You are on page 1of 5

www.broadcastka.

com

Ka-BAND MYTHS & FACTS

What are the Ka-band frequencies?
The formal spectrum allocation for Ka-band is from 26.5 - 40Ghz, however, use
is also made of part of K-band, from 18-21Ghz. Within this wide frequency
band there are a number of sub-bands which are allocated to the fixed satellite
sector on a priority basis.
What we are interested in is the usable communications bands within the
extensive 26.5-50Ghz for the uplink services with a similar capacity available in
the 18-21Ghz range for the downlink services, which is a very wide range of
frequencies when you compare it to the allocated 500Mhz for both the C-band
and Ku-bands.

Geostationary Orbit
What is the geostationary orbit?
The geostationary orbit is a unique circular orbit with a radius of 42,162km.
This geostationary orbit is important because it means every satellite in orbit has
an orbital period of 24 hours so from the earth's surface the orbiting satellites
appear stationary.
The geostationary communications satellites are allocated specific orbital
locations or slots which you will find are typically 1.5 or 2 degrees apart
because if they were any closer they would be susceptible to adjacent satellite
interference from the neighbouring satellites.
The original C-band satellites had wide downlink beams which gave global or
hemispherical coverage, so it was almost the case of having one satellite per
www.broadcastka.com

slot, and as we said before, the satellites need a 2 degree spacing meaning up to
180 satellites.
The original C-band satellites also employ frequency reuse which means the
satellite can utilise up to the full 500Mhz twice giving a total capacity of 1Ghz
in a beam.
Importantly these same orbital slots can accomodate the Ku-band satellites
because the Ku-band and Cu-band don't overlap in frequency. Obviously with a
limited number of slots available it means there is a complex allocation,
management and co-ordination of frequency bands involving governments,
industry bodies and of course satellite operators.
Sources: Ka-Band White Paper

Ka-band Dispelling The Myths

There are a lot of myths still floating around in terms of Ka-band satellite
technology. What people can’t deny is that Ka-band is an important
development in terms of the need for improved satellite capababilities within
the communications industry.
It’s a fact. Ka-band has a proven track record when it comes to increased
capacity, better flexibilty and a reduction in costs to the end user. Ka-band
operates in the 26.5GHz to 40GHz frequency range, which is far higher than the
previously popular C and Ku-bands.
This frequency allows access to previously unused spectrum for
communications and surpasses the limitations imposed by the fixed
www.broadcastka.com

performance inherent in teh geostatinary orbit. What’s more, Ka-band satellites
and be positioned almost anywhere, including next to existing Ku and C-band
systems.
Faster Communications
The higher frequencies offered by Ka-band satellite systems enable high speed
communications which in some areas can be as fast as established fixed
broadband speeds.
These bit rates can go up to 20 Mb/s. Importantly, these higher frequencies
mean that the receiving dish size can be considerably smaller which represents
huge savings and a reduction in visual pollution levels.
Issue of Rain Fade
The main disadvantage of Ka-band satellite technology is the issue of rain fade.
Essentially, as water soaks up higher levels of electromagnetic radiation at Ka-
band’s higher frequencies, when it rains Ka-band transmissions can sometimes
result in delays.
This has been the main issue that has caused hesitation by the commercial
communications industry.
However, large US networks such as DirecTV and Dish Network have using
Ka-band satellite technology for a number of years already, belying the rain
fade issue in terms of commercial performance.
Many Ka-band operators have addressed the issue of rain fade through the use
of advanced Forward Error Correction (FEC) technology along other packet
loss correction techniques. As a result, in most cases, the packet loss rate during
wet and stormy weather is now no worse using a Ka-band satellite than the
previously popular Ku-band satellites.
Military Appeal
Whilst the commercial telecommunications sector now embraces Ka-band
technolgy, it’s taken a little longer for military organisations to follow suite,
even though their requirements are not so different. As there is a continuously
growing demand for satellite capacity by both sectors, then they must both
recognise the potential offered by Ka-band’s higher frequencies and improved
flexibility.
www.broadcastka.com

As Ku and C-band spectrum capabilities are reaching saturation, then the
commercial and military sectors need to move with the times. As the number of
commercial and military organisation are increasingly dependent on satellite
technologies, so developers of Ka-band have an opportunity to take over the
market.
For military organisations, reliable and fast satellite transmissions are crucial for
communications with regard to missions and campaigns. Most importantly, they
need to ensure that connectivity is maintained constantly in regions of conflict
where terrestrial technologies can be affected by attack.
Cost Effective Solutions
As in all sectors, the military is also subject to budget cuts and cost saving
initiatives. However, these cost savings should not impact on important
communications connectivity in key zones such asAfghanistan.
This is why the Ka-band satellite network is an ideal solution offering
flexibility, affordablity combined with high and reliable frequency levels.


Ka-band Facts

Ka-Band is an expanding technology that is continuing to develop to meet
demand. Here as some interesting facts about Ka-band:
• Nearly 40 satellites with Ka-band capability
• Now over 200 Ka-band transponders
• Available all over the world
www.broadcastka.com

• Plenty of capacity with frequency re-use across spotbeams
• Lease costs much lower for Ka-band compared to Ku and C band
• Broadcasters and satellite news gathering (SNG's) operators have access
to cost effective bandwidth
Ka-Band Quality of Signal
• Rain fade is the biggest reduction of quality of signal for the Ka-band
• (dB) High fade depth is the result of rain fade and has a much higher
impact on the Ka-band compared to the Ku and C bands
• (dB/sec) High fade rate of the signal fluctuation is typically 0.1 - 1.0
dB/sec (up to 2.5 dB/sec)
• (GHz) Frequency dependency - the impact on the Ka-band is 3 times
higher at 20GHz compared to 11GHz
• There are technologies available to reduce the impact of rain fade such as
Uplink Power Control and ACM controlled adaptive video
ACM Controlled Adaptive Video
• Store and forward - preserve high quality video
• Local recording of high quality video
• Workflow for file transmissions of high quality video clip for n+1 news
break
ACM Controlled Adaptive Video Technology
• ACM control loop and ACM satellite demodulator requirements:
• Accurate link margin measurement
• Active margin prediction (fade speed) & management
• Adaptive to rain fade (different frequencies)
• Works with DVB-S2 and VSAT
• Video and encoder need to support variable rate MPEG TS -e.g. using
SMPTE 2022-4 variable bitrate MPEG TS on IP
• Store and forward - high quality file store on modulator and/or MPEG
encoder
Conclusions
• Video is the best manner to fill Ka band capacity at lower operational
costs
• ACM Controlled Adaptive Video technology for live news gathering is
mature enough to start building a solution set
Resource: Ka-Band For News ACM Controlled Adaptive Video