Satellites are relay stations in space for the transmission of voice, video and data communications.
They are ideally suited to meet the global communications requirements of military, government and commercial organizations because they provide economical, scalable and highly reliable transmission services that easily reach multiple sites over vast geographic areas.
Transmissions via satellite communications systems can bypass the existing ground-based infrastructure, which is often limited and unreliable in many parts of the world.
Satellite communications involves four steps:
- An uplink Earth station or other ground equipment transmits the desired signal to the satellite
- The satellite amplifies the incoming signal and changes the frequency
- The satellite transmits the signal back to Earth
- The ground equipment receives the signal
Two critical considerations in spacecraft design are power and coverage. A satellite contains multiple channels, called transponders, that provide bandwidth and power over designated radio frequencies.
The transponder’s bandwidth and power dictate how much information can be transmitted through the transponder and how big the ground equipment must be to receive the signal. In addition, the satellite’s antennas direct the signal over a specific geographic area.
There are three main types of satellites used for communication by commercial enterprises. Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) support the majority of our domestic and international services, from international internet connectivity to private business networks.
Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) use a variety of transportable receiver and transmitter equipment to provide communication services for land mobile, maritime and aeronautical customers.
Then there’s Broadcast Satellite Services (BSS), which offer high transmission power for reception using very small ground equipment. BSS is best known for direct-to-consumer television and broadband applications such as DIRECTV.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Technical Aspects of Satellite Communications for non-Engineers, a 4-day course designed to provide a general technical overview of Satellite Communications and GMR-1 family of technologies for non-technical professionals including sales, marketing, product managers, finance, project and program managers, and executive management.
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