Heavy duty Liberty Pass usage

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My family is very unhappy with our current WISP.  They provide solid enough service for a WISP, we just...  Don't get enough data.  With two gamers and two Facebook-loving parents with a PS3, Wii U, several phones, a gaming desktop and 3 laptops in use throughout the day in the family, our 50gb of data can be eaten up by a single game purchase, and it is hard-capped.  We lose our internet entirely once we reach the cap.  To facilitate Facebook and gaming, we never touch streaming video.  Ever.  We also have to decide in advance what games we'd like to update/play for the month, and if the game is large enough we may have to delay downloading it across several months, getting chunks in at the end of the billing period.  Large game updates typical of the MMOs played a lot can also wreak havoc with plans.

I was looking for alternatives and noticed that the Liberty Pass is not hard capped.  However, they're incredibly fuzzy about what the soft cap is.  They identify that it is not unlimited, but they do not identify what the limit is.

So my question is, what kind of limits have customers noticed with the service?  If we get the Liberty plan, we would use it for large downloads of games and game updates, browsing and streaming videos, while keeping a cheaper, smaller plan from our WISP for gaming on (Latency.)  But how much is too much?  Bearing in mind we consider 1.5Mbps to be the average speed for our current WISP, how would Liberty Pass towards the end of a billing cycle filled with massive game downloads/updates/Netflix binges perform?  Would they eventually cut us off, or where does the point lie in which we would be throttled down beneath the point of 1.5Mbps service?  1Mbps is totally acceptable to us for daily use in such a fashion - at what point will they throttle us even lower than 1Mbps?

Is this a bad way to use the Liberty Pass service?
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Red Miles

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Posted 2 years ago

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Matt F, Viasat Official Rep

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Hi Red, 

First, the easy answer: We don't cut anyone totally off unless we believe they're doing something illegal or attempting to use the service for something other than what it's intended for (residential use, or business use on Business plans). Simply downloading too many movies to watch at home should not cause you to be cut off.

But: Speeds on the Liberty Pass can change depending on how much traffic there is in your area, and on our entire network, at any given time. This means you might have great speeds during the day, but slower speeds after everyone gets home from work at 5 p.m. Then the speeds could get better later on.

Also, the amount of data you've used on Liberty Pass CAN affect your speeds. For example, if you've used 100 GB on the Liberty Pass, and someone else has only used 1 GB, they might get better speeds than you for a little while. The goal there is to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to use the service. 

I'll leave it to the community to tell you about their experiences doing huge downloads every month. I would just reiterate that Liberty is NOT an unlimited plan. While many users continue to have great experiences with moderate amounts of video and downloads on Liberty Pass, you won't be able to go crazy with massive files on a daily basis. Doing that could cause your speeds to drop to the point that video would not work well. Hence, there's no hard cap, but your service would be degraded until the end of your billing cycle (or if you choose to buy more Priority Data). 

I understand that this can seem complicated! This video explains more about Liberty: https://youtu.be/2jzeKNVSUQ0

Lastly, a note on video games: If you play online, I highly recommend you test out your favorite games on Exede (or check around online) before you sign up. Some games work fine, but others simply don't work well for a variety of reasons. My opinion is that online action games on console tend to be iffy.

Hope this helps,

Exede Matt
(Edited)
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Red Miles

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Thank you for the response.  I'm aware that satellite carries with it latency issues that make gaming an unreasonable proposition; we would keep a smaller, cheaper plan from our current WISP for gaming, if we used Exede service.

I doubt we would push 100gb every month, however especially the first month would likely be rather...  Busy.  Quite possibly more than that.  There have been many accumulated games and updates we would probably rather simply get as fast as possible to get it done with so the next month we could go back to normal usage.

So, to make sure I understand clearly: There is no actual hard cap - connectivity is technically unlimited - but rather massively exceeding the plan's data usage causes increasing slowdown, to the point of dialup speed in extreme cases like ours would be that first month or two?
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Steve Frederick, Champion

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Red, as Matt explained above, you will be put lower on the list of priority as your usage increases, but depending on the network traffic your speeds still might be in the very usable range. I have never gone to that level of usage over my limit, but so far my experience on Liberty Pass have been very pleasant. I am not on an overloaded beam, so the lowest speeds I have seen so far are in the 3.5 to 4.0 Mbps range, but that is during the 6 P.M. to P.M time periods, and most nights I am seeing 5 to 7 Mbps during the evenings, even on the Pass. I see speeds in the 12 to 14 Mbps during the daytime, when traffic is light.

I am not sure where you live, but I do know that from my fellow posters in the Virginia area do have fairly slow speeds during the evenings, as that area has a lot of subscribers. I live in the central New York area, which appears to be a lightly loaded beam.
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Red Miles

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I live in southeastern Oklahoma - the map I can find identifies it as Beam 331, it looks like (I can't see very much detail on the map, when I click it I get a 404.)  Is there a way to check beam congestion beforehand, or is it a matter of just having to find out for yourself?
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Old Labs

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ViaSat doesn't publish its congestion levels; however, the new my eSVT tool does provide an indication of current congestion levels (but of course you need an account to check that).

Also be aware that speed claims are on a per account basis not a device basis - i.e. simultaneous access across multiple devices can impact speed observed on each device.      
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Steve Frederick, Champion

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Red, one suggestion I would add is to find a neighbor or friend in your area who has Exede already installed. Have him or her go to the My eSVT page https://myesvt.exede.net and they can tell you what the congestion indicator is showing. Green is best, yellow not terrible, and red is pretty congested. Also be aware that that congestion indicator seems to show conditions over the past day and not the instantaneous reading.
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steve heller

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Would it be possible for us to know what the formula/algorithm is for the slowdown with increasing amounts of data? E.g., if you are within your priority data limit, you get priority 1, 50% over you get priority 2, 100% over your priority data limit, you will get priority 5? Then, if there is 10 Gb/sec available on the beam and there are 1000 customers on it, priority data will go at 10 Mb/sec and priority 5 will get 1 Mb/sec? Or something like that?

Obviously the actual effect of the priority levels will depend on how congested the beam is, but it would be nice to have some idea of how much you get pushed toward the back of the line at different usage levels.
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Bev, Champion

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I am a gamer and an Excede customer. FPS games are out of the question. RPG games are usually okay but, you still have to compensate for the latency of around 700-1500 millisecond on average. there is a registry tweak out there that minimizes the effect of that (Leatrix Latency Fix) but, it's a small tool that edits your system registry so, if you aren't comfortable with that, then don't use it. (it will also increase the amount of data you use when gaming, slightly.)

Of course in raids, 20 man or larger dungeon groups and so on, you will have major lag to the point of having to be very careful of lag death in games. I'd suggest playing ranged classes of characters wherever possible to minimize the lag compensating you have to do.
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Red Miles

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I am aware.  I spent two years playing games over Starband before it went under.  As I mentioned in the post, if we went with Exede satellite, we would be retaining a small, cheap plan through our current WISP that offers 4G LTE fixed broadband plans, and use that for gaming while using Exede for daily browsing, streaming and game updates/downloads.