THE KA-BAND ADVANTAGE

As homes, businesses governments and communities continue to rely on media-rich applications, the appetite for more and more bandwidth is ever increasing. Streaming video, VoIP calls and web browsing are increasingly becoming part of the standard home and business profile and considered a necessity by many.

With the benefits of greater capacity, throughput and new technology, Ka-band satellites have become widely viewed as the “wave of the future” for many satellite operators in order to answer the increasing demand for internet-based and data-driven applications. Avanti has been the European pioneer on the development of this with a fleet of 4 Ka-band satellites covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as multiple steerable beam options that can be moved to cover emerging markets across the globe.

Ka-band technology not only opens up the market to a whole new range of frequencies and is more cost-effective than other bands, but it also encompasses new technology, new transmission and higher bandwidth that provides higher quality, better performance and higher speed services. One of the biggest drivers of entities seeking additional bandwidth is the high-speed Internet customer seeking speeds required to stream movies and other entertainment and the myriad of data-rich applications in the entertainment marketplace.

Ka-band beams are much more focused, resulting in high powered spot beams lit over specific regions. Much higher throughput can be achieved using the same amount of bandwidth, driving down the cost of the spectrum and per MB price. Ka-band spot beams have a higher EIRP (Effective Isotropic Radiated Power) at beam centre compared with traditional Ku-band spot beams, allowing for higher data throughput and often have 10 times more capacity than Ku satellites.

Traditionally, C-band and Ku-band frequencies have been adopted for satellite communications and with so many corporations owning licenses to transmit on these frequencies, this part of the spectrum has become considerably saturated. As a result, remaining capacity has increased significantly in cost. Ka-band frequency opens up the market to a new whole range of frequencies, which can be exploited for satellite broadband services.

The smaller more focused Ka-band beams allow frequency reuse which means when a desired service area is covered by multiple spot beams, several beams can reuse the same frequency band, boosting the capacity of the satellite system.

The reflector gain of a signal is proportional to the square of the signal’s frequency. As a result, only small antenna dishes, usually 74cm, are required to receive and transmit at Ka-band frequencies because the Ka-band frequency range is higher than traditional C-band and Ku-band. Smaller dishes are not only much cheaper but also more mobile which suits applications such as cell on wheels for emergency deployments, temporary sites coverage such as large events, network extension and machine to machine.