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Satellite Communication
• A satellite is an object that orbits another object (known as
its primary). The term is often used to describe an
artificial satellite (as opposed to natural satellites, or
• Because all objects exert gravity, the motion of the
primary object is also affected by the satellite. (This
observation allows for the discovery of extra solar planets
.) If two objects are sufficiently similar in mass, they are
generally referred to as a binary system rather than a
primary object and satellite. The general criterion for an
object to be a satellite is that the center of mass of the two
objects is inside the other object.
• All masses that are part of the solar system, including the
Earth, are satellites of the Sun, or satellites of those
objects, such as the Moon.
Why Use Satellite?
• Satellite communication is just one example of wireless
communication systems. Familiar examples of wireless
systems are all around us, such as radio and television
broadcasting and mobile and cordless telephones. These
One major use of satellites familiar to everyone is satellite television broadcasting. The
systems rely on a network of ground-based transmitters
and receivers and for this reason they are often referred
to as "terrestrial" systems.
• One major use of satellites familiar to everyone is
satellite television broadcasting.
• Other applications of satellite communications include
high speed internet, telephony and corporate networks
for multinational businesses.
Satellite Communication
Satellite Communication
• A communications satellite (sometimes
abbreviated to comsat) is an artificial satellite
stationed in space for the purposes of
telecommunications using radio at microwave
frequencies. Most communications satellites use
geosynchronous orbits or near-geostationary orbits
, although some recent systems use
low Earth-orbiting satellites. A place on the
ground with satellite dishes used to transmit to or
receive from these is called an earth station.
• Communications satellites provide a technology
that is complementary to that of fiber optic
submarine communication cables. Unlike
fiber optic communication, satellite
communication has a propagation delay (also
called a path delay) of at least 270 milliseconds,
which is the time it takes the radio signal to travel
35,800 km from earth to a satellite and then back
to earth. Satellite Internet connections average a
600 to 800 millisecond delay, about ten times that
of a terrestrial Internet link. This delay is a
challenge for highly interactive applications such
as video phones, VOIP or first-person shooter
online video games.
• In 1962, the American telecommunications
giant AT&T launched the world's first true
communications satellite, called Telstar.
Since then, countless communications
satellites have been placed into earth orbit,
and the technology being applied to them is
forever growing in sophistication
Frequency Bands
Band Download Uplink Bands
Bands MHz MHz

UHF (Military) 250-270 292-312

C Band 3700-4200 5925-6425
Ku Band 11700-21200 14000-14500

Ka Band 17,700-21200 27500-30,000

Ka Band (Military) 20200-21200 43500-45500
Selection of the band
• The selection of the band is not something that
individual service providers decide, but is rather chosen
by large satellite operators based on different factors:
• Availability: C-band is still the most widely available
worldwide. Ku-band is becoming more available recently
in regions which were less covered in the past (South
America, Asia, Africa)
• C-band is more prone to interference from other
transmission services that share the same frequencies
(adjacent satellites or terrestrial transmissions) than the
higher bands
• While the C-band technology is cheaper in itself, it
requires larger dishes (1 to 3 m) than Ku- and Ka-band
(0.6 to 1.8 m) and therefore imposes relatively higher
(installation) costs on the end-user
• Ku- and especially Ka-band make better use of
satellite capacity
• Higher frequency bands (Ku- and especially
Ka-) suffer significantly more from signal
deterioration caused by rainfall: to ensure
availability in bad weather conditions, the
signal has to be much stronger. Note that
0.1% of unavailability means in fact that the
service will be interrupted for almost 9 hours
over a 1-year period. 1% unavailability
represents 90 hours or almost 4 full days
Bands of Interest
• C-band is the oldest allocation and operates in the
frequency range around 6 GHz for transmission (uplink)
and between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz for reception (downlink).

Ku-band is the most common transmission format in

Europe for satellite TV and uses around 14 GHz for
uplink and between 10.9 and 12.75 GHz for downlink.

