TOP 5 REASONS TO CHOOSE VIASAT INTERNET
- Unlimited DataEnjoy data service plans with no monthly data allowance! Do all of your favorite things without getting charged extra or being cut off.
- 2-Year Price LockYour price with Viasat is guaranteed for two years. Don’t worry about surprise chargers or your budget needing an adjustment in just a few months. It’s true peace of mind.
- Super-Fast SpeedsNever worry about slow speeds with Viasat. Customers will enjoy download speeds from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps depending on where you live.
- Built-In WiFiViasat’s modem includes built-in WiFi, so you can connect all of your devices easily after installation. No worry about cords or needing an extra modem to power your home.
- Professional InstallationViasat has a nationwide network of professional installers who will visit your home and put it all together for you. When they leave, you’re ready to go!
Every Plan and Price for Every Internet Provider at Your Address.
VIASAT AT A GLANCE
- Viasat is a top satellite Internet choice for rural America.
- Customers can expect to experience a reliable product with 99.99% signal reliability.
- Viasat’s unlimited data service plans don’t have data caps and customers will not experience any throttling.
- Viasat is a great option for customers who want to stream, as long as they pick an appropriate data plan based on how much streaming they do and the number of devices they use.
ABOUT SATELLITE INTERNET
Satellite Internet has been around since HughesNet launched DirectPC in 1996. In rural America, the product rightfully earned a bit of a bad reputation with speeds not capable of keeping up with an ever-expanding internet. In the last two years, the product category has made dramatic improvements in performance. Today’s satellite-delivered internet is a very good product, the best option for millions of Americas. We recommend satellite internet, either HughesNet or Viasat (former product generation brand name Exede), to consumers that do not have access to advanced terrestrial-based broadband such as Cable or Fiber, and where DSL speeds delivered are poor. Satellite Internet is available anywhere with a clear view of the Southern sky.
Viasat products are incredibly reliable with over 99.99% signal reliability. That means in an entire year, the average customer will experience less than one hour of downtime. Viasat is the choice of most North American airlines as well as the US Military to deliver secure, reliable broadband connections.
VIASAT INTERNET SPEEDS
Depending on your location, you will receive the signal from one of Viasat’s four high-powered satellites. Speeds are typically advertised at 30 GB/second for customers receiving service from the newest Viasat2 bird and 12 GB/second for customers receiving service from Viasat1 or other satellites in their constellation. You don’t get to pick, it’s dependent on the availability at your address. You can see the exact plan specifications at your address here.
Is Viasat fast enough for how you use the internet? Surfing, browsing, social media will perform well on Viasat. All plans are fast enough for streaming video, but data limits will make Viasat a poor choice if your intent is to use a streaming service provider as your primary video service; it’s not for “cord-cutters”.
LATENCY PERFORMANCE FROM VIASAT
Viasat, by nature of the Geosynchronous Satellite product, has a design limitation, latency.
A lot is happening when you pull up your search bar and hit enter on your keyboard. When you ask your browser to “go to Facebook”, that command is up-linked from your computer, through your satellite dish, at the speed of light, to the satellite sitting 22,236 miles above the equator of the Earth. It takes milliseconds for your request to hit the satellite, whereupon the satellite sends the request to their gateway location on the ground, then back to the satellite, and milliseconds for it to get back to your computer. Quick as you can snap your fingers – Facebook!
The time it takes for a command to be delivered and returned is known as “ping speed”. The theoretically fastest possible ping time over a geostationary satellite would be 476 milliseconds or just under half a second; a bit longer if you are in Minnesota vs someone in Texas. Viasat users on their user forum regularly report ping speeds of 6-700 milliseconds. In its most recent 2018 report, the FCC testing showed Viasat median latencies were 612 ms.
What does that mean for you? For normal surfing the internet, downloading or streaming, a ½ second of latency is hardly noticeable and won’t create a negative experience. For multi-player gamers, especially active shooter types, for people that need an interactive connection, like video conferencing for work or homeschooling, satellite internet is not your best choice. For consumers with those demands, we recommend staying on the ground. Options for rural America vary by address; the most widely available solution is Blazing Hog, a terrestrial-based, fixed wireless service that can deliver broadband with latency comparable to cable or fiber.
Viasat just introduced a new technology that combines the functionality of Viasat with DSL into one innovative solution called Viasat Flex.
VIASAT DATA PLANS AND LIMITS
Viasat’s unlimited data service plans do not have a monthly data allowance; there are no hard caps, but they do have limitations. Depending on the plan selected, you get a bucket of data usage each month where you will run as fast as the network can deliver, no throttling, up to your data allowance. Should you exceed the data usage threshold for your service plan, Viasat may prioritize your data behind other customers during network congestion, which will result in slower speeds. Your performance may be impacted greatly, or it might not be if the network is not congested. Peak times in the evening are when you would expect to be affected the most.
Viasat has recognized that for most users, streaming video utilizes the most data and has implemented a strategy for video that helps preserve data for users and still delivers the best experience. On the lower-priced plans, the “Bronze or Liberty 12” plans, video streaming is fixed at 360p, a standard definition type picture quality. If you are viewing on a phone, tablet or PC, a “small screen,” this is fine quality and will deliver what you need without gobbling up your plan. As you move from the Silver to the Gold and Platinum plans the video quality delivered improves along with your data limits (and package price). Viasat explains it in excellent detail here.
HOW DOES VIASAT DEAL WITH DATA LIMITS VS. HUGHESNET?
HughesNet takes a somewhat different approach. HughesNet plans typically have much lower thresholds before they implement any reductions in speed. Once you reach the limit of your plan’s data, HughesNet will reduce your speed to approximately 3 Mbps. At that speed, a customer is still able to browse, surf and stream video (mostly in SD quality). Unlike Viasat where the slowdown may only be in high-traffic times, HughesNet applies the brakes to 3 Mbps and keeps them applied until the monthly reset.
Both Viasat and HughesNet users, even those on the lowest data plans, regularly use over 100 GB of data, far more than their base plan allows. Their approaches to how they control the data usages are different, the outcomes are similar.
HOW DOES VIASAT DEAL WITH DATA LIMITS VS. HUGHESNET?
How you use the internet has to be considered when evaluating Viasat plans. Streaming? Viasat works great for streaming, but you need to choose a plan that is appropriate for how much you’ll be streaming, and on which devices.
- If you are only occasionally streaming Netflix or similar, a few hours per week, on a “small screen” (laptop, tablet, or phone) any Viasat plan will be OK. The Bronze plans are $50 per month for the first 3 months and have 35-40 GB of data usage.
- If you are still only occasionally streaming Netflix but will be watching those shows on a full-sized TV, you’ll need to get into the Silver level plans, starting at $70 per month for the first 3 months. The Silver plans deliver video at up to 480p, DVD quality. Anything less would be a poor picture on a large flat-screen TV.
- If you have a larger family with multiple users watching YouTube videos and streaming more regularly, stay with Silver as a minimum. The Gold plans deliver HD quality video, 720p and allow 100 GB or more data before any prioritization would kick in. Plans start at $100 for the first 3 months in most areas.
Viasat reports their customer retention for their Silver and Gold users is far higher than when customers choose Bronze. While I’m sure that is the case, I would argue than when you completely understand the product strengths, limitations and plans you can make the decision on which plan best fits your budget as well as the demands you will place on the product!
You can see the exact plan specifications at your address here. To speak with a Rural Broadband specialist that understands Viasat, Hughes and all the options available call 800-555-1212.
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Sources: Geostationary Orbit via Wikipedia