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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



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1.    Can I use this system for all networked computers in my home?
2.    Why is Mac 10.0 not supported?
3.    How big is the HughesNet dish?  Why can't I use my DirecTV dish?
4.    Can I install this myself?  Why do I need to be "certified"?
5.    No telephone line is required, right?
6.    What if I decide I don't like the system after I purchase it?  Can I return it?
7.    Can I use a PCMCIA card for my network adapter?
8.    Exactly how fast will this connection be?  Why are Secure Sites slower?
9.    Can I use AOL as a provider?  I want to keep my email address there.
10.  Can a subscriber use any browser with HughesNet?
11.  Can I use any email program with HughesNet (Outlook, Eudora, etc.)?
12.  Why do I need a surge protector when my PC is on a dedicated electrical circuit?
13.  What satellite is this?  Can I repoint it myself if something happens to my dish?
14.  What software will I need?
15.  This two-way system seems expensive as compared to cable or DSL.
16.  Do I need to worry about 'rain fade' like I get on occasion with my DirecTV?
17.  Can I play online games using a satellite connection?
18.  What do you mean by a "clear line of site to the Southern sky?"
19.  Questions regarding the installation process.
20.  Will HughesNet work with RVs, motor homes and watercraft?
21.  What equipment will I get when I buy HughesNet?
22.  I noticed the system being offered at major retailers for much less. Why?
23.  Does HughesNet use DHCP or is the IP a fixed (static) address?
24.  Are any ports blocked?
25.  Who provides the ISP service?
26.  What video compression and transmission software do you use?
27.  Does the HN9000 require or use a USB port?
28.  Will HughesNet require a credit card or is there bank checking account options?
29.  What is HughesNet®?
30.  Can I dial up into HughesNet when I'm traveling?
31.  Are there any applications that will work differently in a satellite environment?
32.  Can I host a Web site on a PC connected to a satellite system?
33.  What are the cable specification minimums and do I need line amplifiers?

34.  Is the HN7000 faster than the HN9000 or other earlier models?
35.  What is the minimum signal strength for operation?
36.  Where can I get software updates for my system?
37.  What is transmission latency?
38.  Can I run HughesNet on a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
39.  Why is service slower on a VPN?
40.  What geographic area must I be in to have HughesNet?
41.  Can I upgrade my HughesNet/DirecPC/AOL Plus system to the HN9000?
Tell me about the Fair Access Policy (FAP) and what it means to me.
43.  Can I use the HN9000 as a webserver to host pictures for Ebay items I sell?
44.  I have multiple users at my location.  Will this work for all of us? 
45.  Wasps get inside my dish's LNB cover.  Can I take it off?
46.  Webmail - How do I access my email while traveling?
47.  Should I buy a used HughesNet system on eBay or someone else?
48.  Does HughesNet have a "mover's program" when I move households?
49.  Can I do Voice Over IP (VoIP) with HughesNet through Vonage?

1.    Can I use this system for all networked computers in my home?

Yes, you can connect multiple home computers and laptops to a single HughesNet Internet connection at no additional cost. Home networking equipment may be required and is not included with your HughesNet system. For network setup, support, and configuration, contact your network hardware manufacturer and/or operating system software developer.

Please understand that all computers on this network will be sharing a single connection. Simultaneous use of high bandwidth applications by multiple users may result in degradation of speed and is subject to the Fair Access Policy. Actual speeds may vary. Speed and uninterrupted use of service are not guaranteed.  Consider moving to our Small Business or Business Internet packages for more than a couple of users.


Be sure to see our Networking HughesNet on this website.  Top

2.    Why is Mac OS 10.0 not supported?

Because the Mac OS 10.0 release is not supported by Apple, we do not develop products around non-supported OS systems. We recommend you upgrade your Mac OS to 10.1 or higher, which is supported by HughesNet.  Top

3.    What is the size of my HughesNet dish?  Can I use my DirecTV dish?

The new dish size is larger, roughly 26" x 39" in an elliptical shape.  At 62 pounds, it is also approximately double the weight, a factor easily overlooked and not properly considered at the time of purchase.   Further, the FCC requires this dish to be mounted 5' above ground level because of the system's transmitter.   Thus, DirecTV dishes will not work. 


