I had occasion to learn all manner of things about my internet connection this past week. I wrote out a huge long angry tirade about the entire issue. Now that I've reread it, I realize there is no sense boring you with my rantings. Here is the executive summary.
1. Now, I'm streaming. I wasn't sure I knew what that was when I first heard the term but now I know. I'm trying to use Netflix instead of paying for all the premium channels on DirecTV that we only rarely watched. It saves me a ton of money but it means now I have to worry about data usage and download speed.
2. I really do have data usage issues. I always thought our internet was just lousy but it's more complicated than that. We have a very old plan that Hughes.net doesn't offer anymore. We have 1 gigabyte of data per day. It's great that it refreshes daily but that goes a long way in explaining why I have internet in the morning and not in the afternoon.
3. Netflix uses a huge amount of data. If you set your system to run at the highest quality image, the highest definition, Netflix will use 3 gigabytes/hour. Holy cow. That means I could get through about 20 minutes before my data ran out. If you set the system to run on low definition, Netflix only uses .3 gigabytes/hour. This setting looks great on a phone or iPad but is slightly grainy on my television. But if I use that setting I can watch one complete two hour movie and part of a second before I've used up my data.
4. If you have unlimited data, hang on to it. AT&T gave my daughter unlimited data on her phone in exchange for switching from Dish to DirecTV. The cost works out the same for her and the unlimited data is wonderful.
5. Given the number of phone calls to Hughes.net and the number of times we have requested Hughes.net personnel out here to try and fix our system so it would run better and be more consistent, you would think someone might have mentioned our data usage. The subject never came up. Based on the phone calls I've made this past week, our data usage seems to be at the center of many of our issues.
6. Verizon has been wonderful. They have more than doubled our data for a nominal fee and helped this old lady try to navigate the issues. I now have a better understanding of using the cellular data on my iPad versus using our internet Wi-Fi.
This coming week I will be monitoring our data usage so I know where we sit but I will also be checking around to see what other options I have. I know there are other internet providers out here so I need to look into that. Hughes.net may not be the best option. And there is still the ongoing problem of WI-Fi dead spots in my house.