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Hughes Communications
Type Public (NASDAQHUGH)
Headquarters Germantown, Maryland, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Pradman Kaul (President/CEO
Grant Barber Executive Vice President/CFO
Industry Telecommunications
Services satellite-based communications
Total assets $1,190,393 (2008)[1]
Total equity $343,858 (2008)[1]
Employees 1,958 (2008)
Subsidiaries Hughes Network Systems

Hughes Communications NASDAQHUGH is publicly traded provider of satellite-based communications services. The company operates its satellite business through its wholly owned subsidiary, HughesNet.




Hughes Network Systems

A wholly owned subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems is a provider of broadband satellite network products for businesses and consumers. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, it maintains sales and support offices worldwide and employs approximately 1,500 people in engineering, operations, marketing, sales and support. It also operates manufacturing facilities in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It first opened its doors in 1971 as Hughes Electronics, which expanded in 1987 with the purchase of M/A-COM Telecommunications. In January 2003, the company was sold to SkyTerra Communications.


HughesNet is the brand under which Hughes Network Systems provides its one-way and two-way satellite broadband Internet technology and service in United States and Europe. Originally branded as DirecPC, it originally catered to business. In October 1996, it expanded into the consumer market, primarily targeting "work-at-home consumers who might otherwise use ISDN".[2][3] It officially changed its name on March 27, 2006.


  1. ^ a b Hughes Communications (November 4, 2009). "Hughes Communications Announces Third Quarter 2009 Results" (pdf). Press release. Retrieved December 17, 2009.  
  2. ^ McCarthy, Shira (October 14, 1996). "Hughes brings DirecPC home". Telephony Online. Penton Media. Retrieved December 17, 2009.  
  3. ^

External links

HughesNet (formerly DirecWay) is the brand name of the one-way and two-way satellite broadband Internet technology and service in U.S. and Europe owned by Hughes Network Systems. The service was originally called DirecPC and was only available as a one-way satellite Internet option, as uploading was accomplished with a dial-up modem connection. The original consumer DirecPC service launched in October 1996 [1] [2].



HughesNet offers Internet service delivered via satellite. The system is a VSAT platform for two-way Internet service via satellite. HughesNet uses conventional Ku-band satellites on a variety of geosynchronous satellites as well as Ka band service on the HNS owned and operated Spaceway 3 satellite positioned at 95 degress West latitude.


HughesNet systems employ a fixed-mount 0.74 meter dish attached to a pole or building. Some extreme northern locations require a larger .98 meter dish to ensure adequate signal strength. HughesNet recently released their new product, the HN9000 which does utilize Ka band frequency. The Hughes HN9000 is a high-performance broadband modem designed to deliver a wide range of HughesNet broadband services to consumers, small-to-medium businesses, and government agencies in North America, utilizing the unique high-capacity SPACEWAY 3 satellite system. A variety of service plans are available with the HN9000, delivering throughputs up to 1 Mbps on the uplink, and up to 5 Mbps on the downlink. Operating as an IP modem, the HN9000 incorporates several advanced features to increase throughput performance and maximize the user’s experience and satisfaction. Performance Enhancing Proxy (PEP) mitigates delay and increases overall throughput over satellite channels, while the unique Hughes TurboPage® feature provides HTTP acceleration for lightning-fast browser performance. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that trained professionals install any satellite system that both sends and receives signals.

Name change

• On March 27, 2006, DirecWay officially changed its name to HughesNet. The previous DirecWay name was fully retired on April 22, 2006. HughesNet® solutions and services are marketed directly by HUGHES® and its authorized resellers and distributors throughout North America, Europe, India and Brazil. In all other regions of the world, Hughes products and services are available from a growing family of value-added providers and resellers.

Customer Service, Billing, Technical Support

HughesNet Customer Service, Billing and Technical Support calls are handled through English speaking call centers located inside and outside of the United States.


Network latency

Latency refers to the amount of time it takes a packet of data to travel across a network. With satellite service, that data must travel up to the satellite and back (about 45,000 miles). This round trip adds about a half-second delay to the total time your computer takes to communicate with a Website or host server. Therefore, time-sensitive applications that require fractions-of-a-second user inputs (such as multi-player “twitch” games or real-time equities trading) are not recommended with satellite.

All satellite Internet providers have been criticized for their network latency, which makes the service unusable for some applications. The latency is unavoidable due to the distances involved.

