HughesNet is America’s #1 Choice for Satellite Internet!

Is HughesNet Good For Gaming?

Rosslyn Elliott / Updated Mar 06,2023 | Pub Nov 09,2021

About 6 percent of the American population relies on satellite Internet. For years, satellite technology has been providing fast, reliable internet for millions of people across the United States.

gaming-capable if you follow these rules with image of controllerIn recent years, HughesNet has made major leaps forward in technology. It now leads the satellite industry with its Gen5 plans, including HughesNet Fusion. Because of this revolutionary technology, people are starting to ask whether they can do things that were formerly not possible on satellite Internet. One question we hear a lot: is HughesNet good for gaming?

Follow these rules or lose a life

The best way to answer that question is that HughesNet Gen5 plans are “gaming-capable.” That means that for some types of console gaming to be compatible with your HughesNet plan, you must follow instructions exactly for how you manage your gaming and your data usage.

In this post, you can learn how. But just like in the best games, be aware that ignoring the rules will not end well. Don’t yell for help from the bottom of the spiked pit when you danced right into it!

Crucial issues: speed, latency, and data consumption

While satellite Internet is not the fastest choice available, HughesNet is a provider that can offer you adequate speeds for gaming with minimal service interruptions. But it will not work if you do not know the basics and manage your data usage well.


HughesNet’s Gen5 satellites provide users with a 25 Mbps download speed and a 3 Mbps upload speed. That meets the minimum standard for high-speed Internet set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This speed is enough to work well when you’re gaming. However, keep in mind that if there are multiple users in your household, all simultaneously doing high-data tasks (like gaming or streaming), a 25 Mbps speed may slow down everyone’s connection.


The second big issue when gaming with satellite Internet is latency. Latency is a slight delay in the signal caused by the vast distance that an internet request must travel from your computer to a satellite and back. If you’re playing a game like Call of Duty that requires players to respond in a split-second, latency can cause real issues.

HughesNet Fusion plans use groundbreaking hybrid technology that combines satellite and wireless technology to create the first low-latency satellite Internet service.

This means your real-time games may respond faster on a HughesNet Fusion plan. However, that does not remove the last big hurdle.

Data consumption

All gamers should know that gaming is one of the most data-intensive activities you can do on the Internet. Here’s the unvarnished truth. Satellite Internet plans must have data limits. With limited bandwidth on each satellite, there has to be a system to keep usage fair, so everybody gets data access. As a result, your plan will have a data allowance, and when you reach that limit for the month, your internet connection will slow down so much that you can basically only email.

This post will teach you why it’s so important to manage your data consumption if you are gaming. Essential tips and tricks will keep you from running through your data limits by accident.

And especially if you have parents and teens or kids living in the same household, you need to follow all these rules to avoid household war. Nobody wants Call of Duty skirmishes happening between parents and teens in real-life living rooms when the teens use up the data plan only two weeks into the month!

too many people playing games and streaming can slow internet performance

Managing your gaming system updates

The reality is that when you use HughesNet Fusion, live action gaming will connect. BUT gaming system updates can use up huge amounts of data, unless they are proactively managed by you.

Let’s say that one more time: for HughesNet to be gaming-capable, you absolutely MUST manage your gaming system updates.

Managing system updates is relatively easy.

3 steps to make HughesNet gaming-capable

  1.  First, disable unnecessary game console updates.
  2.  Second, schedule necessary updates to occur during the Bonus Zone period of 2:00 AM to 8:00 AM.
  3.  The third safeguard is to unplug or disconnect (turn off) the game console when it is not being used.

Managing your data on HughesNet

Those are the three steps you cannot forget if you want to use a game console with HughesNet.. To understand why these steps are so important, let’s review a few of the major perks about HughesNet that can also help you with your data management.

Bonus Zone

Every day, between 2 AM and 8 AM, any data you use on your plan does not count toward your regular monthly data allowance. It’s essentially 50 GB of free data. That is huge, when you consider that a large data plan with HughesNet is 150 GB of data allowance for the month. You will be adding 33% of free extra data to your plan if you use your Bonus Zone.

And for gaming live updates, which are so data heavy, you literally cannot afford not to use your Bonus Zone.

smartphone app will show data usage to a young woman concentrating on her cell phoneHughesNet smartphone app

You can access your remaining data at any time through the HughesNet smartphone app. This is key. It will allow everyone in your household to know how much data is left, both in the regular allowance and in the Bonus Zone.

