How to Add Data to Your HughesNet Satellite Internet Plan

HughesNet says its plans come with unlimited data, but is that true? Not quite.

You won’t get your internet turned off if you use more than your data limit with HughesNet, but your speeds will limp along at about 1 to 3 Mbps. That’s slow enough to make a turtle raise its eyebrow.

So what can you do? Let’s dig into the details of HughesNet’s data limits, then look at your options when it comes to data tokens and the Bonus Zone.

Does HughesNet have data limits?

HughesNet flat out says you can use as much data as you want each month—but don’t get too excited yet. While you can keep on lurking around your favorite Reddit threads (who, me?), you get only a certain amount of data each month to use at 25 Mbps speeds, a.k.a. “high-speed data.”

After you use up your set amount of data, you still get to hop online. But you’ll be surfing along at speeds of 1 to 3 Mbps until your data resets the next month. Hello, HughesNet? 2003 called and wants its download speeds back.

But how much high-speed data should you get if your secret internet joy is forwarding clickbait emails to your adult children? It depends on your HughesNet plan, but your high-speed data limit can range from 10 to 50 GB.

HughesNet satellite internet high-speed data limits
PlanPriceDownload speedData cap
10 GB$59.99*25 Mbps10 GB
20 GB$69.99*25 Mbps20 GB
30 GB$99.99*25 Mbps30 GB
50 GB$150*25 Mbps50 GB
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Service plans require a 24-month commitment.

Let’s say you use up all your high-speed data for the month, but you have an episode of The Masked Singer to catch up on before your sister lets the spoilers loose. In this situation, 3 Mbps download speeds just won’t cut it. What to do?

Thankfully, you have a few options for getting more high-speed HughesNet data: you can buy a data token, you can wait for the Bonus Zone, or you can upgrade your HughesNet plan to get more high-speed data each month.

How to buy a HughesNet data token

If you don’t regularly need more data, then a HughesNet data token might be your most cost-effective way to avoid hearing dial-up internet noises in your head.

Here’s how to get your paws on some of those data tokens so you can finally finish streaming Tiger King and be one of the cool cats and kittens.

  1. Log in to your HughesNet account, download the HughesNet app (iOS | Android), or download the Usage Meter.
  2. You’ll be able to purchase a 3, 5, 10, or 25 GB data token through your account, the HughesNet app, or the Usage Meter.
  3. Once you’ve finished buying the data token, your speeds should automatically jump back up to 25 Mbps.
Light Bulb icon
HughesNet data tokens don’t expire
Can we just say how happy we are that HughesNet lets your unused data tokens rollover? Now you don’t have to worry about overpaying for extra data you don’t need.

How much does it cost to buy more HughesNet data?

Of course, if you have to keep buying data tokens to support your Netflix bingeing obsession, the cost can add up quickly. In that case, you may want to check out the HughesNet Bonus Zone for some late-night viewing instead.

Here’s a quick look at how much HughesNet data you get at what cost:

HughesNet satellite internet data prices1
Additional dataPrice
3 GB$9
5 GB$15
10 GB$30
25 GB$75

Data effective 4/30/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

What’s the HughesNet Bonus Zone?

If you don’t mind staying up ‘til the wee hours of the morning, HughesNet offers an extra 50 GB of high-speed data (at 25 Mbps) each month from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. local time.

So even if you’ve used up all your high-speed data for the month, you can still stay up late (or get up early) during the Bonus Zone hours and catch up on all the “Holy fork!” shenanigans happening in The Good Place at 25 Mbps speeds.

How do you upgrade your HughesNet plan?

If you’re consistently gobbling up your monthly data allowance, it might be time to look into a new HughesNet plan—or check out the other satellite internet provider, Viasat.

The highest-level HughesNet plan gets you 50 GB of data each month. That’s no small potatoes if you’re streaming videos, gaming, or working from home on your satellite internet connection.

We recommend giving HughesNet a call to see if they can offer you any deals for upgrading your plan. But first, check out what HughesNet prices are available in your area so you can negotiate your bill like a boss.

How much data do you need?

Your data needs depend on what you like to do online, and how much data you use each month could change.

We put together some data usage estimates to help you get an idea of how much data you might need if you enjoy video streaming, online gaming, and more.

What online activity uses the most data?

If you’re dreaming of streaming in 4K on HughesNet satellite internet, you may want to think again: 4K video uses the most data at 8 gigabytes (GB) per hour.2 High-definition (HD) video streaming, on the other hand, is a little more realistic while you’re on satellite internet since it uses 2.5 GB per hour.3

Here’s a quick look at how much data you’ll use while doing some common online activities:

Data usage by online activity2,3,4
ActivityMB usedGB used
One email with attachments0.4 MB0.0004 GB
Playing an online game34 MB/hr.0.034 GB/hr.
Music streaming55 MB/hr.0.055 GB/hr.
Social media94 MB/hr.0.94 GB/hr.
Browsing the web184 MB/hr.0.184 GB/hr.
Streaming standard-definition (SD) video700 MB/hr.0.7 GB/hr.
Streaming HD video2,500 MB/hr.2.5 GB/hr.
Streaming 4K video8,000 MB/hr.8 GB/hr.
Video conferencing540–2,400 MB/hr.0.7–2.4 GB/hr.