While HughesNet and DirecTV equipment is manufactured by the same parent, they are, in fact, two separate sister companies.  Thus, billing, customer service, sales and support are also handled completely separately from each other with their own contacts.   Top

4.    Can I install this myself.

Unlike DirecTV and because this is a transmit antenna directing power up to the satellite, the installation and pointing is tightly controlled by the FCC, therefore a certified professional must do the installation. HughesNet is a sophisticated piece of satellite equipment and must be installed by a professional.    Top

5.    No telephone line is required, right?

Correct.  Some customers also keep the dial-up line as a backup during temporary satellite outages (bad weather, satellite maintenance, etc.) by switching their service plans with their Internet Service Provider to the minimum service plans.    Top

6.    What if I decide I don't like or need the system after I purchase it?  Can I return it?

We sure hope this isn't the case but it will happen periodically.  Each vendor (HughesNet and Earthlink) has their own policy on this and you will need to contact your salesperson with whom you ordered the system.  In most cases, the system can and must be returned within 30 days to the place of purchase.  NOTE:  The installation fees are NOT returnable once the unit is placed into service by the installer.  Additionally, a separate de-installation fee can and will be charged by an installer if he or she must come out to decommission the unit ($100-200.00) for you to ship or take back to the dealer.    Top

7.    Can I use a PCMCIA card adapter for my laptop?

A: Yes. All you need to connect your computer to the HughesNet modem is either a 10/100 Ethernet Network Interface Card or a PCMCIA adapter with an Ethernet connector. The HughesNet system includes an Ethernet cable to connect your computer to the HughesNet modem.    Top

8.    Exactly how fast will this connection be?  Why are secure sites slower?

See the Features & Requirements page for more information on speed expectations.


Secure sites (those that begin with https://) are slower because the data must first be packaged for extra security before it travels through the air.  When it returns to you, it must be decoded.  This extra time and distance to outer space also requires more time to process.  Top


9.    Can I use AOL as a provider?  I have an account there and want to keep my email address.

HughesNet requires you to use them as your primary ISP and will provide you with email addresses.  This does not mean that you have to give up your AOL, MSN or local ISP account but you likely will not need it for dial-up modem access any longer.  In most cases, you can still go to their website and login from the web to check mail or chat if you maintain a separate account with them.  Many users will also reduce their "unlimited service" plans to a minimum plan.  HughesNet will provide additional email accounts to subscribers on request.  Top

10.    Can a subscriber use any browser with HughesNet?

All of the major browsers function properly in the HughesNet environment.    Top

11.  Can a subscriber use any email program with HughesNet (Outlook, Eudora, etc.)?

All of the major email programs work with HughesNet Top

12.    I don't believe I need a surge protector.  I even have my PC on a dedicated electrical circuit.

Yes, you have that option.  And we're not talking about outlet strips either.  In most cases, however, the installer will not warranty the labor or materials if one is not installed upon commissioning the satellite equipment into service.  Make sure any surge protector you decide to purchase has at least four coaxial connectors (6 if you also have DirecTV) in addition to the electrical outlets.

No, we do not believe any man-made surge protector will ever prevent damage from lightening.  Surge protectors, properly designed, are only intended to handle electrical spikes and brownouts which occur frequently, even if you don't see light bulbs flicker or dim.  A reset switch is also recommended.    Top 

13.    What satellite will I be using?  Can I point it myself later if something happens to my dish?

This decision will be determined by your certified installer for your specific product combination and geographical area.  Unlike the 3 degrees generally accepted for DirecTV use, pointing the dish for HughesNet use within 1/2 degree at closely aligned satellites 22,300 miles above the earth in a geostationary orbit can be tricky.  Professional tools and training is pretty much a necessity.     Top

14.    What software will I need?

The HN9000 is a self-hosted unit and has the software built in to its design.  Upgrades are also completed automatically through the satellite.  The only software you will need is your operating system, a browser and network connectivity set up properly with TCP/IP. 


Please keep in mind we now include an Activation CD to assist with initial setup such as registration and browser optimization settings for top performance.  Top

15.    This two-way system seems expensive as compared to cable or DSL.

There are many differences between these systems besides price and it is wise to consider them all before deciding on DSL, cable or satellite.  Too many, satellite is the only option because DSL nor cable is available.  As always, competition is expected to bring down prices in the future as well.  Often, a second line in the home for the computer is no longer required and that money is applied (along with the monthly cost you paid to have an ISP) is transferred to the satellite system.  Now take the difference and realize you are now getting high speed access and the total seems quite reasonable!  

