HughesNet’s “Gen 5” satellites provide users with a 25Mbps download speed and a 3Mbps upload speed, which are the minimum standards for speed set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This kind of speed is more than enough to work well when you’re gaming. However, the one thing to keep in mind is that, if there are multiple users in your household, a speed of 25Mbps might slow down everyone’s connection depending on what they’re doing online.
Depending on what games you’re playing, your experience might vary when you’re using satellite Internet. Your biggest worry for gaming with satellite Internet is having to deal with latency issues, which delay the response of your commands on the screen. If you’re playing a game like Call of Duty, which requires players to make split-second decisions, then you’re in big trouble if you’re experiencing latency.
It all boils down to your proximity to the geostationary satellite. Satellite Internet works by using radio waves that communicate with the satellites orbiting the earth, which then transmit back the data that gets delivered to your device. Because of how far the data has to travel back and forth, for satellite Internet to work at its best, your satellite dish has to fall under your satellite provider’s footprint so that you can enjoy maximum speed and connectivity.
For the absolute best results that satellite Internet can provide when gaming, you’ll have to stick to a certain type of game and avoid others, simply because if you’re playing a game that requires immediate decisions and responses, your experience considerably deteriorates if a half a second delay causes your player to die before you even realize it happened. Here’s everything you need to know about satellite gaming.
Best Types of Games to Play on Satellite Internet
Satellite Internet depends on a few factors in order for it to work at its best. Not only does it work best if you’re under your satellite provider’s footprint, but the weather can also affect the service, as well as minor obstructions like trees or buildings that are in the way of its path to a clear signal. It’s because of these reasons that certain types of games don’t translate well when you’re playing them with satellite Internet.
Is HughesNet good for gaming? In short, yes, but In order to improve your online gaming experience with satellite Internet, it’s best to stick to the two types of games that adjust well to the service that satellite can offer: strategy and role-playing games. The pace for these types of games is slower and they rarely require a real-time response that could terminate the whole game.
- Strategy Games
The reason strategy games work well with satellite Internet connections is because there is no need for sudden movements or quick decisions. Most strategy games operate on a turn-base system in which players make thoughtful decisions one by one. Some examples of these types of games are online versions of board games like Monopoly or Clue.
- Role-Playing Games (RPG)
Role-Playing Games, like Second Life or Farmville, work great with satellite Internet because they allow the user to decide on their own time and have little urgency to make instant decisions that might bring you to sudden in-game death. RPGs usually feature a variety of levels of actions and, while there may still be some latency issues present and other players’ responses might not manifest right away, they’re still not enough to make the game unplayable and jeopardize your experience.
Worst Type of Games to Play on Satellite Internet
While HughesNet is good for gaming, it doesn’t have the capability to completely avoid latency with games that require an immediate response or action from the player. This is one downside with satellite Internet—with certain types of games, the latency issues are unavoidable and they create confusion while your Internet connection delays and you appear to other players as if you’re not moving or doing what you’re supposed to in the game.
- Sports Games
Games that involve sports, like FIFA, require the player to interact in matches in which players have to react quickly and make decisions that can make or break the entire game. In sports games, latency cannot be a common occurrence because a lack of response will derail the entire play and cause you to lose whatever game or match you’re playing in. Here, racing games like Colin McRae: Dirt work better with satellite Internet because they base themselves on speed trials instead of head-to-heads.
- Shooting Games
Gaming experts recommend a latency of 100ms or less for shooting games. Anything over that will cause significant changes in the way you carry the game because a lot can happen in seconds that can directly affect the likelihood of you not surviving your in-game life. This is a big reason satellite is not the best for multiplayer shooting games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, as a delay of a few seconds has the potential for the server to confuse you as dead while your Internet connection is having a hiccup. In the blink of an eye, the entire game could be over and you wouldn’t know it right away.
How Do Latency and Packet Loss Affect Satellite Gaming?
Whenever someone talks about experiencing latency, they’re referring to the delay between your Internet connection recognizing the action you’re promoting and the delay in reaction to what’s happening in real-time. There’s also packet loss, which can be equally bad and frustrating for games requiring immediate action and reactions.
What Is Packet Loss?
The easiest way to explain packet loss is to relate it to latency. By now, you understand that latency happens when the data traveling from your computer to the game server takes too long and it causes delays to your game. Packet loss is basically what happens when the data never even makes it to the game server and gets stuck in the in-between because of the satellite connection faltering.
For most gamers, this is a nightmare scenario because what ends up happening is that the data gets lost between the two destinations, and during the game, your player (depending on the game) might experience something like a random character teleportation or, in the worst cases, you might be booted out of the game completely without warning.
While HughesNet is good for gaming because of its reliability, it is unfortunately not exempt from latency and packet loss issues. But there are plenty of ways available to improve connectivity and reduce latency issues with satellite Internet. Don’t lose hope just yet.
How to Reduce Latency on Satellite Internet?
Yes, you can reduce latency issues on satellite Internet, however, keep in mind that regardless of all the measures you take to improve the situation, latency will continue to be an issue with this type of Internet connection. Remember that in order for your satellite Internet to work, the radio waves are making quite the journey by traveling to satellites orbiting the earth, then back to the game server, and then finally to you. Latency issues are unavoidable and impossible to get rid of completely. Here’s what you can do to improve the situation.
- Avoid Wi-Fi. All wireless connections usually come with some connectivity risks. Satellite Internet can already be a little spotty for gaming because of latency issues, so one way of reducing this problem is by using a wired connection through an ethernet cable. It’ll be more steady and less likely to cause delays.
- Close background applications and pause downloads. You don’t want to overload your connection by having multiple applications and files downloading at the same time you’re gaming. If you were using a different type of connection, like cable or fiber, then this wouldn’t be much of an issue. But satellite Internet connections are more sensitive to handling different online activities at once.
- When in doubt, restart your router. Sometimes devices and equipment need to reset on their own and take a little break. It’s an old-school trick, but try unplugging your router, waiting a few minutes, and then plugging it again. More often than not, restarting the router can fix some of the latency issues you might experience at that moment.
Best Gaming Consoles for Satellite Internet
If satellite Internet is the only option you have available in your area, then it’s worth taking the time and researching which consoles work best with this type of Internet connection. In terms of consoles, PlayStations, Xbox, or Switch all work about the same with satellite Internet. There’s no actual difference between one or the other as far as reduction in latency or enhanced experience.
If you’re someone that prefers to download games into your computer, then that can become problematic with a satellite connection. The best thing to do in this case would be to purchase a physical copy of the game to save on data and preserve the sanity of your Internet by not putting it through so much strain.
Best Games for Satellite Internet
Since satellite Internet doesn’t cater to many games, here are some suggestions on which ones perform best with satellite Internet.
- Civilization VI for PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch
- World of Warcraft for PC
- League of Legends for PC
- Star Trek Online for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
- The Legend of Zelda: Breadth of the Wild for Nintendo Switch, Wii U
Satellite Internet has improved since the years of its conception. Despite the issues with latency and any other delays it may cause, providers like HughesNet still maintain a level of quality that’s apt for many online activities, including gaming.
You can’t deny that there are limitations with this type of Internet, but considering everything, it’s updated itself enough to compete in the market of Internet connections and provide customers like you with enough speed to still partake in activities that you enjoy, like gaming. If this is the only Internet available where you are, it’s not all bad.