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Imagine you’re in the middle of a battle scene and your team is locked and loaded to kill. They’re relying on you and although you’re the best of the best when it comes to this game, you keep missing your target. Why? Well, because your connection suffers from a significant lag time. By the time your bullet is released, the target has had enough time to move away rendering your attack useless.

Lag is the number one enemy of gamers and the one thing that satellite internet simply can’t seem to overcome. It’s no surprise then that this service has gained a bad rap in the gaming community. Many would even advise that there’s no hope of gaming on a satellite internet connection altogether, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Just a few adjustments to your expectations, and you’ll be able to enjoy gaming over your satellite connection like never before. So, how do you do that? Well, understanding is the key. Once you understand what latency, download speeds, and data cap are, you’ll be able to elevate your gaming experience.  

The Trouble with Satellite Internet for Gaming

Before we move forward let’s take a look at what kind of internet types are available in the residential market. To start off, there are 5 that you can use depending on availability, needs, and budget: DSL, cable, fiber-optic, fixed wireless, and satellite internet. Of these the first three are categorized as terrestrial connection types, owing to the fact they transmit data over cable lines that are grounded. Fixed wireless on the other hand makes use of a series of towers to transmit the wireless signal forward from the terrestrial backhaul connection. Satellite internet on the other hand uses a satellite orbiting the earth to send and receive data, and as such is unique. Without having to depend on huge terrestrial infrastructure, it is able to provide internet access in even the most remote areas—but of course, that comes with its own issues.

Understanding Latency

Latency is the time it takes for a data packet to travel from your device to the game server and back. And, ping is the signal that your device sends to the host to check the host availability as well as to measure the response time. This response time is measured in milliseconds. And like so, latency too is measured in milliseconds. Among other things, the ping time is directly dependent on the physical distance between networked devices.  

Fiber optic internet has the lowest latency rate because data travels at speeds comparable to that of light. Plus when we are dealing with terrestrial networks, the distance data has to travel back and forth is not nearly as big as in the case of satellite internet which is why even cable broadband can manage to keep the latency rate down.

With satellite internet, however, the signal from your network must travel thousands of miles to the orbiting satellite from where it is beamed down to the provider’s operation center on earth—before it connects you to the game server via the internet over a terrestrial network. Once the connection is established, the signal must now make its way back via the same long route to your device. So it makes sense as to why your character takes so long to do what you want.

Here’s a comparison of how the latency rate among various types of internet compares:

Type of Internet Connection

 

Median Latency

(ms)

Fiber

10-15

Cable

15-27

DSL

24-42

Fixed Wireless

30

Satellite

500-800

 

As you can see, satellite internet has the highest latency rate. For gamers who look for single-player titles to download and play, this connection will work quite well. However, in case of multi-player games, it’s not as simple, but if you simply must, we’ll offer some tips a little later in the article as to how you can reduce the lag.

Grappling with Data Caps

Another issue gamers must contend with when using satellite internet is limited data allowance. When you sign up for satellite internet, more often than not your data allowance remains capped. And, compared to terrestrial network connections it is on the lower side as well. So, it is likely you’ll fast run out of the available data, and once you do your connection will be deprioritized, and speed throttled—that is until the beginning of the new billing cycle unless you purchase additional data blocks.

What Kind of Gaming is Possible with Satellite Internet?

For the sake of ease of purpose, let’s split the online gaming experience into two broad categories: Casual gaming—where you have time to think before you respond. And, competitive gaming—where your reaction speed is of utmost importance.

You must have guessed. The former is the one you can play without trouble over a satellite connection while the latter is the one you’re sure to struggle with.

Casual Gaming

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of Minecraft? Getting your creativity flowing and helping you relax, this gaming masterpiece brings you spooky enemies to battle, and the chance to build earthworks to your heart’s desire. Or maybe, you’d rather spend time playing Animal Crossing. The cute NPCs are calming and a great way to de-stress after a long day. Building new decorations, hunting bugs at night, and customizing your garden, you won’t even notice the time passing you by.

Games mentioned in both these examples do not depend on your reaction time as far as scoring a victory is concerned. And, as such, once downloaded they’ll work well over a satellite internet connection. If you’re looking for other such games here’s are some we recommend:

    • Turn-based Strategy and Role Playing Games (RPGs):

More forgiving than first-person shooters. With these games, you won’t be punished for high latency.

    • Play Offline in Single-player Mode

Most single-player games don’t require an internet connection to run which makes them the perfect choice for people using satellite internet. For instance The Elders Scroll V: Skyrim, Metro Exodus: Sam’s Story, and Civilization VI.

    • Multiplayer Games Where You’re the Supporting Character

If you must play multiplayer games, we’d suggest instead of taking up a critical role that requires you to be on the frontline, opt for a support role instead.

Competitive Gaming

When it comes to competitive gaming satellite internet is completely unsuitable. You’ll often find yourself struggling to keep up with the game, and as your reaction time slows due to lag, your character may be shot and dead before you have a chance to cover. Or, while you’re planning your strategy for attack, you may find yourself crushed before you’re able to respond. Meaning, latency will prove a real nuisance, so it’s better you steer clear of these. Just avoid player(s) versus player(s) (PvP) content like the plague!

