Questions about service levels

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Trying to weigh the pros and cons of getting Viasat service for working from home. Right now I'm stuck on a mixture of DSL and 4G LTE for connectivity, neither of which is impressive but both of which are consistent and reliable.

I tried to submit these questions via email and received a very generic, useless answer. Any help anyone could provide would be appreciated.

1. Can I tell what time congestion occurs most on the beam I would be on? My zip code is 30028.

2. In the event of congestion, would my plan being platinum vs gold vs silver have any impact on the service I receive then? Would a higher plan be prioritized higher, or have some higher guaranteed minimum of speed?

3. Is there any mechanism to add additional data to these plans, or to choose WHEN my priority data is actually used?

Thanks for any help!
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Michael

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Posted 1 month ago

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ExSatUser

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Not all plans are created equal. Let's start with the plan levels available to you in terms of "up to" speed and priority data levels.
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Michael

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I have available to me up to Platinum.
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ExSatUser

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Again. That tells me NOTHING. There are multiple versions of these plans with the same name.

What are your plan options as far
a) the "up to" speed of each plan and what is the priority data associated with each plan.

Ex. Silver, up to 12Mbps, 65 priority
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Michael

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Unlimited Bronze 12, up to 12Mbps, 40GB priority
Unlimited Silver 25, up to 25Mbps, 60GB Priority
Unlimited Gold 50, again up to 50Mbps, 100GB Priority
Unlimited Platinum 100, 100Mbps, 150GB Priority
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ExSatUser

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Okay. The Gold and Platinum are definitely on Viasat-2. That Gold plan is pretty good deal but it will be north of $150/month.

As far as buying more, that is a no. I mean it is "unlimited" data, why would you need to buy more? (That is sarcasm BTW)

I should ask what do you intend to do with the internet? Streaming? Surfing? Work? Depending on your needs is a factor in selecting a plan.

If you were giving up DSL/hotspot for Viasat-1, I would say no way. But since you appear to be in a high definition spot beam area, you might want it, just be aware of satellite internets limitations (weather, high latency)
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Michael

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I would honestly probably keep my DSL with it. The main thing I'm looking for is high speed downloads for work; virtual machine files and DB backups and the like.

The problem is confidence; I don't have any confidence in it performing when I need it to perform with all of these arbitrary rules about priority data, congestion, etc...

And yes, yay to "Unlimited"***.
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ExSatUser

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Uploads are going to take longer. If you are going to keep your DSL, is speed that critical? A lot of money for two internets.

If you blow through your priority data, regardless of plan, you could be subject to slowdowns. If you are expecting to use terabytes of data, satellite internet is not intended for that.
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Michael

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My average home usage for a month, both for business and personal use, is between 300-400GB.

Obviously that is double even the best priority data plan I can choose from, but I really don't feel like its an unreasonable amount to anyone but Viasat and Hughesnet.

I would keep the DSL for non-business use, so I could have a little more control over when the priority data is in use. Cost wise, the Satellite service is already so insanely expensive compared to the DSL that just keeping the DSL as a backup for this highly complex satellite line is not that bad.

Again, the problem for me is the inconsistency. I'd almost rather be paying for the GB and getting cut off than this silly "Unlimited"*** with poorly defined rules for congestion and overuse.
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ExSatUser

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That amount of data is not unreasonable, unless you are talking satellite like you say :).
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Michael McDowell

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Viasat does have Business plans available, at least I think they still do.
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Will Seemore

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Service can vary wildly even in the same zip code. The best advice I can give is go talk to your neighbors. If you are in a dead spot for service it isn't going to matter what plan you have. Most people who dump DSL and go with satellite aren't happy.
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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If Michael has offered Platinum w/100Mbps, doesn't that say he is on the 'small' beam with super broadband?
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ExSatUser

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Yep
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fmj77

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Michael, if DSL and 4G LTE work decently in your area I would stick with those. Performance will be better overall due to lower latency and you don't have to deal with weather outages and congestion as much. And I'm guessing with the DSL you don't have a data limit either.
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fmj77

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Michael, if DSL and 4G LTE work decently in your area I would stick with those. Performance will be better overall due to lower latency and you don't have to deal with weather outages and congestion as much. And I'm guessing with the DSL you don't have a data limit either.
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Diana, Viasat Employee

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Hello Michael,   will you be using a VPN?  Viasat cannot guarantee the speed due to various reasons. Based on your location congestion and speed will be an issue. If you have high-speed cable or fiber optionslike Spectrum, Comcast/Xfinity, Cox, Verizon, Optum, Charter, etc... You arelikely already getting the best value for your money and we do not recommend getting satellite internet service.
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Michael

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I wish that I had such service available. I have only one terrestrial provider, and a max of 6Mbps DSL.