Ka-band uses around 30 GHz up- and between 18 and

20 GHz downlink frequency.
C-band and Ku-band are becoming congested by an
increasing amount of users, so satellite service
operators are more and more turning to the use of Ka-
Satellite Communications

3 Satellite Constellations: (microwave,

straight line signal propogation)
• Low Earth Orbit (LEO) not synchronised
(600 to 1600km)
• Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) not
synchronised (10000Km)
• Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) (35,200
km) -also known as Geostationary)
The Orbits
• Orbits: GEO, MEO, LEO
• The most common type of communications
satellites, particularly the broadcast satellites
like AfriStar, Intelsat, PanAmSat, Eutelsat and
ASTRA, are in geosynchronous orbit (from geo
= Earth + synchronous = moving at the same
rate). That means that the satellite always
stays over one spot on Earth. It does this by
placing the satellite in a position 35,786 km
out in space perpendicularly above the
Geostationary Earth 
Orbit  36,000 km

Rapid deployment ­ 
instant infrastructure

• A medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite is one
with an orbit from a few hundred miles to a
few thousand miles above the Earth's surface.
Satellites of this type are in a higher orbit than
low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, but lower than
geostationary (GEO) satellites. The orbital
periods (the time in between two successive
passes over one particular place on Earth) of
MEO satellites range from about 2 to 12 hours.
• A low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite system consists of a
large number of satellites each in a circular orbit at a
constant altitude between 320 and 800 km. Because
they orbit so close to Earth, they must travel very fast
so gravity does not pull them back into the atmosphere.
Satellites in LEOs circle around the Earth at 27,359 km
per hour. The orbits take the satellites over the
geographic poles. Each revolution takes from less than
90 minutes up to a few hours. The fleet is arranged in
such a way that from any point on the surface at any
time at least one satellite is in line of sight.
Types of Satellites
• Astronomical satellites are satellites used
for observation of distant planets, galaxies,
and other outer space objects.
• Communications satellites are artificial
satellites stationed in space for the purposes
of telecommunications using radio at
microwave frequencies. Most
communications satellites use
geosynchronous orbits or near-
geostationary orbits, although some recent
systems use low Earth-orbiting satellites.
• Earth observation satellites are satellites
specifically designed to observe Earth from orbit,
similar to reconnaissance satellites but intended
for non-military uses such as environmental
monitoring, meteorology, map making etc.
• Navigation satellites are satellites which use radio
time signals transmitted to enable mobile receivers
on the ground to determine their exact location.
The relatively clear line of sight between the
satellites and receivers on the ground, combined
with ever-improving electronics, allows satellite
navigation systems to measure location to
accuracies on the order of a few metres in real
• Reconnaissance satellites are
Earth observation satellite or
communications satellite deployed for military or
intelligence applications.
• Space stations are man-made structures that are
designed for human beings to live on in
outer space. A space station is distinguished from
other manned spacecraft by its lack of major
propulsion or landing facilities - instead, other
vehicles are used as transport to and from the
station. Space stations are designed for medium-
term living in orbit, for periods of weeks, months,
or even years.
• Weather satellites are satellites that primarily are
used to monitor the weather and/or climate of the
• Drag-free satellites are satellites that offers an
environment that is as isolated as possible from
the forces of nature. A properly designed drag-
free-satellite proof mass is uncoupled from the rest
of the Universe to a remarkable degree.
• Miniaturized_Satellites are satellites of unusually
low weights and small sizes. New classifications
are used to categorieze these satellites:
minisatellite (500-200kg), microsatellite (below
100kg), nanosatellite (below 10kg).
A Selective Communications Satellite

• 1945 Arthur C. Clarke Article: "Extra-Terrestrial

• 1955 John R. Pierce Article: "Orbital Radio
• 1956 First Trans-Atlantic Telephone Cable: TAT-
• 1957 Sputnik: Russia launches the first earth
• 1960 1st Successful DELTA Launch Vehicle
• 1960 AT&T applies to FCC for experimental
satellite communications license
• 1961 Formal start of TELSTAR, RELAY, and
SYNCOM Programs
• 1962 TELSTAR and RELAY launched
• 1962 Communications Satellite Act (U.S.)
• 1963 SYNCOM launched
• 1964 INTELSAT formed
• 1965 COMSAT's EARLY BIRD: 1st commercial
communications satellite
• 1969 INTELSAT-III series provides global
• 1972 ANIK: 1st Domestic Communications
Satellite (Canada)
• 1974 WESTAR: 1st U.S. Domestic
Communications Satellite
• 1975 INTELSAT-IVA: 1st use of dual-
• 1975 RCA SATCOM: 1st operational body-
stabilized comm. satellite
• 1976 MARISAT: 1st mobile communications
• 1976 PALAPA: 3rd country (Indonesia) to
launch domestic comm. satellite
• 1979 INMARSAT formed.
• 1988 TAT-8: 1st Fiber-Optic Trans-Atlantic
telephone cable
Basic Elements