Which Provider Offers the Best Satellite Internet for Gaming?

When it comes to satellite internet, albeit there are four ISPs in the U.S. market, HughesNet and Viasat take up the biggest chunk. Both providers offer quality services that you can rely on and choosing between the two depends entirely on your gaming habits.

HughesNet Internet for Gaming

For people who love solo adventure, all you need is a good connection that can download your favorite game and for this HughesNet Internet is the best option. Offering a 25 Mbps fast connection—starting at the promo rate of $49.99/month for 6 months and $59.99/mo. thereafter—HughesNet Gen5 Internet is quite remarkable when it comes to cutting down on latency. However, real-time multi-player games or ones that necessitate an immediate response, such as first-person shooters, would still not work—as with any other satellite internet connection for that matter. After all, data must travel a round trip of about 45,000 miles to space and back, thereby adding about half a second delay to communication between your machine and the host server.

Another aspect worth considering with HughesNet is the data allowance. All plans on offer bring the same download and upload speeds—25 Mbps/3 Mbps—and it’s the data allotted that varies with each.  But then again, HughesNet is generous in its offerings and gives you 50GB every month in the Bonus Zone i.e. between 2 am and 8 am. So, there you go—you can schedule downloads during the Bonus Zone and save on your allotted data at other times.  

With all that said, HughesNet gaming makes for a pocket-friendly option if satellite internet is your best bet given your location.

Viasat for Gaming

While Viasat plans come in more variety in terms of speeds and data allowance, the issue which is inherent to satellite internet i.e. the latency level remains. Viasat offers both capped and uncapped internet plans, but even with Unlimited plans, a soft data cap is likely to come into effect after you have consumed 100GB. And, your connection may be de-prioritized during peak usage hours. The Free Zone which gives you free data on top of your monthly allowance can however help to an extent.

Sure, Viasat costs more than HughesNet, but for the gaming crazy who can afford to pay a higher price,  it may be a good bargain.

HughesNet Vs Viasat

Here’s a quick comparison of the top two satellite internet providers:

Provider

Price

 

Max. Download  Speed

Data Allowance

HughesNet

$59.99 - $139.99 per month
(for 6 months)

25 Mbps

10GB-50GB

Viasat

$90 - $150

 

12-30 Mbps

Unlimited

How to Have a Better Gaming Experience?

Once you’ve subscribed to the satellite internet provider that suits you the best, here’s how you can make your online gaming experience better. Put these simple tips to action and you’ll be able to deal with latency better.

    • Close All Other Programs

While jamming to your favorite music is fun, streaming songs over the internet as your game is not the way to go. Make sure to close all other programs to free up your internet connection for gaming.

    • Connect your PC/Console via an Ethernet Cable

A wireless connection over in-home Wi-Fi will increase the lag you experience. Make sure you use a hardwired connection for gaming.

    • Update the Router You Use

The router is the traffic warden of your internet connection and if its firmware is full of bugs and viruses, or it is outdated, your connection may slow down.

    • Put Downloads on a Pause

Downloading files in the background is sure to put a strain on your connection so putting all that on pause is a must.

    • Use limited Smart Devices

Smart home devices hog up your internet connection and if you have too many connections to the network you’ll have to deal with slow speeds and tons of lag when you game. It’s better that you limit the usage of such devices for the love of gaming.

So, there you go. With these small changes, you are likely to maximize the advantage of the speed that your satellite internet has to offer.

Final Words

Satellite internet is not the ideal partner when it comes to online gaming but to say it is completely unsuited to the endeavor would be stretching the truth. Sure, competitive gaming is out of the question given the high latency inherent in the connection, but you shouldn’t have any difficulty indulging in casual games and solo gaming.

What’s more, HughesNet internet prices aren’t as outrageous either—making it a budget-friendly option you can rely on. Of course, if you have other types of connections available in your area you’d do well to assess them. But, for people in remote locations and rural America, where a terrestrial connection other than DSL is likely to be unavailable, satellite internet is a good substitute. It’d be able to keep up with your gaming needs.

For more details on HughesNet Gen5 Internet, call at 1-855-349-9309, and speak to a professional.   

Frequently Asked Questions

What would you consider a good internet speed for gaming?

You need at least 25 Mbps speed for gaming so HughesNet Internet makes for an affordable and quality version of satellite internet that is available from coast to coast.

How much does HughesNet Internet cost?

HughesNet internet prices start at $49.99/mo. for 6 months. You pay $59.99/mo. thereafter. The connection gets you a 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed with 10GB data. If you’d like a higher data limit you can upgrade the plan, albeit the speed tier would remain the same.

Can you play games on HughesNet satellite internet connection?

Since you need a 25 Mbps download speed for gaming, you should be able to play games online over HughesNet internet connection with ease. But due to latency that is inherent to satellite internet, multi-player competitive gaming is not a possibility.