I purchased a HughesNet system in early March 2007 and had it installed March 13. The installer arrived on time and was very professional. Your experience may vary though since the installer was an regional independent sub-contractor for HughesNet. The installer walked the property with me as I suggested locations for the dish. Once the best location was found, the dish was installed within 30 minutes. The dish is set in a 3 foot deep hole with concrete. My installer did not recommended that the dish be mounted on a rigid structure due to its size and weight. Having the dish mounted on a pole and set in concrete allows it to flex in the wind and always return to its original position. A rigid mount will not allow this.
Once the dish was installed, a dual coax cable was installed from the dish through the basement wall and to a grounding block. The grounding block was grounded to the house electrical ground. The dual coax cable was routed through the basement and into the den.
Finally, the satellite modem was unpacked and installed. This took about 15 minutes. The installer used his laptop to commission the modem and start the process of updating the modem. Once the modem was up and running he simply connected the cat5 cable from the modem to the computer. At that point, I was online. The installer used my computer to visit eBay. Once there, he looked found a listing for a motor home that had a lot of pictures. The pictures loaded almost instantly. Using my dial-up connection, it would have taken several minutes to load all of the photos. I was impressed.
After the installer left, I visited a few websites that I know would not be easily accessible by my dial-up connection. I visited news sites and TV channel websites to view videos. Everything worked flawlessly. Videos did not stall and web pages opened much quicker than I'd ever seen before. Using the HughesNet speed test, my download speeds were averaging 695kbps and my upload speeds were averaging 58kbps. After about thirty minutes of web surfing, I walked away from the computer to do other things. When I returned a few hours later to surf the Internet again, my proverbial bubble burst. Web pages were loading extremely slow or not at all. A speed test using the HugheNet website revealed that my download speeds were at 75kbps and uploads were at 10kbps. These speeds continued to only get worse. A call to technical support lasted about twenty minutes, but did not provide any improvement. The Indian technical support representative escalated my call to tier2 support. A few minutes later, an American answered and walked me through basically the same steps as the first support rep. Since my issue was not solved the tier2 support rep said that he would have the engineers review my case and that someone would get back with me within two days. He also made the comment that since my system was just installed, it could take up to 48 hours for the modem to "optimize" itself. I wasn't very happy with that, but what could I do? My hopes of high speed Internet were slashed.
The next morning, I ran a satellite speed test again and found that speeds were back to normal. Downloads were at 623kbps and uploads were at 70kbps. I saw a glimmer of hope. However, by PM that evening speeds were as slow as 15kbps down and 2kbps up! I was beginning to think that this may just be the way it will be; high speeds during off peak hours and slow speeds during peak hours. This pattern continued for one more day. On the third day after install, speeds were averaging 600kbps down and 100kbps up all day long and remained there for two weeks.
The second round of lack luster speed forced me to make another call to technical support. This time, I was told to unplug the power cord from the modem and leave it unplugged for 24hours. I was told they were having trouble with their satellite and that this would solve the problem. I wasn't exactly convinced, but did as I was told and it worked just fine after the 24hour of being unplugged.
I've only had two other problems since the installation. One issue was due to very dense cloud cover and heavy mist, and the second issue was due to my firewall.
We've had a wide range of weather over the past 40 days here in Indiana. We've had snow, heavy rain, winds in excess of MPH, and bright sunshine. The only time my connection went down was due to dense cloud cover and a very heavy mist/drizzle falling.
Overall, I'm happy with my ability to download large files quickly. I can download an mp3 file in less than one minute. Using dial-up this would have taken at least 10 to 15 minutes or longer. Web pages, however, don't load as quickly as they would on a dsl, cable, or T1 connection, but *much* faster than dial-up.
Upload speeds are okay if all you do is send an occasional large email attachment. If you use an FTP client though to upload files to the Internet then watch out. It took over an hour to upload an 11mb package of files! I actually think that is slower than what my dial-up connection could have done. I'm *very* disappointed with the upload speeds.
Recommend this product?
Overall, I'm happy with HughesNet. I do believe though that once a cheaper alternative arrives in my area I'll jump on it. The reliability of HughesNet is okay, but not what I was expecting. Since the installation date, my connection has been up 89.7% of the time. Maybe that's good though.
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Amount Paid (US$): 660
Version Number or Year: HN7000S Modem