HughesNet Vs. Cox: Which Internet Provider Is Better?

High-speed internet access is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity for most households and businesses. With more people working from home, video chatting with friends and family, and streaming movies and TV shows in HD, having a fast, reliable internet connection is more important than ever.

Two of the most popular internet service providers (ISPs) in many parts of the U.S. are HughesNet and Cox Communications. But which one is better for your needs? Here’s a detailed comparison of HughesNet and Cox to help you decide.

A Brief Comparison Table

Speeds25 – 50Mbps download, 3Mbps upload50Mbps – 1Gbps download, 3 – 35Mbps upload
Data CapsAll plans have data caps (10GB – 150GB)No data caps
AvailabilityAvailable in most rural areasOnly available in Cox wired service areas
ReliabilityFrequent outages during bad weatherVery reliable wired network with few outages
LatencyHigh latency of 600ms or moreLow latency averaging 10 – 30ms
Streaming QualityData caps and slower speeds limit streamingExcellent for HD streaming with no data limits
Gaming QualityHigh latency causes lagsLow latency ideal for online gaming
BundlingBundle with DirecTV satellite TVBundle with Cox TV and phone services
Equipment NeedsSatellite dish required, installed by technicianSelf-install of modem/router generally available
Pricing$59.99 and up per month$29.99 and up per month

Overview Of HughesNet

HughesNet is one of the largest satellite internet providers in the country, offering high-speed internet access through a network of satellites orbiting the earth.

Here are some key things to know about HughesNet:

  • Availability – HughesNet is available in most parts of the continental U.S., including many rural and remote areas not served by cable or fiber optic networks. This makes it a good option for people with limited internet options.
  • Speeds – HughesNet plans offer download speeds of 25 Mbps on their lower tier plans and up to 50 Mbps on higher tier plans. However, upload speeds are much slower, with max speeds of 3 Mbps.
  • Data Limits – All HughesNet plans have monthly data limits ranging from 10 GB to 150 GB per month. If you exceed your limit, speeds are throttled to extremely slow speeds of 1-3 Mbps.
  • Equipment – HughesNet requires a satellite dish and special modem/router to connect to the network. The equipment is leased to subscribers.
  • Pricing – HughesNet starts at $59.99 per month for the 10 GB plan and goes up to $149.99 for the 150 GB plan. Equipment fees and installation are extra.

Also Read: Is Cradlepoint Better Than Sierra Wireless?

Overview Of Cox Internet

Cox Communications is one of the largest cable internet providers in the U.S., offering high-speed cable internet primarily in 18 states.

Here’s an overview:

  • Availability – Cox has a large coverage footprint but availability is limited to areas with existing Cox cable networks. It’s not available in many rural areas.
  • Speeds – Cox offers a range of speed tiers from 50 Mbps up to gigabit speeds. Faster plans of 150 Mbps to gigabit speeds are offered under the name “Cox Gigablast.”
  • Data Limits – Cox residential plans are unlimited, with no data caps. This makes it a better choice for heavy data usage.
  • Equipment – Cox offers both rental equipment or ability to purchase your own modem and router. Some plans include WiFi router rental.
  • Pricing – Cox monthly internet plans start at $29.99 for 50 Mbps and go up to $99.99 for gigabit speeds. Discounts are available for bundling plans.

HughesNet Vs. Cox – Detailed Comparison

Now let’s take a detailed look at how HughesNet and Cox compare on some of the most important factors for internet service.


Internet speeds often vary based on the time of day and overall network traffic. To account for this, internet providers advertise speed as “up to” a certain level. Here’s how HughesNet and Cox speed tiers compare:

  • HughesNet – Offers download speeds of 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps. However, during peak times, speeds can slow quite a bit. Upload speeds max out at just 3 Mbps.
  • Cox – Even Cox’s base plan offers 50 Mbps download speeds. Faster plans go up to 150 Mbps, 300 Mbps, and gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps). Upload speeds range from 3 to 35 Mbps.

Clearly, Cox offers much faster download and upload speeds at all tiers. HughesNet’s satellite delivery and technology limitations mean slower and more variable speeds.

Data Caps

If your household does a lot of streaming, gaming, video chatting or other high-bandwidth activities, data caps can be a major drawback:

  • HughesNet – All plans have restrictive data caps ranging from 10 GB on the basic plan up to 50 GB or 150 GB on higher-priced plans. If you exceed your cap, speeds are throttled way down to 1-3 Mbps.
  • Cox – Cox residential internet plans are unlimited, with no data caps. You can use as much data as you want without speed reductions.

The lack of data caps gives Cox a big advantage for high data usage households. HughesNet’s low data caps can make it tough to stream, game, or video chat without hitting your limit and getting throttled.


Your internet connection is only useful if it’s reliable. Nothing is more frustrating than constant outages. Here’s how HughesNet and Cox compare:

  • HughesNet – Satellite internet is prone to disruptions and outages during severe weather like heavy rain, wind, snow, and storms. Signal blockage by trees and terrain can also intermittent cause connectivity issues.
  • Cox – As a cable internet provider, Cox offers excellent reliability. Outages are rare, even during weather events. Fiber optic backbone networks provide very stable connections.

Cox’s wired connections give it much better reliability than HughesNet’s satellite service. HughesNet outages during inclement weather are not uncommon.

Also watch the review video of Cox Internet provider!


