing, we’ve got you covered.
Viasat, once a fledgling player in the satellite internet arena, has grown into a formidable force, offering a range of services that cater to a diverse clientele. Its journey in the digital realm has been marked by innovation, commitment, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
At the heart of Viasat’s offerings is its speed. In certain regions, Viasat boasts impressive speeds of up to 100Mbps, a figure that would have been unimaginable for satellite internet just a few years ago. However, it’s essential to temper expectations, as in many areas, the top speed offered by Viasat is 12 Mbps. This variability underscores the importance of location in determining the quality of service one can expect.
But speed isn’t the only factor that sets Viasat apart. The company’s advanced satellite technology plays a pivotal role in its ability to deliver consistent and reliable service. The launch of ViaSat-2 in 2017 marked a significant milestone, allowing the company to offer faster speeds and more extensive coverage. This technological edge is further accentuated by the company’s plans to launch even more advanced satellites in the future, ensuring that Viasat remains at the forefront of the satellite internet industry.
Data, the lifeblood of any internet service, is another area where Viasat shines. While the company offers unlimited data, it’s essential to understand the nuances. Viasat’s plans come with data thresholds, ranging between 60GB and 500GB. Once users hit these thresholds, they can still access the internet, but at reduced speeds. This approach ensures that users are never entirely cut off, even if they’ve consumed their high-speed data allowance. For those who need more, Viasat offers the flexibility to purchase additional data, ensuring that users are always connected, no matter their consumption patterns.
Beyond the technical specifications, what truly sets Viasat apart is its commitment to customer satisfaction. The company understands the unique challenges faced by those in remote areas and has tailored its offerings to ensure that these users are not left behind in the digital age. Whether it’s a rancher in Montana, a researcher in Alaska, or a family in the rural Midwest, Viasat’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere.
- Impressive Speeds
- Advanced Technology
- Wide Coverage
- Variable Speeds
- Data Throttling
HughesNet, a name synonymous with satellite internet, has been a stalwart in the industry for years. With its roots deeply entrenched in the world of satellite communications, the company has evolved, adapted, and innovated to meet the ever-changing demands of the digital age.
One of the standout offerings from HughesNet is its unique blend of traditional satellite-only plans and the innovative HughesNet Fusion plans. The Fusion plans are a testament to the company’s forward-thinking approach, combining satellite and terrestrial wireless connections. This hybrid model ensures that users get the best of both worlds: the expansive coverage of satellite and the reduced latency of terrestrial wireless. It’s a solution designed for activities that demand real-time responsiveness, like online gaming or video chats.
When it comes to speed, HughesNet offers a consistent experience. With plans ranging in speeds from 15-50 Mbps, users can expect a connection that’s robust enough for most online activities, from browsing and emailing to streaming in high definition. However, it’s worth noting that real-world speeds can sometimes fall below these advertised figures, a common trait among many internet service providers.
Data is a crucial aspect of any internet service, and HughesNet doesn’t disappoint. While their plans come with specific data caps, they’ve introduced a unique feature to mitigate the limitations: the Bonus Zone. Every HughesNet plan comes equipped with an additional 50 GB of Bonus Zone data, available for use between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. This feature is a boon for users who can schedule data-intensive tasks, like system updates or large downloads, during these off-peak hours, ensuring that their primary data allowance remains untouched.
However, it’s not just about the technicalities. HughesNet’s commitment to its customers shines through in its offerings. Recognizing that not every user’s needs are the same, the company provides a range of plans, ensuring that everyone, from the casual user to the data-hungry professional, finds a package that suits them. And for those who occasionally need a little extra, HughesNet offers the flexibility to purchase additional data through their Data Tokens, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity.