These speeds are similar to what you would get from a competitively priced DSL or cable modem service. Most residential DSL is rated for 640 Kbps download, 64 Kbps upload, but this is the maximum and the numbers drop the farther you are from your telephone company's central office. Cable modem speeds can burst up to 1,000 or 2,000 Kbps, but their speeds vary depending on how many people are online at the same time.   Top

16.    Do I need to worry about 'rain fade' like I experience on occasion with my DirecTV?

There will be periods when storms, heavy rain or thick cloud cover will reduce the signal strength to an unusable level until the bad weather passes.   For DirecTV, options such as dish covers are available to help reduce the effect of rain fade.  Since 2-way HughesNet satellite dishes are already bigger than DirecTV dishes, rain fade and signal degradation periods are usually short in duration. One big benefit for satellite is the dish will reconnect itself as soon as the storm passes, an important difference over cable where lines may be down and require the cable company to locate these lines and make repairs.    Top

17.    Can I play online games using a satellite connection?

For most online games, no problem.  However, some multi-player online games which require instant response may not work as well because of a latency between the time a key is pressed and the time your key press is acknowledged.  Remember, this signal is going out 22,300 miles into space and back again, not to mention around the world and/or through multiple ISP's.  It amounts to about a half a second.    Top

18.    What is meant by the requirement to have a "clear line of site to the Southern sky?"

HughesNet and DirecTV dishes all require an unobstructed view to the Southern sky.  This means no trees, limbs, buildings, poles or other structures that block a direct line of sight between the satellite dish arm and the satellite.  If they exist, they must be removed or the loss of transmit and receive signals will disrupt your ability to use the satellite system.  Top

19.    Questions regarding the installation process.

Every installation is different.  Every house is different.  Every computer is different.  Every customer's needs are different.  Because there are so many questions, we've prepared a separate installation information section just for the installation process.  It answers the common questions yet also tries to address special situations.   Top

20.     Will HughesNet work with RVs, motor homes and watercraft?
HughesNet does not provide connectivity for non-stationary environments at this time. The antenna that is utilized for HughesNet would be difficult to mount and remove as the subscriber traveled and there is currently no hardware available for mobile applications. In addition, the pointing process is very involved, requiring a lap top computer. We are working with partners to develop applications that will be compatible with the mobile and marine markets.  The most promising product currently available is offered by Motosat.      Top
21.    What equipment exactly will I get when I buy HughesNet?

bulletDish roughly 24" x 36" with a receiver LNB and a transmitter
bulletMounting hardware
bulletHN9000 modem with power supply
bulletVarious cables and accessories

installer will bring other materials as well to complete the installation   Top

22.   A subscriber noticed the same system being offered at major retailers for much less. Why?

Actually the system the subscriber probably saw is referred to as a "one-way" Internet satellite system. What that means is the connection to the Internet must still travel over telephone lines, and only the return information from the Internet is delivered over the satellite. Since roughly one-half of the communications path is provided by your local telephone company, that system does not require the same hardware and software as the faster, more reliable two-way system.   Top

23.  Is HughesNet a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) or a fixed IP (Internet Protocol) address?

The HughesNet service is DHCP.  If you need a static IP address, please ask for a quote.  Top


24.    Are any ports blocked?

No ports are blocked.     Top


25.    Who provides the ISP service?

HughesNet will function as your total solution provider, including being your Internet Service Provider.  Top

26.    What video compression and transmission software do you use?

HughesNet is proprietary - designed to provide the maximum performance available.   Top

27.    Does the HN9000 require a USB port?

While previous HughesNet models used a USB cable, the DW600 uses only a built-in Ethernet interface to connect to your network.   Top

28.    Will HughesNet require a credit card or will you deal with bank checking account options?

HughesNet will honor VISA®, MasterCard® and American Express®. If a bank offers a VISA® or MasterCard® checking account debit card, a subscriber can use that as well.     Top

29.    is HughesNet the same as DirecPC®?