Latency refers to the time it takes for data to make a round trip from your computer to the internet. Low latency is important for activities like video chatting, online gaming, and streaming.

  • HughesNet – Due to the long distance data has to travel up to the satellites and back, HughesNet latency is quite high – typically 600ms or higher. This can cause lag for real-time applications.
  • Cox – Cox offers very low latency, averaging just 10 to 30ms for most connections. This enables smooth, real-time communication for video chatting, gaming, and other sensitive tasks.

If you do a lot of online gaming or video streaming, Cox’s much lower latency will provide a better experience. HughesNet’s higher latency can cause lags.

Connection Technology

The underlying technology used to deliver internet service has a big impact on speeds, reliability, and capabilities:

  • HughesNet – Uses satellites in geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles above the earth. Data has to travel up to the satellites and back, which limits speeds. Satellite systems have less capacity than land-based networks.
  • Cox – Delivers internet through extensive fiber-optic and coaxial cable networks. Data travels over physical wires, providing faster speeds, lower latency, and more consistent uptime. Larger network capacity.

Cox’s wired infrastructure provides lower latency, greater reliability, and more robust network capacity. HughesNet’s satellite delivery limits speeds and uptime.

Bundling Options

Many consumers bundle their internet with other services to save money. Here are the bundling options with each provider:

  • HughesNet – Allows bundling satellite internet with satellite TV service from DirecTV/AT&T. Can provide discounts for bundling.
  • Cox – Offers “Cox Bundle” deals when you get internet along with Cox TV and home phone service. Discounts can drop monthly costs by $20 or more.

If you want to bundle with TV and phone, Cox provides a full suite of service offerings. HughesNet has more limited bundling capability only with satellite TV from AT&T/DirecTV.


Internet service depends heavily on availability in your area:

  • HughesNet – Offers service to most locations in the continental U.S. One of few providers available in rural areas outside of cable/fiber networks. Requires clear view of southern sky for dish.
  • Cox – Only available in regions with existing Cox cable networks. Not accessible in many rural areas. Check availability by address.

HughesNet’s satellite service provides much broader availability than Cox’s cable network. However, Cox offers faster speeds where available.

Equipment and Installation

Getting internet service installed takes equipment provided by the ISP:

  • HughesNet – Requires professional installation of satellite dish on roof or pole, pointed at southern sky. Modem/router is leased from HughesNet.
  • Cox – Self-installation of Cox modem/router is generally available. For gigabit speeds, pro install may be required. Equipment can be leased or purchased.

Cox generally offers simpler self-setup of equipment. HughesNet requires roof or pole mounted dish installed by technician.

Customer Support

Having responsive customer service can be important for resolving issues:

  • HughesNet – Customers have frequently complained about long hold times and limited technical support. Most issues require a service call.
  • Cox – Cox provides 24/7 customer service by phone and online chat. Troubleshooting can often resolve connection issues without a technician visit.

Cox tends to offer a higher level of customer service and technical support compared to HughesNet.

Also Read: Comparison Between UsenetServer And Newshosting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is HughesNet internet any good?

HughesNet can provide decent internet access in rural areas lacking cable or fiber availability. However, speeds are relatively slow, data is capped, and reliability can suffer during storms. For heavy data usage, HughesNet is not ideal.

What are the pros and cons of HughesNet?

Available in rural/remote areas, Decent speeds for lighter usage, Can bundle with DirecTV.
Low data caps and overage fees, Speeds slower than cable internet, Frequent weather-related outages,
Higher latency can cause lag.

Is Cox internet good?

Yes, Cox provides high-speed, reliable internet with unlimited data. Speeds range from 50Mbps up to 1Gbps in areas with gigabit availability. Low latency makes Cox ideal for streaming HD video, gaming, and video chat.

What is the fastest speed of HughesNet internet?

The fastest HughesNet plan offers download speeds up to 50 Mbps and upload speeds up to 3 Mbps. However, during peak congestion times, speeds can be quite a bit slower than the maximum advertised rates.

Is Cox or HughesNet better for streaming TV?

Cox is better for streaming HD video from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other streaming services. The unlimited data allows endless TV and movie streaming with no overage charges. Low latency results in less buffering. HughesNet’s slower speeds and data caps can make streaming video a challenge.


Now that we’ve compared HughesNet and Cox on a number of criteria, let’s summarize when each internet provider is the better option:

  • Go with Cox for – Faster speeds, lower latency, unlimited data, reliability, and better support. Ideal for households with high data usage.
  • Go with HughesNet for – Rural/remote locations not served by cable. Households with lighter internet usage. Requires clear view of southern sky.
  • Budget Pick – HughesNet starts at $59.99 per month for the 10GB plan. Cox lowest tier is $29.99 for 50Mbps.
  • Premium Pick – For max speeds, Cox Gigablast at $99.99 per month provides up to 1Gbps with 35Mpbs uploads.

Also Read: Comparison Between Google Fi And Straight Talk.

Ultimately, Cox is the superior provider in areas where its network is available. Download and upload speeds are several times faster than HughesNet and without restrictive data caps. Reliability and low latency provide better performance for streaming and real-time tasks.

For rural locations outside the reach of cable networks, HughesNet satellite internet provides one of the few options. The low data caps make it best suited for lighter internet usage. Slow speeds and high latency are tradeoffs.

To find the best internet provider for your location, be sure to check availability and pricing for both Cox and HughesNet. Consider how you use the internet to determine if speeds, data caps, or other factors are most important to you.

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