- Hybrid Fusion Plans
- Consistent Speeds
- Bonus Zone Data
Flexible Data Option
- Speed Variability
- Data Caps
- Off-Peak Restrictions
Internet Service Comparison – Viasat vs Hughesnet
|Internet Plans||Choice Internet Plans: 6||4|
|Speed||Up to 150 Mbps||25 Mbps|
|Maximum Data Limit||500 GB||100 GB|
|Contracts||2 years||2 years|
|Wide Coverage Area||Yes||Yes|
|Equipment Rental Fee||$13.00/mo.||$15.00/mo.|
Viasat’s plans are tailored to cater to a wide range of users. From light browsing to heavy streaming, there’s a plan for everyone. The plans are primarily differentiated based on speed and data limits. In certain areas, users can avail of speeds up to 100 Mbps, while in others, the top speed might be capped at 12 Mbps. The data limits vary, with some plans offering as much as 500GB of data.
Viasat’s current internet plans
|Plan||Max speeds||Starting price per month||Contract terms||Data allowance|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$70||Two years||40GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$100||Two years||60GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||50Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$150||Two years||100GB|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||100Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$200||Two years||150GB|
|Unlimited Diamond 100||100Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$300||Two years||300GB|
Viasat’s New Choice internet plans
|Plan||Max speeds||Starting price per month||Contract terms||Data allowance|
|Choice 25||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$65||Two years||40GB|
|Choice 50||50Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$85||Two years||60GB|
|Choice 75||75Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$120||Two years||100GB|
|Choice 100||100Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$170||Two years||150GB|
|Choice 125||125Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$250||Two years||300GB|
|Choice 150||150Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$250||Two years||300GB|
HughesNet takes a slightly different approach. They offer traditional satellite-only plans, but their standout offering is the HughesNet Fusion plan. Fusion is a hybrid model that combines satellite and terrestrial wireless connections. This ensures that users get optimal speeds and reduced latency, especially during activities like online gaming or video chats. All HughesNet plans come with a consistent speed of 25 Mbps, but the data limits vary.
|Plan||Max speeds||Monthly promo cost||Contract terms||Data allowance|
|HughesNet Gen5||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$65||Two years||15GB|
|HughesNet Gen5||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$50||Two years||30GB|
|HughesNet Gen5||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$75||Two years||50GB|
|HughesNet Gen5||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||$125||Two years||100GB|
In terms of speed, Viasat generally has the edge. While HughesNet offers a consistent 25 Mbps across its plans, Viasat can offer speeds up to 100 Mbps in some areas. However, in many regions, Viasat’s top speed is only 12 Mbps. It’s essential to check the specific offerings in your area to determine which provider offers faster service.
Both providers have mechanisms to purchase additional data if you exceed your monthly cap. Viasat offers a “Buy More” feature, where extra data can be purchased, but it expires at the end of the billing cycle. HughesNet offers “Data Tokens” that don’t expire, allowing users to carry them over to subsequent months. Notably, HughesNet’s Data Tokens are generally more affordable than Viasat’s additional data prices.
When it comes to customer service, both Viasat and HughesNet have their strengths and challenges.
For Viasat, the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power do not include them in their yearly customer satisfaction reports, making it a bit challenging to gauge general customer sentiment. However, as of the last check, Viasat had approximately 2,000 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) over the past three years. These complaints ranged from service issues to unexpected fees. On the brighter side, Viasat seems proactive in addressing these complaints, responding to each one to provide further clarification or offer a resolution. This effort has earned them an A+ rating from the BBB.
HughesNet, on the other hand, was included in the 2021 J.D. Power US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study. Unfortunately, their performance was less than stellar. They scored 578 on a 1,000-point scale in the South region, which was below average for the area. This score was a decrease from their previous year’s score and placed them last compared to 10 other ISPs in the study. It was also the lowest score of any ISP listed in the J.D. Power satisfaction study. Despite this, Hughes Senior Vice President Mark Wymer emphasized their commitment to supporting the needs of their customers and their focus on serving underserved areas of the US.
Coverage is a significant advantage of satellite internet providers, as they can offer service in areas where traditional broadband might not reach.