HughesNet is the new name announced in April 2006 which replaces Direcway which has been in use since mid-2001. Many people are still familiar with the DirecPC name and so you may still hear it mentioned on occasion.   Top

30.    Can I dial up into HughesNet when I'm traveling?

HughesNet is designed to be a stationary system. Dial-up services are currently offered but only with the purchase of HughesNet Professional.  Call for pricing.   Top

31.    Are there any applications that will work differently in a satellite environment?

Certain applications do not perform efficiently in a satellite-delivered environment, such as voice/video over IP, VPN services, certain online interactive games (particularly "shooter" games that depend on split-second responsiveness for the "survival" of the player), and applications that use non-TCP/IP protocols (such as IPX/SPX).  Top

32.    Can I host a Web site on a PC connected to a satellite system?

No. Because connection speeds using the satellite platform are essentially asymmetric (i.e., they are much faster coming into the PC than going out from it), HughesNet does not allow you to use your satellite-connected PC for hosting a Web site. However, you may have a personal Web site hosted by an outside provider and will be able to access it through HughesNet.   Top

33.    What are the cable specification minimums and do I need line amplifiers?

While your installer will take care of this concern for you, some homes are wired with RG-59 cabling which is not suitable for HughesNet. So if you want to use existing cabling in your house, you will need to discuss your specific case with your installer.


The latest specifications from Hughes, the makers of the hardware used by all vendors, state: 

Coaxial cable with copper CLAD steel center conductor is not recommended.

Cables should be RG-6 with SOLID COPPER center conductors for both Receive and Transmit cables under 300 feet.  For 300-420 feet, the cable for Transmit should be solid copper center conductor with Quad Shielding.

A higher grade can be used on short runs but do not use lower grade on longer lengths.

Line Amplifiers should be employed when the distance is over 150 feet and less than 300 feet but placed only on the Receive cable.  Hughes say's "The line amplifier should be located approximately 25 feet from the LNB on the dish" but Channel Master which produces line amps says, "Care should be taken not to overload the amplifier  Depending upon LNB gain, this will usually involve leaving a minimum distance of 100 feet of RG6U between the LNB and the line amplifier."   Top

34.    Is the HN9000 faster than the HN7000?

Yes. The HN9000 consumer (home) edition offers uploading to 128k and downloading up to 700k, a significant improvement!  Both the HN7000 and the DW4000 modems delivered a high-speed service experience. The HN9000 modem allows you to connect to Windows- and Macintosh-based operating systems, has no software to load on your computer, and makes networking your HughesNet high-speed connection to multiple home computers easier.    Top

35.    What is the minimum signal strength for operation?

You will be able to view the signal strength of your HN9000 through your web browser. HughesNet says the minimum number for signal strength is 31.  Following recent changes to the software, many saw their strength reduced 10-15 points or more.  This does not mean the signal is not as strong -- it is simply a change in the measurement scale.  Their is no correct or high number as far as strength is concerned.  Also, it will vary depending upon your geographic area, vendor and software versions used.  This figure will also vary greatly based upon the satellite you are pointed to as well as the frequency your system is set on.   Top

36.    Where can I get software updates for my system?

No software is required.  Your HN9000 will always update itself through the satellite.  Top

37.    What is transmission latency?

Latency refers to the time it takes for signals to travel to and from the satellite. This typically creates a sub-second lag. For this reason, HughesNet may not be ideal for playing some "twitch-games" and for time-sensitive "online" trading.  Top

38.    Can I run HughesNet Professional on a VPN?

A: Running a VPN client over a satellite network is not an ideal configuration. Although most VPN clients will work, your speeds will be affected significantly. While average download speeds are slightly better than dial-up, they will be reduced from typical HughesNet speeds by as much as 50 to 75 percent. Average upload speeds are comparable to dial-up performance. It is recommended that those accessing secure information over a VPN via HughesNet Professional do so on a limited basis. To optimize your performance, simply disable your VPN client while surfing the Internet, and enjoy the full speed of HughesNet.

When you need to access information from your corporate LAN, you can enable your VPN client, keeping in mind that you will see a reduction in throughput. At this time, HUGHES does not endorse or support any VPN products. Customers that run VPN products do so at their own risk and will not receive any support from HUGHES regarding troubleshooting, configuring, optimizing, or maintaining a VPN connection.  


