HughesNet and Bandwidth Caps

From email:
is it possible for use to put a password on our wireless hubs to block out some local hacker that is exceeding our bandwidth?

We’ve discussed this before – the issue is NOT a local hacker accessing the wifi. The problem is HughesNet gouging and screwing over their customers.

While I’m a definitely an advocate of encrypting WiFi with WPA, because of the wireless mesh system that we are using to get wireless to Bob’s house, you can’t encrypt the wifi there.

For a “local hacker” to be using your wifi, he would have to be within 500 feet of the house AND know to setup and use a directional antenna. That is very very unlikely – almost impossible – in your area. This is why I’ve never worried about encrypting your wireless. You actually have “security through obscurity” in your case.

On my last trip there, we discussed this very issue and determined that the bandwidth overages were due to several things:

(1) HughesNet’s pathetic rolling bandwidth caps.
(2) Leaving Limewire running on pc’s even after songs are downloaded.
(3) Several users watching Youtube, downloading songs, etc – normal surfing habits (see #1)

I’m sorry to say but it is very easy for users to exceed the bandwidth caps from HughesNet even under normal use. Since most ISP’s have peering arrangements, HughesNet is NOT doing this for the “quality of their network.” It is simply another way to gouge the users. Your real gripe is with HughesNet – it’s not a “local hacker.”

References (please read):

HughesNet Lowers ‘FAP’ Caps
Despite New Spaceway 3 satellite

Reply from Email:
There is something funcky going on and I am running out of ideas. Yesterday I upgraded my hughs account to allow another 50 megs og download. All of the computers were turned off except my laptop and our PS3. Withing 40 minutes of the upgrade where they reset all of my usage they said I our server did a 211 meg download and then a 420 meg download.

So now I am using a dialup service to access the internet.

If it isnt the people across the street then somewhere we have a real nasty virus.

As an example:

50MBs (megs) = only about 15 songs
Most MS patches or updates are more than 50MB’s.
Vista SP1 is 434.5 MBs
XP SP3 is 316.4 MBs
To download the newest Acrobat Reader update requires 20MB’s.
An iTunes update requires about 50MBs.

I’m not sure what is going on except that 50MB’s is nothing. Plus according to many reports, HughesNet’s method for monitoring the traffic (bandwidth) is very slanted towards the benefit of HughesNet – surprise.

You are being screwed over by HughesNet like most of their customers. I’m 99.999% sure it is not a hacker issue – unless your computer is exploited and you are sending spam out in the background – and Vista is not secure either.

The people across the street are a couple hundred yards away. The can “see” your wifi potentially, but they would have to have a directional antenna to transmit back to you since TCP/IP is a 2-way communication – very very unlikely.I will be glad to make a trip up and check things out, but I pretty much guarantee you what the answer will be – HughesNet is sticking it to its customers and getting by with it.

I’m not trying to be complicated or difficult, just giving you the truth about what is going on. You don’t have many choices in your location so basically you are dealing with a monopolistic ISP.