A prominent example of an application that suffers when using satellite internet is network gaming. Multiple players connect their gaming consoles or personal computers to the Internet and participate in an online game (e.g. Counter-Strike or MGS Portable Ops) to compete against each other. The communication and synchronization between each player is highly important. These games require the possibility of reacting quickly to events occurring in the game (for example, attacking an opponent). With a latency of 1.5+ (increases as bandwidth is used) seconds, normal gameplay is seriously affected, and makes gameplay almost impossible or very annoying. Other applications such as instant messaging, Voice over IP or video conferencing also suffer due to the increased latency. Such applications typically require a near-realtime performance (with the exception of instant messaging) to provide a minimal quality of service and facilitate natural communication. Further effects of network latency include an overall reduction in throughput and reliability for any network application.

User satisfaction

Much of the controversy surrounding the usefulness of satellite Internet service is caused by using a common engineering measure of performance, which is the product of the latency multiplied by the bandwidth. Dialup service has time and bandwidth products in the 100 bit range. This is small, but it is sufficient for mundane Internet access. Cable modem and DSL services have products in the 100,000 bit range. Urban users that have access to the commercial information infrastructure enjoy this type of service. Satellite services have products in the 1,000,000 bit range, which can be misleading. These products represent the number of bits trapped in their respective pipelines; in essence, these bits are serving their latency time. By analogy, dialup service can be thought of as 100 cars doing Template:Convert/mi/h on a country road. Cable modem and DSL services can be thought of as 100,000 cars doing Template:Convert/mi/h on a multilane freeway. Satellite Internet service can be thought of as 1,000,000 cars doing Template:Convert/mi/h in city traffic. In effect, rural satellite Internet users are experiencing city traffic jams caused by the available broadband, but high latency, satellite technology. Wireless Internet service provided by cell phone companies and local entrepreneurs can be an alternative to satellite Internet.

Many users will also find that their actual speeds will be far below advertised speeds. This is allowable because the speeds advertised are not guaranteed.

Fair Access Policy

The Fair Access Policy (FAP) is outlined in the HughesNet Terms and Conditions. The FAP is a policy that limits the total amount of data that can be downloaded by a user within an allotted amount of time. The most basic HughesNet plan allows users to download 200 megabytes ( This limit increases depending on which plan the subscriber is using ) during any rolling 24 hour period, before the throughput is limited to significantly less than 56K dial-up modem speeds for a period of 24 hours upon the condition that "bandwidth intensive activities are minimized". If not, the throughput can continue to be limited beyond 24 hours. While a user's usage can be checked, the information is not timely, not showing any information on the amount of usage for the most recent two hours. No warning is given that a user's throughput is about to be limited when the 200 megabyte limit is about to be reached. The terms of the Fair Access Policy are subject to change at any time at the discretion of HughesNet, and the "rolling" 24-hour period is not clearly defined in its Fair Access Policy. They currently are subjecting their Customers to what is recently been termed as "soft throttling", which is the execution of their ability to degrade the Customer speed down to 60 kbit/s or less however not officially stating the Customer as being subject to FAP. This can happen when, at the complete discretion of Administrators at HughesNet, they note that a Customer is consistently using more than 50% of the contracted amount of bandwidth being paid for. Unfortunately any consumer using more than half of the amount they paid for will experience significant decrease in download speeds. A tell tale sign of this can be seen by simply performing a speed test using the HughesNet or any speed test provider, the Consumer will note decrease in download speed and a substantial increase in upload speed by as much as 300%. In this way the Consumer will have access to the contractual amount of bandwidth, however it simply is all in the wrong direction. According to HughesNet, the download/upload limit is based on a virtual "bucket" containing 200MB or more dependant upon the plan, that gets used up by downloads and uploads. It is, at the same time, being refilled at a rate that is estimated to be about 18-50 kbit/s. If the user is judicious about their downloading they will never hit this limit. However, once the "bucket" is emptied, the users downloads speeds (only) are throttled back for approximately 24 hours, leaving the user with downloads speed of about 30 kbit/s for the duration. (This speed rating comes from user measurements, as HughesNet now refuses to disclose any rates after violating the FAP.) Downloads and uploads are not monitored between 2am - 7am EST for DW6000,DW7000, HN7000S and the recently added HN9000 [1]


Satellite Internet can be more costly when compared to other forms of Internet access. For the "HughesNet Home" 1 Mbps/128 kbit/s plan described above, installation is $399.98 up front, and basic service is $59.99 monthly (as of April 2008). As of the writing of this article, Hughes was offering a $100 mail-in rebate if the customer chooses the upfront purchase plan. Upgraded service with higher bandwidth is available for higher monthly fees. The fastest plan offered is Elite Premium 5 Mbps/300 kbits and costs $349.99 monthly. Customers are required to pay for parts and installation[2];Hughes recently added a lease plan (credit check required). The current offer for lease plans is: free standard installation. There is a $99 activation for lease plans, plus an additional $9.99/month for the equipment rental.

See also


External links


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