Watch for a special FAQ list of common VPN questions.    Top

39.    Why does the service slow down when used in conjunction with a VPN?

The communication satellite is located over 22,000 miles from Earth. Each data packet must be sent down separately and acknowledged by the remote site. This process takes time. In order to expedite the delivery of data packets to our end-users, HUGHES has developed a patented technology for aggregating those packets and sending all of them down simultaneously. VPNs encrypt each data packet, which prevents our technology from aggregating the data packets and reduces the throughput significantly.  Top


40.    What geographic area is covered by HughesNet service from Hughes?

As of this writing, HughesNet from Hughes is only supported in the 48 continental states.

For areas outside the CONUS, please click here for a contact office in your area.   Top

41.    Can I upgrade my current HughesNet system to the HN9000?

Please check your account for more information on this.   Top


42.   Tell me about the Fair Access Policy (FAP) and what it means to me.


It’s important to know that all high-speed Internet Service Providers utilize “Shared Bandwidth Technology". Simply put, that means everyone shares one "ultra" high-speed connection in order to get a high-speed connection at each of their homes. However, in some cases, as few as 5% of the users can consume as much as 50% of an Internet Service Provider’s bandwidth, making the service run slower for everyone else!


HughesNet® understands that your connection is important to you and you expect fair and equitable access when you go online. We couldn't agree with you more! The FAIR ACCESS POLICY has been established to protect you, and other consumers from that small percentage of users who try to take advantage of the shared connection by downloading abnormally large amounts of information in a short period of time. The Fair Access Policy prevents this from happening, and makes sure that you get to your "share" of the connection.

The FAIR ACCESS POLICY helps HughesNet assure that its subscribers receive equal access to our high-speed internet service… We want you to get the service you pay for!


43.   I sell products on EBay which means I need to have a host site for pictures of the items I'm offering.  Can the HN9000 act as a host?


While the HN9000 is a self-hosted server, it is self-hosting only as far as to keep you from loading software on your PC and maintaining the always-on connection to the internet.  You do not have the capability to upload anything into the HN9000 modem.  The HN9000 is thus not a web server and you cannot upload pictures or other things to it like you would a website.


44.   I have multiple users at my location.  Will this work for all of us?


HughesNet Consumer and Professional packages were designed for 2-3 users, primarily in a home or home office environment.  For more users, please take a look at the larger dish, stronger transmitter, Small Business and Business internet packages.


45.   Can I take the cover off my LNB?  Wasps like to make a home in there.


The cover seen in our advertising is strictly for aesthetics.  The cover is no longer included without a special request.  We've cleaned more than a few nests out and we would advise you to be mindful of them if you remove the cover.


46.   How do I get to my email when I'm traveling?  I sure can't take my satellite dish with me!


Much like a hotmail or yahoo webmail account, you can access your email from a computer connected to the internet, such as is found in a public library, truck stop, cyber cafe or hotel business center.  Go to your account for quick links to webmail.


47.   I have access to a used HughesNet system.  Should I buy it?


We don't recommend it.  First, you'll need a certified installer to install it.  It often costs more for a re-install than a new equipment install.  Second, you'll need a 15-month agreement with HughesNet at the same rates as a new system.  Third, there are no warranties.  Fourth, your equipment is likely to be obsolete and may not work well with current improvements. 


48.   I'm moving soon.  How do I get the system moved to my new home?


There is no specific "mover's program" with HughesNet like there is DirecTV.  Contact your local HughesNet dealer who can guide you through the process.  Your dealer will bill you directly for any services, like deinstallation/reinstallation, that he/she provides rather than HughesNet.  If you cannot find a dealer in your area, call Customer Service at 1-866-HughesNet and ask where the nearest dealer is located in both your current and future location.


49.   I'd like to use HughesNet for telephone service using VoiP.  Can I?


At this point in time, Voice Over IP services through the HughesNet satellite is in its infancy.  The problem is in the latency (time delay) going all the way to outer space and back.  While you are downloading at a high speed, your upload speed (when YOU are doing the talking) is slow enough to cause more trouble than it's worth.  As upload speeds increase in the future, this may then become practical.


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Copyright © 1999-2007 Southern Sky Satellite        Information on this website may not be copied without express written permission.

Buckshot Enterprises LLC dba Southern Sky Satellite is an authorized HughesNet® Dealer and authorized DirecTV® Residential Retailer.

'Southern Sky®', 'HughesNet®', and DirecTV® are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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