It is consistent and reliable, but certainly not fast.
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ExSatUser

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Honestly, if you can get up to 6Mbps on DSL, I wouldn't begin to consider satellite internet. Granted, you are in a high density spot he area, but again, don't have real high expectations.
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Corey Anderson

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Yes, if you have 6 meg DSL stick with it.
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ExSatUser

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I see I butchered my response, but here we have another person obsessed with speed. He has good reliable internet, but feels satellite would be an improvement?  I know getting on a high density spot beam is an improvement,. but you still have low levels of priority data, are subject to weather outages, and high-latency. 
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Michael

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Again, this is why I was considering this in addition, not in place of.

If I need to download a 20-30GB file, this DSL takes time to deal with that.

I was also under the impression that peak congestion typically occurred 5-9pm based on time zone, because of people coming home and watching streaming video and the like. This led me to believe that morning to mid-day usage might be an alright use case for going over priority, giving me a good use case for day time work usage.

No need to criticize me for asking a few questions and trying to actually improve a situation.

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Corey Anderson

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Can you afford both? If you could it might be worth getting if you need to download a large file. From what I’ve seen though all bets are off once you go over your priority data. Some people have decent results and some people have speeds so slow they can’t use the Internet. We got the business 35 plan and in priority data (75 gigs) speeds can be as low as 6 and as high as 50. We haven’t used up all our data yet though so I don’t know how bad it can get.
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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Michael - if you have 100Mbps offering, then I suspect on Viasat 2 you have a sweet spot on the beam. I am in central VA. The slowdown starts at 4p and is bad through the night. When I am back on at 6am it is ok until 4p. Someone that is in your same location is really the only person that can help you. Your Viasat offering and mine is apples and oranges. I do not have access to Viasat 2 and VA has had horrible Viasat coverage for, what 4 yrs now? Our beam is overloaded/over sold. For many of us, cell service sucks and not an option as a hotspot. I telework and I use VPN with no issues.
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ExSatUser

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Not a criticism, and you are asking good questions.

As long as you dont have unrealistic expectations, you will be fine I think. If you can afford it, try it and let us know your thoughts.
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Michael

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I still definitely agree with the main points here: the idea of such high levels of INCONSISTENCY is the biggest turn off, and it doesn't seem like there is much that can be done about that.

I am certainly a realist about speeds and latency. I have lived on this DSL connection for 3 years now, I can definitely make do if I have to.

It just really makes me wonder what a company like Viasat could do if they didn't oversell everything. Imagine if instead of picking from 12/25/50/100 lines with caps, they were able to provide everyone with 10-12 meg service without limits? I certainly don't know the math/physics behind it all so maybe that's unrealistic, but knowing what I do about living with DSL I really wonder at what I could pull off with even just that doubling of speed.
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ExSatUser

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When Viasat-1 came out, it was suppose to be able to support a million subs. It never came close to that. They also came out with the ridiculously low package levels of 7.5GB/month, 15GB/month, and 25GB/month. All with hard caps.

The satellite and the tech are still the same. They use smoke and mirrors to deliver the "unlimited" plans to try and be competitive. Such things as video extenders and other compression technology. But the hardware is still the same.

In the end it all depends on your location, so be areas are on congested beams, others are not. If I was in your situation, I would kill for 6Mbps DSL and wouldn't even think twice about satellite.
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Nathan Hart

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The platinum 100 isn’t offered if the beam doesn’t have plenty of free bandwidth. Likely your speed will exceed 100. Just be aware of the latency. Most of us on the high density beams can go over our allotments and still maintain much higher then the 6 you get on DSL. I’m on a high density beam in central va and consistently get 50% higher speeds then my plan. 24/7. There is no slow down in the evenings of any kind. I’d definitely go for it. Most of the complainers on here have VS1 on congested beams. VS2 is a completely different beast.
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ExSatUser

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Only if you are on a high density spot beam though. Viasat-2 otherwise can go only up to 25Mbps.