How much data do you need for checking emails and social media?

Do your internet habits mainly include checking (and sending) emails and scrolling through Facebook or Instagram? We estimate that you’ll need about 28 GB of data each month.

How much data do you need for browsing the web?
ActivityTime spentData used
Browsing the web4 hrs./day22.1 GB/mo.
Emails sent3/day0.036 GB/mo.
Social media2 hrs./day5.6 GB/mo.
Total28 GB

How much data do you need for working from home?

If you need to work from home while using satellite internet, make sure your data limit is up to par.

Between video conferencing and large file downloads, we estimate the average home office uses about 248 GB of data each month. And that’s even if you keep your Zoom video conferences set to the lowest quality. (Plus, we threw in some music streaming and Facebook browsing because we all need to take breaks once in a while.)

How much data do you need to work from home?
ActivityTime spentData used
Browsing the web8 hrs./day44.2 GB/mo.
Emails sent30/day0.36 GB/mo.
Social media1 hrs./day2.8 GB/mo.
Music streaming4 hrs./day6.6 GB/mo.
Video conferencing90 mins./wk.194.4 GB/mo.
Total248 GB
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Save some data: turn off your video
Are you in shock over how much data video conferencing uses? Us too. But if you need to join a work meeting, you can lower your data usage by turning your own video off. You should also make sure your video conferencing software is set to the lowest quality video as well.

How much data do you need for streaming videos?

Do you prefer to get your movie fix in your living room rather than the theater? We’re right there with you. Of course, streaming video will use up your data pretty quickly if you’re not careful.

We estimate that you’ll need about 42 GB of data a month to stream a couple of movies in SD a week—and keep browsing the internet too.

Why stream in SD, you ask? Well, take a look at how much data uses per month versus HD video, and you’ll see a huge difference. That 40 GB of data per month comes awful close to HughesNet’s highest data plan of 50 GB.

  • SD video: Uses about 11 GB of data per month.
  • HD video: Uses about 40 GB of data per month.
How much data do you need for video streaming?
ActivityTime spentData used
Browsing the web5 hrs./day27.6 GB/mo.
Music streaming2 hrs./day3.3 GB/mo.
Video streaming in SD4 hrs./wk.11.2 GB/mo.
Total42 GB

How much data do you need for gaming

It’s all fun and games until your semi-truck and trailer gets stuck in five feet of snow and mud while playing SnowRunner. Or your team gets roflstomped by baddies in Call of Duty: Warzone.

If online games like this are your jam, you’ll likely need about 56 GB of data each month to keep playing. And don’t worry, we threw in some video and music streaming so you can chill out while you play too.

How much data do you need for gaming?
ActivityTime spentData used
Browsing the web6 hrs./day33.1 GB/mo.
Music streaming5 hrs./day8.3 GB/mo.
Gaming3 hrs./day3.1 GB/mo.
Video streaming in SD4 hrs./wk.11.2 GB/mo.
Total56 GB
Heads Up icon
You’ll also need data for downloading new games and updates
While logging in and gaming doesn’t use much data, you will need extra data if you decide to download a new game or two (or three). And if you know a new expansion or big patch is coming, make sure you have extra data ready for downloading the update.

Can you stream Netflix with HughesNet internet?

You really need only 3 to 5 Mbps to stream Netflix in SD or HD, so HughesNet’s 25 Mbps speeds should cut it just fine.

The real issue rears its ugly head when you try to stream in 4K—you’ll need at least 25 Mbps for that, which is HughesNet’s max download speed. But because 4K streaming uses so much data, we wouldn’t recommend doing it on satellite internet anyway.

How do you track your HughesNet data usage?

You can see how much data you’ve used so far this month in one of three ways:

It’s a good idea to keep tabs on your data use so you don’t wake up to any surprises, like download speeds that are more sluggish than you are before your first cup of morning coffee. (We know the feeling.)

Recap: How do you buy more HughesNet data?

If you need more HughesNet data, you can buy additional data tokens in 3, 5, 10, or 25 GB increments. If you’d rather skip paying extra, you can also wait until 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. your time to take advantage of HughesNet’s Bonus Zone, which comes with 50 GB of extra high-speed data.

Last but not least, if you keep going over your high-speed data limit, you can look into upgrading your HughesNet plan to one that comes with more high-speed data each month.

Learn more about your data options in our HughesNet satellite internet review and compare HughesNet to Viasat in our best satellite internet providers review.

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