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VSAT technology and installation >> HughesNet and Hughes HX VSATs >> 6000 to 7000 upgrade: Worth it?

Message started by antennaman on Oct 9th, 2006 at 12:34pm

Title: 6000 to 7000 upgrade: Worth it?
Post by antennaman on Oct 9th, 2006 at 12:34pm

I'm currently a Hughes customer (via Earthlink), with a DW6000 used in an alternating fashion from two locations about 2 degrees of latitude apart.

A few weeks ago, you gents were kind enough to help me through the procedure of moving the modem back and forth and re-ranging as I did so.

After wandering about here on the message board, I thought I would inquire if it is generally felt that an an upgrade from a DW6000 to a DW7000 is worth the trouble and expense.

I'm generally happy with the service, except for the general 'slows' during HTTPS web sites.  My bride's company system uses VPN tunneling, and it is generally unusable over our 6000 system (latency issue?).  Would this or any other service characteristics be altered significantly with a 7000 upgrade?

Thanks in advance for the guidance!

Title: Re: 6000 to 7000 upgrade: Worth it?
Post by USN - Retired on Oct 9th, 2006 at 1:59pm
There are two advantages to the HN7000S upgrade (not to be confused with the older DW7000); eventual migration to DVB-S2 on the outroute (customer receive), and self-adjusting error coding rates on the inroute (customer send). This is assuming that you will be using it with the existing outdoor equipment.

If you start from scratch with a whole new HN7000S installation, you then can gain the advantage of the new Anubis generation of outdoor equipment, and an optional 98cm dish and 2w transmitter.

With (comparatively) enhanced upload speeds that accompany the 7000 series, you may see marginal improvements in VPN and VoIP clients - the operative word being marginal.


Title: Re: 6000 to 7000 upgrade: Worth it?
Post by pgannon on Oct 9th, 2006 at 8:49pm
I'm not an expert on the current Hughes technology, although I cut my teeth on the VSAT biz when they first released 2-way DirecWay services (shudder - what a misery).  

The (future) advantage of DVB-S2 is more efficient use of the bandwidth, so more IP data can be delivered using the same amount of space segment.  Today DVB systems encapsulate IP data in MPEG (video) frames and that creates a lot of overhead and wasted space segment.  When DVB-S2 is released Hughes can use the increased efficiency in one of two ways:  1) deliver a better quality service by supporting more IP traffic on the same amount of space segment, or 2) add more customers to the same space segment.  

Which do you think is the more likely?  (grin)  Of course.  They will add more customers, and service quality will likely remain the same.

With regard to the self-adjusting error coding rates; if this is what I think it is, it means that they change the FEC (forward error correction) windows in order to compensate for reduced signal quality (i.e. rain).  The idea is that instead of losing signal as may occur in heavy rain today, the throughput rate would slow down, but by modifying the FEC, they would keep the signal up longer in adverse weather conditions.

Does either of these things contribute to an improved service from Hughes?  Probably not.  The reliability may be improved as a result of the adaptive encoding, but the number of sites sharing bandwidth (contention ratios) will remain high at residential sharing rates.  Nothing changes with regard to latency.  

The VPN issue could be a couple things.... first you need a private IP, or you need to determine your assigned IP address if assigned dynamically.  When the IP changes, as it will from time to time if you don't have a dedicated address, then you can change your VPN configuration to reflect the new IP address.

When I worked with DirecWay in the early days it wouldn't carry VPN traffic at all.  I think they may have blocked it back then, but I doubt that's the case now.  

The other problem you have is the high latency.  The TCP spoofing or performance enhancing proxy that they use to overcome the affects of latency on the TCP protocol are negated when you encapsulate the original packet in a VPN tunnel.  The acceleration software can't see the original TCP packet, so it can't accelerate it.  That means each VPN frame has to go across the VSAT link, get decrypted and then ACK'd or acknowledged.  Because the ACKs take so long to get back, the sending device (your wife's laptop and the company server(s) in this case) think they are on a very slow or very congested circuit.  Consequently they are only able to send TCP packets at a snail's pace.  I don't know what the current HughesNet latency is like, but when I worked with the system it ranged from about 700ms to 2100ms.  It is that inconsistent latency that also destroys VoIP quality due to high jitter.  

The 7000 won't solve this.  I assume the VPN is running with CheckPoint or Cisco or some other software on the laptop.  That makes it harder to solve the problem.  When you have a VPN appliance you can buy an external TCP Acceleration device from someone like Mentat (now Packeteer) or UDCast to pre-accelerate the VPN traffic before it gets encrypted.  When the VPN runs on the laptop the only solution is software that provides a similar function.  Mentat has a solution to provide this, but the costs are such that it requires a corporate rollout and the IT department is unlikely to invest in this solution unless they have a lot of employees using VSAT services (or unless your wife is the CEO).  

A simpler solution for VPNs is to see if the company will support an SSL-VPN, as this only encrypts the data and leaves the TCP headers alone so the acceleration/spoofing/PEP software can do its thing.

Greg and others, if any of my information here is incorrect, please let me know.  

In my ever so humble opinion, it does not make sense for you to upgrade.  

Note that there are business class solutions available that are quite superior to HughesNet service, but like most things in life, you get what you pay for.


Title: Re: 6000 to 7000 upgrade: Worth it?
Post by USN - Retired on Oct 10th, 2006 at 2:30am
For clarification, the DW6000 gives DW4000 performance, with the advantage that you can set up a home network without the need for a dedicated host computer.

The DW7000 has little more than the Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) advantage over the DW6000. When propagation conditions are normal, transmit speeds should be higher than with earlier modems.

The HN7000S is a DW7000 that has had the DVB-S2 module enabled. New HN7000S installations introduce the Anubis generation of outdoor hardware. A 2w transmitter and 98cm dish are available as a $300 upgrade.

Based upon all that I've read, the DW6000 seems to have been a mistake; an opinion somewhat supported by the comparatively brief time the 6000 was actually fielded in America. I'm guessing the 7000 series was not ready for prime time, so they used the 6000 series to temporarily bridge the gap between  PC-based systems and self-hosted systems.

As such, I wouldn't want a DW6000 or a DW7000 myself - which I guess is basically why I won't discourage you from upgrading to a HN7000S. But as Pat suggests, Hughes ain't the only game in town.


Title: Re: 6000 to 7000 upgrade: Worth it?
Post by antennaman on Oct 11th, 2006 at 1:53pm
Thanks, gentlemen.

The bottom line I'm getting here is that for the short term at least, the move from my 6000 to a HNS7000 would provide me, as Greg said, only marginal improvement.

To take true advantage of the evolutions, I would need to change antennas and BUC/LNB combinations.

Recall my "traveling modem" scenario; since the outdoor equipment at my remote location is brand new, that would likely be a questionable expense, especially since the VPN issue (which really is not *killing* my wife's work) would not be solved.

Also complicating things are the fact that my service account is via Earthlink, who provides (most of) my e-mail server function.  I would need to weigh the time/trouble of getting Earthlink to understand my hardware change desires (they apparently don't have a barn full of satellite subs, judging from the way they deal with customer service issues), or dump them and notify 'the world' of my e-mail address changes.

I think I will keep a finger in this forum, lurk about for info on new, true, 'quantum leap' improvements as they become available, and consider switching then.

Thanks again for the usual well informed answers, and the time out of your day to provide them.


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