Components of Satellite Communications Use Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

As compared to the previous years, the antennas in the earth stations are no longer large in size because of enhancements in satellites.

A satellite communication basically functions and works in millimeter and microwave wave frequency bands that are estimated to range from approximately 1 Ghz to 50 Ghz. While there are different frequency bands that are used by satellite communication systems, the most common are the uplink and downlink frequency bands of 6 Ghz and 4 Ghz respectively. In essence the uplink frequency band usually ranges from 5.725 to 7.075 Ghz whereas the actual downlink frequency band is estimated to be around 3.4 to 4.8 Ghz.

In most cases, satellites function in three different orbits i.e. The low Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, and geostationary orbit, which is also known as the geosynchronous orbit. While the low Earth orbits are placed at an altitude of between 100 and 1000 miles, the medium Earth orbit satellites function from 6300 to approximately 12,500 miles. On the other hand, the geostationary orbits are placed at an altitude of more than 22,326 miles above Earth mainly because they cover one orbit in a day and remain fixed over a single spot.

Important Factors in Satellite Communications:

In order for a satellite communication system to function or operate effectively, there are various factors that must be critically considered such as

Elevation Angle:

This can be described as the angle of the horizontal of the earth surface to the central point of the transmission beam in the satellite. The elevation angle is an important factor because it determines the coverage area of the satellite system and the fact that there is a lower elevation angle of earth stations. In most cases, an ideal elevation angle is 0 degrees in order for the transmission beam to achieve a visible horizon to the satellite across each direction.

Coverage Angle:

This is the second most important factor in satellite communication and it's defined as the measure of the portion of the surface of the earth that is visible to a satellite with regards to the minimum elevation angle (Charles, p. 6).

Satellite Footprint:

This is regarded as a crucial factor because the strength of transmission of the satellite tends to be more powerful in the transmission center and decreases further from the center because of the increase in free space loss. The free space loss is defined as the distance between the earth station and a satellite.

Atmospheric Attenuation:

Since atmospheric reduction is normally caused by air and water, it's an important factor in satellite communication because it can weaken the transmission. During the development and establishment of satellite communication systems, this factor should be critically considered because of its impact on transmission and its severity during rain and fog.

Enhancing Satellite Communication:

The development of a healthy satellite industry and sector has been fueled by the recent advancements in satellite technology that has contributed to the provision of multiple services to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), broadcasters, governments, military departments and units, and other sectors. Satellite technology has mainly developed from experimental mechanisms to the complicated and more powerful mechanisms within a short period of time. Actually, future satellite communications will be enhanced or developed to include more onboard processing abilities, increased power, and larger-aperture antennas. The increased capabilities will increase the efficiency of satellite communications because they will enable the satellite systems to handle more bandwidth. The service life of satellites will also be increased from the current 10 -- 15 years to 20 -- 30 years with extra advancements in the propulsion and power systems of satellites.

The need to enhance the existing satellite communication systems is fueled by various important factors. These factors include the demand for more bandwidth and increased advancements of satellite technology. Such enhancements will result in the long-term viability of the commercial satellite industry in the next generation and century. However, satellite communication can be enhanced through various means including & #8230;

Partnerships to Increase Training Capabilities:

One of the major ways to enhance satellite communication is through partnerships and enhanced delivery of training that is geared towards improving the deployments of satellite communication. The increased standards of various operational effectiveness for governmental agencies is being encouraged through the provision of training that facilitates the deployments of satellite communication systems ("Partnerships to Improve," par, 1). The initiatives are taking place at a time when there is increased dependence upon VSAT-based solutions for most of the communications across the globe.

Increased delivery of trainings for technicians will significantly contribute to the enhancement of satellite communication systems. Currently, various companies have been involved in such partnerships to provide practical VSAT installation trainings for technicians in different agencies and departments that are involved in satellite communication systems. An example of such partnership is the one between by Light Professional it Services, the Global VSAT Forum, and SatProf. As a result of the partnership, SatProf has been able to provide an online curriculum development and course administration for satellite professionals and technicians. These companies have partnered to help in lessening the future satellite interference in commercial and government industries.

Enhanced Network Engineering and Design:

The other most suitable way of enhancing satellite communication systems is through making improvements on the existing network engineering and design mechanisms. This is mainly because improved network engineering and design can contribute to lower costs of bandwidth use, which is critical for the efficiency of satellite communication. In most cases, network systems engineers usually have access to numerous variables to optimize the satcom link such as terminal specifications, satellite parameters, and intonation and coding mechanisms. When these network engineers manage these parameters effectively, the suitable network engineering and design can result in lower costs of bandwidth usage while facilitating increased optimal usage as well as enabling users to do more with less (Hunsicker p, 3). The need to improve network engineering and design in order to enhance satellite communication is also based on the fact that most satellite networks normally use Internet Protocol (IP) as mechanisms for data transportation.

Use of TCP/IP Technology:

According to the findings of many satellite designers, Internet protocol is the future of enhanced satellite communications that range from Earth observation to several military applications. Similar to the manner with which Internet technology has transformed workplace communications, satellite designers argue that the technology will have similar impacts on satellite communications in both the commercial and military fields. Through the use of TCP/IP technology for these systems, satellite communications will facilitate the ability for people to have office-like connectivity even in the remote parts on the globe. TCP/IP basically refers to Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol that focuses on the process of how the Internet formats and transmits data.

The Transmission Control Protocol Technology has the potential of revolutionizing satellite communications because it manages how data bytes are transmitted and ensure that there is delivery of correct information. On the other hand, the Internet Protocol acts as the electronic post office through ensuring that messages or information are delivered to the appropriate addresses. Some of the Internet protocols that are currently in use are the TCP/IP and the UDP/IP i.e. User Datagram Protocol/IP.

The need for the use of TCP/IP technology to enhance satellite communications is based on the inability of the existing satellite routing technology to meet the increasing demands by data users for more information on a daily basis. TCP/IP technology can be regarded as the most suitable mechanisms for enhancing communications via satellites because of their numerous benefits (McHale par, 5).

As compared to the UDP/IP that focuses more on speed than accuracy, the TCI/IP technology prioritizes accuracy over speed. Consequently, the technology normally requires the receiver to verify the receipt of data or information before the transmission or delivery of more information. In cases where there are transmission errors, the technology automatically delivers the appropriate data. This is unlike the UDP/IP technology where there is no feedback mechanism from the receiver to the source resulting in the transmission of data in error. Therefore, TCP/IP technology is a more reliable mechanism that the UDP/IP for enhancing satellite communications.

Higher Elevation Links:

The final means that can be used to improve satellite communication is through exploiting the link i.e. The use of higher elevation links. Many small satellites operations normally capitalize on the length of single communication transmissions with ground stations. However, while the operations maximize on these transmissions, they fail to take advantage of the entire transferred data in most cases. Achievable data rates are restricted by the advantage of capitalizing the length of satellite communication that helps in operational and harmonization activity. Most radio systems must be tuned to communicate at low elevation rates because of the fact that many low-cost satellite radios have one fixed data rate.

Nonetheless, greater amounts of data are usually generated on orbit as numerous small satellites are involved in science missions. In most cases, the science missions require…

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