KU-BAND: The Latest Catch Phrase

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

There has been a lot of excitement in the VSAT industry, with the DoT giving

a green signal to the VSAT service providers for offering Ku-band services in

India. However, there still exists confusion regarding the benefits that the

industry can leverage by adopting this technology.


Why Ku-band?

India is equally divided between the temperate and tropical

zones, which results in a fair amount of rainfall and multiple weather changes,

having a considerable bearing on high frequency communication. This combined

with the low availability of power on the Indian satellites, prevented the use

of higher frequency bands, such as Ku-band. Hence, to start with, we had to

depend on the more rugged communication band–extended C-band, for almost a

decade of VSAT communication in India.

Advantages of Ku-band over Extended C

  • High transmission rate: Even though TRAI has

    recommended higher transmission rate (up to 512 Kbps) for both extended

    C-band and Ku-band, shortage in extended C-band capacity will see such high

    speeds being achieved only on Ku-band. Ku-band will open up new markets in

    high data transmission that can support more users per VSAT and new

    applications like video conferencing, video up-linking, etc.

  • More satellite bandwidth availability: Extended

    C-band is presently being used only by the INSAT series of satellite, and

    hence, there is no fall back arrangement in case of catastrophic failure of

    INSAT satellites. On the other hand, Ku-band is a standard band and is being

    used extensively, worldwide, and many international satellites operating on

    this band are having their beams over the Indian sub continent. Thus, there

    is enough backup available in Ku-band. Also, the Department of Space will

    lease additional capacity in foreign satellites, if needed. Therefore, the

    demand for bandwidth growth can be easily met if Ku-band is used.

  • Smaller antenna size: As per the DoT regulation,

    the minimum antenna size in a remote area for a TDMA-based network is 1.2

    meter and 2.4 meter for DAMA network. Since the antenna size is smaller in

    Ku-band as compared to the extended C-band, it results in cost saving for

    the end customer.

  • No interference: C-band is commonly shared between

    terrestrial networks and satellite stations. However, 300 MHz is available

    for extended C-band, but it is not completely coordinated by the DoT, and

    therefore is not completely available for VSAT services. Whereas Ku-band

    satellite frequencies are exclusive and are not used by terrestrial systems.

    Hence, frequency coordination issues are not faced in Ku-band VSATs. The

    entire 500 MHz on Ku-band is cleared for VSAT services.

  • Low cost equipment due to economies-of-scale: Most

    VSAT manufacturers build VSAT systems for Ku-band because these systems have

    a worldwide demand. Large-scale production of equipment and volumes of

    deployment, drive the price points low. The smaller antenna, further,

    reduces the price. Overall, it makes the customers’ business size more

    competitive by minimizing transaction costs without compromising on high

    quality and reliability.

  • Therefore, with Ku-band coming in, more and more high-bandwidth

    applications would be possible on VSATs, thereby, sustaining the growth of

    the VSAT industry. Moreover, Ku-band being internationally tried and tested

    by all the developed countries, and being backed by scores of foreign

    satellite beam footage over India, bandwidth constraints of extended C-band

    would be a thing of past.

Ku-band however, offers much more advantages than the

extended C-band, making this change a dynamic step towards technological

progress. Ku-band technology is being used extensively for satellite

connectivity, worldwide. With countries like the US, Japan and almost the entire

Europe leveraging this technology, Ku-band has become the international de facto

standard for satellite communications. In India, with the successful launch of

INSAT 3B on 22 March 2000, the bandwidth availability for the corporates has

increased tremendously. In such a scenario, Ku-band benefits for the customer

would include–ease of transponder availability, scope for high-bandwidth

applications (breaking the 64 Kbps barrier), smaller antenna and the same base

band, which is presently used in the extended C-band.

IV Rajesh, general manager, satellite services, HCL Comnet