Data Usage Impact on Speeds

Your Internet speed is impacted by many things including (but not limited to) whether or not you have “priority” or “high-speed” data remaining at the time of the speed test. Most Viasat plans allow users to consume an unlimited amount of data each month but a limited amount of priority data each month. In order to check your priority data usage including the amount you have remaining for the month, we recommend reading this forum post and also this help article.

When you reach your monthly data cap, your subsequent usage will be de-prioritized as compared to other subscribers’ priority data, so when the network is busy (or “congested”) you will notice speeds decline. Some locations serviced by our network rarely experience congestion, in which case your speeds may not be impacted by your priority data balance. In most locations, the busiest time of residential Internet use is in the evenings so the following is a simple approach to determine if your speeds are slow due to running out of priority data in combination with network congestion:

  1. Run a speed test (we recommend using the Viasat Speed Check as it allows you to test speed from your device and speed from your modem simultaneously) and compare your download speed to the speed of the plan you are on. For example, let’s assume you are on an Unlimited 25 plan (25 Mbps).
  2. If it is significantly lower than plan speed (let’s say you get 8 Mbps), then check to see if you have exceeded your monthly data cap.
  3. If you have exceeded your cap, then check the time of day. If it is evening, then re-run your speed test in the morning since “congestion” is less common in the mornings.
  4. If morning speeds are consistently much better than evening speeds, you are likely experiencing “de-prioritization” due to having run out of priority data.

If this is the case, you can Buy More data in the short term and in the long term look to take control of your data consumption by doing the following:

  • Get Viasat Shield from Google or Apple app stores to learn which devices are consuming the most data on your network.

  • Depending on that type of device and application data, see what options are available to limit your consumption.

  • Typically the biggest consumer of bandwidth is streaming video, this article tells you how to set your video quality for the most popular streaming services in order to reduce the amount of data you consume.

If your slow speeds are consistent throughout the day, then the problem is unlikely due to lack of priority data in combination with network congestion. In this case, we recommend the following two ways to get help to root cause your slow speeds:

  1. Reporting your issue on this forum via the image button above is likely to be your best option. This support forum is staffed by Viasat engineers who will work with you until your speed problem has been root caused.
  2. If you do not like to communicate on a forum open to other users, you can open an email case with the same Viasat engineers that staff the forum, by going to and clicking on this image in the bottom left hand corner of the page. This will allow you to fill out a form that will create a case and you can then interact with the team over email to root-cause your slow speed issue.
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