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Ka-Band For Enterprise + Government Customers
by Bob Gough, Founder, Carrick Communications

With a rapidly growing global market for satellite communications and an ever increasing demand for bandwidth, Ka-band is coming of age. Ka-band is being hailed as the next step for satellite communications as a Ka-band satellite can support significantly greater volumes of traffic than its C- or Ku-band counterparts.

CarrickFig1 The availability of small, affordable user terminals is a driver. New Ka-band satellites such as NewSat’s Jabiru-1 employ novel designs to provide the advantages of multi-spotbeams, yet with Ku-band-like coverage.

Ka-band is often identified with consumer broadband services. However, many industries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia are now becoming more and more interested in the benefits of Ka-band that include higher bandwidths and throughput capacity, smaller end-user antennas, and increased mobility. For this reason, demand for Ka-band satellite capacity is estimated to grow exponentially over the next decade. Already, new satellites— such as NewSat’s Jabiru-1—employ innovative designs delivering “new” capacity in order to meet this ever-increasing demand.

The satellite industry sees Ka-band as the next frequency band for delivering communications solutions, as the availability of capacity at C- and Ku-band is being outstripped by demand. In light of the growing need for large amounts of high-throughput capacity to support the next generation of communication applications, Ka-band unlocks a whole world of additional bandwidth where C-band and Ku-band alone cannot accomplish. Communication applications including trunking and cellular backhaul services, broadband access, enterprise networks and government communications will demand more Ka-band capacity, opening up new satellite possibilities.

CarrickFig2 Enterprise, defence and military organizations have also expressed the need to upgrade the capability and capacity of their satellite communications.

As an example, several years ago the U.S. Department of Defense initiated the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system, a network-centric, Ka-band system consisting of up to nine geostationary satellites, four of which are already in orbit. To illustrate the superior capacity of Ka-band: Just a single WGS satellite has as much capacity as the entire Defence Satellite Communications System (DSCS) constellation which preceded it.

In addition, prices for Ka-band fixed user terminals as well as mobile terminals for land, maritime and airborne use are decreasing. This is being driven by the increasing use of Ka-band for commercial and government communications. This in turn has given rise to a number of different Ka-band VSAT and other terminal suppliers in the market, contributing to a healthy and competitive supply situation around the globe.

Undoubtedly, Ka-band satellite capacity is an ideal solution for many industries, with its smaller end-user antennas, cost-effective network deployments, increased mobility and higher capacity, bandwidths and speeds.

CarrickFig3 As the communications demands of the modern world continue to impinge on older technologies which, at this pace will struggle to keep up, next generation Ka-band satellites like NewSat’s Jabiru fleet offer a viable solution by providing the advantages of network architectures currently employed at Ku-band, but with all the benefits of Ka-band.

Scan the QR code below to download NewSat’s Ka-band white paper, or go to newsat.com/ka-bandwhitepaper

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Ka-band the skyscraper

As frequency bands fill up, the allocation of new services and coverage areas from each orbital slot becomes increasingly difficult, and this is the case with C-band and Ku-band today given the congestion and spectrum scarcity that exists. An analogy can be made with a densely built-up city (the geostationary orbit) comprising many single and two story buildings (C-band), plus a lot of multi-storey buildings (Ku-band) on the same sites. Obtaining "planning permission" for similar new buildings becomes difficult, if not impossible. The advent of Ka-band can be viewed as a new generation of cost-effective skyscrapers which can be built right on top of the existing city, and with minimal planning restrictions. Ka-band therefore opens the door for a dramatic increase in the population (capacity) of the city.