Data tokens

If you run out of data a few days before the end of the month, you can buy more at reasonable prices with data tokens. For $9 or $15, you can buy enough data to get you through a crunch. The data also rolls over to the next month.

Easy data plan changes

If you decide that you have underestimated your data needs and you need a higher data plan, no worries. You have the flexibility to move up and down with your plan.

Best types of games to play on satellite Internet

Is HughesNet good for gaming? In short, it can be, with care. But to improve your online gaming experience with satellite Internet, it’s best to stick to the two types of games that adjust well to satellite service: 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 game.

Strategy games

The reason strategy games work well with Internet connections is that there’s no need for sudden movements or quick decisions. Most strategy games operate on a turn-based 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, Clue, Catan, or Ticket to Ride.

Role-Playing Games (RPGs)

Role-playing games like Second Life or Farmville work well with satellite Internet. They 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. Even a little bit of latency will not make the game unplayable or ruin your experience.

A young man is thrilled and smiling as he succeeds with his game controller in hand

Riskiest Types of Games to Play on Satellite Internet

While HughesNet is good for many types of gaming and HughesNet Fusion plans minimize latency, there still might be issues with real-time, quick-response gaming on consoles.

HughesNet Fusion may make it possible, but you’ll need to be aware of all the data management issues mentioned above. There can’t be a guarantee that latency won’t creep in from time to time, even though latency will be minimized overall.

Sports games

Sports games like FIFA require the player to interact in matches in which everything depends on quick reactions. Anything head-to-head will be riskier to play. Racing games like Colin McRae: Dirt may work better with satellite Internet because they are based on speed trials instead of head-to-head reactions.

Shooting games

For the first time, it might be possible to play shooting games on satellite Internet because of HughesNet Fusion. However, once again, it’s riskier because it’s real-time. Gaming experts recommend a latency of 100 ms or less to play shooting games. HughesNet Fusion will go a long way toward getting you there. But it’s not guaranteed to never have a glitch. HughesNet Fusion minimizes latency. There’s still a chance that there might be a flicker of latency at a crucial moment.

Most of all, for these console games, you must pay attention to the data management and console management tips given above in order to prevent massive data consumption that will run you over your data allowance.
packet loss causes man to cover his face in woe at "Game Over"

What About Packet Loss?

Packet loss is also a challenge for an internet connection. Packet loss happens when the data traveling from your computer to the game server takes too long and causes delays to your game. Clearly, this is more of a problem for real-time console games. Your data gets stuck in the in-between because of the satellite connection faltering.

For most gamers, this is a nightmare scenario. The data gets lost between the two destinations, and during the games, your character might get randomly teleported. In the worst cases, you might get booted out of the game without warning.

While HughesNet is good for gaming of certain kinds because of its reliability, it is not exempt from packet loss issues. But there are some ways to improve connectivity with satellite Internet. Don’t lose hope just yet.

How to Reduce Latency on Satellite Internet

First, if you can, get a HughesNet Fusion plan. No other satellite plan offers low-latency connection.

If HughesNet Fusion is not yet available in your area, here are some other hacks to reduce your latency. Keep in mind that latency will continue to be an issue with a satellite-only Internet connection. For your satellite Internet to work, radio waves are making quite the journey by traveling to satellites orbiting the earth, then back to the game server, and finally to you. So, you will not get rid of latency completely. But here’s what you can do to improve it.

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 to use 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 be experiencing at that moment.

A happy couple sits together playing realtime games on internet

Best Gaming Consoles for Satellite Internet

If satellite Internet is the only option 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 who prefers to download games into your computer, 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 inception. Despite any issues with latency, providers like HughesNet still maintain a level of quality that can allow many online activities, including gaming.

You can’t deny that there are limitations with this type of Internet. But considering everything, HughesNet has advanced 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 can work.

That is, it can work if you . . .

Manage your Data

Enough said. Don’t fall in the pit. Follow the guidelines in this article exactly if you’re playing console games that update, especially for heavy-data gaming on HughesNet Fusion.

managing data usage is crucial with image of game console

Written by
Rosslyn Elliott
Rosslyn Elliott has over a decade of experience as a writer, editor, and in-house journalist. She earned a B.A. in English from Yale University and has written professionally in many fields including technology and IT. She has won kudos for her work helping tech startups establish their brands. Having lived all over the USA, she has first-hand experience with the strengths and quirks of numerous top internet service providers. At, she brings clarity to the broadband world, especially new technologies, digital opportunity, and fiber infrastructure. She is an avid reader of Fierce Telecom and likes to speculate about A.I. over a good craft beer.
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