I agree he would be able to get the best Viasat has to offer. But even then, high latency, weather outages, etc. can be a shock to those unfamiliar with satellite internet.
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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To use the word 'complainers' it sounds like losers that choose to be on old hardware just to complain about it. I cannot imagine how we are both in central VA and you (Nathan Hart) have access to 100Mbps on V2 and I do not. Lucky you.
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Corey Anderson

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I’m on V1. V2 is available in the north end of my county about 10 miles away. It’s to the north, west, east, and south of me. Like I’m in a bubble.
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ExSatUser

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The Viasat-2 high density spot beams are very small in scope. Of course, Viasat never publically put out the map showing this, but only a very small percentage of people have access to it.
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Will Seemore

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I am also in Central Va I had 8 years of Viasat and it was so bad I wished I had late 90's DSL, that was only something like 786 Kbps.
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ExSatUser

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If only you were on the magic beam like Nathan!
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Will Seemore

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I don't think the sweet spot Nathan is in is very big, I think he is the only one in here who brags about good Viasat in Central Va.
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Nathan Hart

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The high density beam I am on was closed to new subscribers only 5 weeks after being opened up on the last week of May 2018. Andy in Florida referred to this beam as being famous for being one of the fastest closed off beams ever. If you missed that window that is why. When it was available I tried tons of zip codes to determine the beam size. It appears to run from the Buckingham county line, to Charlottesville, to Harrisonburg, to Lynchburg. It’s actually not all that small. And I apologize for using the term “complainers” earlier. It wasn’t intended to offend anyone.
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ExSatUser

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At least they are not overselling it, which is good.

From what I have been reading, there is a big push to improve broadband internet in Central Va, so hopefully a lot more of you will have that within a couple years.

Unfortunately, we will never know how many high density spot beams never materialized due to the antenna issues. We do know Viasat made a claim and got over $180million. That is a big claim, so it tells us the antenna issue definitely had a negative impact.
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Nathan Hart

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I was just notified that synchronous gigabit Internet will be available for sign up by winter 2019 and service commencing summer 2020 at my house, provided by my co-ops internet service called firefly internet. Will be just in time to complete my 2 year contract. I will miss the novelty of satellite internet but it will be nice to have those speeds with no data caps.
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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Nathan - that is a pretty wide area. I am between Charlottesville and Richmond so was out of the loop. It's nice you have so many options.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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I would suggest buying a lottery ticket the same day you sign up for Viasat service.
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Michael

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My problem is my situation. I am on a small rural side road in the middle of a somewhat suburban area.

The road dead ends, there is absolutely no incentive for a provider to run lines.

AT&T has phone lines here that provide this minimal DSL. We're just far enough off the main roads and down in elevation enough to have 4G coverage that is only again about as good as 6Mbps DSL on all providers. (I have, in these 3 years, tried 4G phones or hotspots for all 4 major providers and 2 MVNOs)

My neighbors and I have offered to front some of the cost to upgrading lines... AT&T won't even talk to us.

Comcast is the only cable provider in our county; They want over $30,000 to run cable less than a mile to 13 houses. Yes... I am only .6 miles from a home that can get 50Mbps Cable service but can't do a damn thing about it.

Because Comcast and AT&T service the county, none of the North Georgia municipal broadband groups bother to expand here.

Likely this 6Mbps is all I can expect until something crazy happens... like a realistic 5G wireless rollout or the low earth orbit satellite services actually work out.
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ExSatUser

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If all 13 homes pitched in $2500, you could get that cable internet.


That seems like a lot, until you do the match on how much satellite internet will cost you for 24 months.

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Will Seemore

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I would sell my soul to the devil for 6 Mbps DSL. When I had Viasat I had up to a dozen outages a day even when the weather was good and often had speeds under 1 Mbps. Verizon is better at 5-10 Mbps down, but uploads rarely exceed 1 Mbps. Also the last month or so evening and weekend speeds have dropped considerably. On weekends with nice weather I get speeds at about what late 90's DSL was. I think the traffic on I-95 causes that.
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ExSatUser

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My uploads are twice or 3 times the download. Interesting.
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aabbcc

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You have speeds better than most people I know, including satellite (after restriction).  No cable (30 miles, tv only there, no cable Internet), no DSL (15 miles, $85/5meg).

Could you possibly get two (or more...) DSL lines set up in your house?  I'm guessing you could add the cell connection in there too (I've never used one of these). https://www.amazon.com/slp/load-balancing-router/v9pu9ck437yc8ov
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aabbcc

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Forgot to add, you can get a wireless bridge setup and share over a high distance, depending on terrain.  Example only, https://www.amazon.com/EnGenius-directional-long-range-N-ENH500-KIT/dp/B007ZDC64I
(Edited)
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TQ

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I used a balance router for years. I had 2 Exede 10GB plans with 2 dishes. When I ran out of priority data, the 2 combined kept me going for the rest of the month.
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Corey Anderson

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This is what I use. I actually have 3 WAN ports in use and have stuff manually setup to use a particular WAN connection. https://www.tp-link.com/us/business-n...