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Ku Band versus C Band
Satellite Service

"The Pros and Cons of Both Frequencies"



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Is the C band satellite frequency more dependable than the ku band?

How about service speed, is one service faster than the other?

This discussion of ku-band and C-band satellite frequencies will identify the strengths and weaknesses of these two VSAT services.

Here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of ku-band and
C-band satellite services to help you understand their differences and capabilities.

Ku-band

The Ku frequency is designated solely for communications use via satellite. That means no competition or signal interference from other communications systems.

Typically, the Ku band operates at a higher frequency (11.7 - 12.2Ghz) for downlinks and (14.0 - 14.5Ghz) for uplinks. This higher frequency produces a signal with a shorter wavelength that's more powerful and focused.

With greater power and a more focused signal, a smaller satellite dish can be used to receive service. Usually all that's needed is a 1.2 or 1.8 meter dish for most locations. That's about 4 or 6 feet in diameter, depending upon the service location in relation to the satellite delivering the signal.

Consequently, the ku-band is excellent in delivering spot beam coverage from the satellite. The downside is the service coverage area is not as broad as C-band. Additionally, the higher frequency spectrum of Ku band operation makes this service more likely to be affected (usually from atmospheric conditions) by signal degradation than C-band satellite service.

Ku-band satellite equipment costs about half as much as C-band equipment. Also, because Ku service utilizes more powerful transponders on the satellite for operation, bandwidth capacity is more expensive which means that ku band service packages generally cost more.


C-band

C-band satellite dish
C-band satellite dish

C-band, on the otherhand, operates at a much lower frequency (3.7 - 4.2 Ghz) for downlinks and (5.9 - 6.4Ghz) for uplinks offering a wider coverage area.

One disadvantage of C-band satellite service is that it shares the same frequency as terrestrial microwave
radio systems. As a result, some VSAT locations may be restricted so as not to interfere with these radio systems (i.e.- mobile phones).


The C-band frequency employs a larger satellite dish. For most locations, usually 2.4 meters (about 8 feet in diameter), is sufficient to receive service. But ...for some locations around the world, antennas as large as 3 to 3.7 meters (about 10 to 12 feet in diameter) may be required to receive C-band satellite service.

Two factors are considered in this determination, geographic location in relation to the servicing satellite and local atmospheric weather conditions. As a rule of thumb, locations subject to heavy rains or snowfall usually require larger dish antennas.

The biggest advantage of a larger dish is that it offers minimal interference from severe weather conditions resulting in consistent, reliable service for practically any location. The downside - how do you make a satellite dish this large look inconspicuous? So, ...


Which frequency band is better?

It should be noted that, in my opinion, one service is not necessarily better than the other. Actually, both frequency bands deliver a high quality satellite signal that will adequately satisfy any communications needs.

If you have a choice, it should be a decision of what frequency band will be most appropriate for your service location and needs. Essentially, each frequency excels in delivering optimum operations for different service situations. For service in the Middle East, the ku band is very dependable and efficient.

It's more appealing, especially for military personnel deployed throughout the Middle East.


This is because the ku satellite system is less expensive, and the smaller dish size makes it less conspicuous and easier to transport if your deployment location changes.


Summary

Generally speaking, C-band satellite service is better suited for subscribers with large bandwidth requirements. This is because it easily supports Enterprise level connectivity featuring dedicated CIR bandwidth with an SLA and guaranteed uptime included. Also, C-band is very dependable and less susceptible to weather related service outages.

Conversely, Ku band operates with a smaller satellite dish antenna and less expensive equipment which makes it more attractive for small networks seeking shared bandwidth service solutions.

Rest assured that both of these bandwidth frequencies deliver the same speed capability, service efficiency, and they can support any advanced communications service that may be required.

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