Viasat shines in its availability, especially in rural areas. Satellite internet, by its nature, reaches almost every part of the country, making Viasat a viable option for those in remote locations. Viasat offers varying speeds and data allowances, which can differ based on your location. For instance, while some areas might only have access to 12Mbps speed tiers, others could enjoy speeds of up to 150Mbps. According to a Viasat spokesperson, they offer speeds up to 100Mbps in 48 ZIP codes across 31 states, with top service areas including regions around Chattanooga, Frankfort, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, and Dallas. They also have plans to launch the Viasat-3 satellite in 2022, aiming to deliver faster speeds, higher data thresholds, and enhanced service reliability across the US.
HughesNet, on the other hand, offers consistent broadband speeds across all service areas. Every customer, regardless of their location, can expect download speeds of 25Mbps and upload speeds of 3Mbps. This consistency sets HughesNet apart from other providers whose speeds might fluctuate based on the region. The 2018 Federal Communications Commission report on broadband even highlighted HughesNet’s performance, noting that they provided median speeds that were 150% or higher than their advertised speed. HughesNet’s satellite service is available across all 50 states, making it an excellent option for those in rural areas.
Internet for Gaming: Viasat vs. HughesNet
When considering online gaming, the primary factors that come into play are latency (or ping), speed, and data allowances.
Satellite internet, by its very nature, tends to have higher latency compared to other broadband options like DSL, cable, or fiber. This is because of the distance data needs to travel to and from satellites in geostationary orbit. Both Viasat and HughesNet typically experience latency ranging from 500ms to 700ms. In contrast, many terrestrial broadband services offer latencies below 100ms. This high latency can be a significant hindrance for real-time online games, especially those where split-second reactions are crucial, such as first-person shooters or competitive multiplayer games.
In terms of speed, Viasat offers a variety of plans, with some reaching up to 100 Mbps in specific areas. These faster speeds can be particularly beneficial for downloading game updates, patches, or new titles. On the other hand, HughesNet provides a consistent speed of 25 Mbps across all its plans. While this is adequate for most online gaming activities, downloading large game files might be more time-consuming.
Data consumption is another crucial aspect to consider. While the act of online gaming itself doesn’t consume a vast amount of data, downloading games, updates, and patches can. Viasat offers different plans with varying data limits, with some plans providing as much as 500GB of data, which can be advantageous for avid gamers. HughesNet, meanwhile, has set data limits based on the chosen plan. They do, however, offer an additional 50GB of data per month during off-peak hours (2 a.m. to 8 a.m.), which can be handy for scheduling game downloads.
So, while doing Viasat vs HughesNet comparison, which provider is better for gaming? If satellite internet is your only option, Viasat might edge out as the preferred choice for gamers who frequently download new titles or updates due to its higher speed offerings and more generous data plans in certain areas. HughesNet could be a fit for more casual gamers who primarily engage in games that aren’t heavily affected by latency and don’t require large, frequent downloads.
Last Verdict: Is Viasat Better Than Hughesnet
In the ongoing debate of Viasat vs. HughesNet, the final verdict largely hinges on individual needs and priorities. Viasat offers higher speeds in certain areas and more generous data plans, making it a preferable choice for those who frequently download or stream. On the other hand, HughesNet provides consistent speeds across all its plans and has the advantage of the “Bonus Zone” for off-peak data usage.
For gamers or heavy internet users, Viasat might have a slight edge due to its potential for faster speeds and larger data allowances. However, for those seeking consistency and predictability, especially in areas where higher Viasat speeds aren’t available, HughesNet could be the more reliable option.
In conclusion, when weighing Viasat vs. HughesNet, it’s essential to consider your specific needs, location, and usage patterns. While Viasat might be better in terms of potential speed and data, HughesNet offers consistency and reliability. Both have their strengths, and the best choice will vary based on individual circumstances.