This does seem to be an off-alignment problem. Bear in mind that signal strenght is directly related to download speed as the modem has to do error correction and if the signal quality is low, a lot of data is lost because off-alignment causes a lot of garbage data to get mixed with the signal and thus the modem rejects it as inaccurated.
So I suggest you go ahead with re-aligning your satellite dish.
I have enjoyed satellite ISP service for several years, primarily because I live in a rural area with limited alternatives. Recently, the service has seemed to slip beyond even my lax standards. Download speeds are so slow my system stops. My computer is a Dell Dimension 8250 (Intel 2.5G/512K ram which is about 4 years old). I have all the updates, have run all the virus/spyware programs, run Windows XP, with two different browsers, etc. I don't hog the band use but I have noticed that after 2pm and until 9pm (Central), my service is limited to the point that virtually everything I try time's out (time outs?). I have contacted the software vendors, and also the hardware (computer/satellite) people, but have received very vague answers. The basic suggestion is that I would need to have the satellite realigned ($450), which seems somewhat self serving (or replace the hardware, or be sure I have no viruses). I realigned the system about 2 years ago, after a modem problem, and this seems very different. All in all, my question centers around the basics of the service. I seem to be doing my part, but don't understand the solutions suggested. Is there anything from a technical or electronic standpoint (sunspots, band use limitations etc.) that I am missing? I seem to be backed into somewhat of a corner with very few alternatives. I would appreciate anyone's view. Thanks,