Satellite communications are comprised of 2

main components:

•The Satellite
•The Ground Station.
The Earth Station
The Earth Station
• Earth station is the common name for every installation
located on the Earth's surface and intended for
communication (transmission and/or reception) with
one or more satellites.
• Earth stations include all devices and installations for
satellite communications: handheld devices for mobile
satellite telephony, briefcase satellite phones, satellite
TV reception, as well as installations that are less
familiar, eg VSAT stations and satellite broadcast TV
• The term Earth station refers to the collection of
equipment that is needed to perform communications
via satellite: the antenna (often a dish) and the
associated equipment (receiver/decoder, transmitter).
Earth Stations
High Capacity Stations - Costly, complex
Services communities large enough to require
feeder line access to the Earth Station
Mid-Capacity SES - Used by Corporations for Private Networks
Videoconferencing, electronic mail, data,
Voice Services. Each earth station can be
connected to any other station in the network.
VSAT Network - One Master Earth Station and many VSAT
terminals sharing the MES. Limited to data
transmissions, digital voice and digital video.
Receive-Only Earth Station - Voice only, Data only, TV Receive only or a
The parts in the sky

• The two main parts in the sky common to all satellites

are called the payload and the bus.

Payload: transponders, antennas

Bus: physical platform, remote control

The Payload
• The payload represents all equipment a
satellite needs to do its job. This can include
antennas, cameras, radar and electronics.
• The payload is different for every satellite. For
example, the payload for a weather satellite
includes cameras to take pictures of cloud
formations, while the payload for a
communications satellite includes large
antennas to transmit TV or telephone signals
to Earth.
The Transponder
• The transponder is the key component for satellite
communications: it is the part of the payload that takes
the signals received from the transmitting Earth station,
filters and translates these signals and then redirects
them to the transmitting antenna on board.
Communications satellites carry a large number of
transponders on board (normally from six to more than
24), enabling them to deliver multiple channels of
communication at the same time. These channels are
called carriers.
The Antenna
• Antennas that receive the original signal from
the transmitting Earth station and re-transmit
this signal to the receive stations on Earth.
• The antennas that were used in the past to do
this were omni-directional (transmitting
signals in every direction) and not very
effective. They were replaced by more efficient
high-gain antennas (most often dish shaped)
pointing quite precisely towards the areas they
were servicing.
The Bus
• The bus is the part of the satellite that carries
the payload and all its equipment into space.
It is the physical platform that holds all the
satellite's parts together and that provides
electrical power, navigation, control and
propulsion to the spacecraft. The bus also
contains equipment that allows the satellite to
communicate with Earth, a kind of 'remote
• The nominal GPS Operational Constellation consists of 24
satellites that orbit the earth in 12 hours. There are often
more than 24 operational satellites as new ones are
launched to replace older satellites. The satellite orbits
repeat almost the same ground track (as the earth turns
beneath them) once each day. The orbit altitude is such
that the satellites repeat the same track and configuration
over any point approximately each 24 hours (4 minutes
earlier each day). There are six orbital planes (with
nominally four SVs in each), equally spaced (60 degrees
apart), and inclined at about fifty-five degrees with respect
to the equatorial plane. This constellation provides the user
with between five and eight SVs visible from any point on
the earth.
So What is The Internet ?
• It is a complex web of networks.
• Each network can have millions of inter-connected
computers which use telephone infrastructure to
• No one ‘owns’ the Internet - Its backbone, through which
information flows, is owned by a number of private
• Messages are transmitted through the Internet via a
computer language called ‘transmission control protocol -
• Each message travels as a packet and has a coded address
which tells the network its destination and also has a block
of data content
• This packet is transmitted via variety of routes
• Data travels more efficiently using digital
• Telstra has been (slowly) digitising its public
switched telephone network

How do home computers link to the Internet ?

• Normally via an Internet Server Provider (ISP) - a
monthly fee is charged for connection and
• These ISP’s are connected to a larger network
service - Network Service Providers (NSP’s)
which are connected using fibre optic cable OR
satellite links.
• There are about 900 ISPs operating in Australia

• Telstra has a large share of the Internet wholesale

• Most ISPs are small and operate a single point
presence or ‘POP’ - this is a location which
comprises modems and a network connection into
which an ISP’s customers dial to make an Internet

• High speed Internet requires ISDN

Applications of SattComm
• Radio and TV Broadcasting
• Business radio and TV
• Telephony
• Thin route or trunk telephony
• Mobile satellite telephony
• LEO-based telephony
• GEO-based telephony
• Data, broadband and multimedia services
• IP over satellite for ISPs
• Corporate or institutional VSAT networks
• End-user services for home or small office
• Mobile data communications
Radio and TV Broadcasting
• The most familiar use of satellites is television
broadcasting. TV satellites deliver hundreds of
television channels every day throughout the
world. These satellites are even used to supply
television signals to terrestrial transmitters or
cable-head end stations for further distribution
to the home, or to exchange signals between
television studios. The bandwidth required to
transmit multiple programmes at the same
time can easily be provided using satellites.
Satellite Dish Antenna
The Eutelsat HotBird position at
13 Degrees East
Business radio and TV

• Digital television has made it possible to

distribute information within organisations and
companies that are geographically dispersed,
or to deliver distance education. Similarly,
digital radio allows for the delivery of radio
services to relatively small closed user groups.
Thin route or trunk telephony

• Telecom operators have been using satellite

communications for many years to carry long-
distance telephone communications, especially
intercontinental, to complement or to bypass
submarine cables. To the end-user this is
transparent: the phone calls are routed
automatically via the available capacity at any
given moment
Mobile satellite telephony

• Mobile telephony allows the user to make telephone

calls and to transmit and receive data from wherever
he/she is located. Digital cellular mobile telephony such
as GSM has become a worldwide standard for mobile
communications, but its services lack coverage over
areas that are sparsely populated or uninhabited
(mountains, jungle, sea), because it is not economically
viable or practical for the network operators to build
antennas there. Satellite telephony seems to be able to
provide a possible solution to the problem of providing
voice and data communications services to these other
LEO-based telephony

• Another mobile satellite communications system is the

Globalstar satellite telephone network. Globalstar, which
was established in 1991 and began commercial service
in late 1999, offers service from virtually anywhere
across over 100 countries, as well as from most
territorial waters and several mid-ocean regions.
Globalstar deploys handheld telephone sets that switch
between the terrestrial wireless telephone network
(GSM) and a LEO-based satellite network in places
where no terrestrial GSM network is available.
GEO-based telephony

• An alternative approach to satellite telephony uses a

geostationary satellite instead of the LEO. This results in
longer delays (approximately half a second) but
switching on board the satellite reduces this
inconvenience as much as possible. The Thuraya mobile
satellite system was launched in 1991, its satellite
maintains a geo-synchronous orbit at 44 degrees East.
Thuraya operates effectively in both satellite and GSM
environments. Its satellite network capacity is about
13,750 telephone channels. When within reach of a
GSM network, Thuraya's mobile phone acts as an
ordinary GSM handset.
Satellite Phones
IP over satellite for ISPs

• Telecoms and connectivity providers have started using

satellite communications to bypass the increasingly
clogged terrestrial and submarine networks to
complement their backbone connectivity or to
supplement them where they are not yet available. This
approach takes advantage of the fact that satellite is
not a real point-to-point connection like cable, but a
connection that allows the delivery to multiple points at
the same time. This allows for simultaneous updating of
multiple caching, proxy or mirroring servers.
Much the same way, it is possible to push Internet content to

and even over the edges of existing networks. When it is

necessary to provide large amounts of content to places that are
poorly connected to the Internet, it is now possible to push
content to local PoPs (Point of Presence) edge servers. These can
then in turn serve as ISPs to the local users or user communities
Corporate or institutional VSAT

• VSAT stands for Very Small Aperture Terminal and

refers to combined send/receive terminals with a typical
antenna diameter of 1 to 3.7 m linking the central hub
to all remote offices and facilities and keeping them all
in constant immediate contact. VSAT networks offer
solutions for large networks with low or medium traffic.
They provide very efficient point-to-multipoint
communication, are easy to install and can be expanded
at low extra cost. VSAT networks offer immediate
accessibility and continuous high-quality transmissions.
They are adapted for any kind of transmission, from
data to voice, fax and video.
VSAT Star-shaped Networks
• A VSAT network, a corporation can communicate freely
and constantly with branch offices:
• Voice and fax transmissions
• Local Area Network interconnection
• Data broadcasting
• Videoconferencing
• In-house training
VSAT Mesh-shaped Networks
One-way Satellite Internet
Two-way Satellite Internet
Thank You