The future of satellite communications

Artist's conception of a WGS satellite in orbit 

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The future of satellite communications looks promising. Satellites will become the backbone of telecommunications. Doing away cable, optic fibers, and other modes of data-line infrastructure, the future seems headed for satellite based communications.

As mobile phones need to get faster and smarter, it needs able supporting infrastructure. Existing infrastructure may be augmented to support this need. But it is limited. With satellite communications, opportunities for speed and efficiency are unlimited.

Satellites have been around for long, since the 1960s. The use of satellites then was not considered. High costs were detrimental for the development of satellite technology. Satellites were huge, heavy, and every expensive to put into orbit.

But things have changed. Now cost is overseen by the benefits satellites offer to communication providers. Satellites are able to provide faster radio signal processing. The digital revolution has created the need for satellites. Satellite television for example, is an example of how satellites are used to stream television channels.

Mobile telephony has increased in adoption. Now everyone has a mobile. Even a beggar does. With a surge in demand for communications, there is also pressure on service providers to provide infrastructure to handle this demand. Which means networks have to be expanded.

Telecommunications providers do not want to lose out on markets. Their lack of physical presence, in terms of communications infrastructure in these regions, means they have lost out on a jackpot. Over here, satellite-based communication is a saving grace.

Satellite-based services will only increase in the coming decades. In tune with the change, devices will change. We  may have different looking television sets, and mobile phones.

How Satellite Internet Works

Satellite Internet is basically using satellite technology in order to get the Internet. With satellite there are three parts, first is the satellite itself, then there are two modems and coaxial cables, which runs to the modem from your satellite. The hub is where the Internet signal will begin. This signal then gets sent to the satellite dish that’s currently orbiting the Earth from you dish. Your coaxial cables will be connected into your dish, which is used to run your Internet signal to your router. From there it goes to the computer.

Most of the time Internet companies using satellite will use IP multitasking technology. The problem many people had with dial-up was that it couldn’t handle a ton of bandwidth all at once. With multitasking technology the satellite can actually have 5,000 users at the same time on one satellite. Another plus is that it will compress information files, which will let even more data be sent at the same time.

To have satellite Internet all that’s needed is the correct equipment. Another important requirement is having perfect view of the southern sky. Having a clear line between both the dish and the orbiting satellite is important because that strong, clear shot will give you the best Internet connection since you’re relying on that signal in order to connect to the Internet.

There are some benefits of using satellite Internet. It’s great for active people who are always on the move or in areas where cable Internet isn’t available just yet. Satellite Internet is also will also give you 10 times more speed than dial-up.

Even though satellite is faster than dial-up, it’s still slower than cable. It’s more limited to the amount of traffic that the dish can handle at once, causing the Internet to be slow during the time when the Internet is the busiest.

It’s always best to do some research before deciding if satellite Internet is right for you.

Thales Alenia Space Sits Out of Satellite Contest

Thales Alenia Space : satellite meteo
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In the business world, it’s usually a smart idea to take advantage of a good thing while it lasts. That’s one reason why many are surprised that Thales Alenia Space will not be entering the bidding war for the manufacturing of the Turksat 4A and 4B, which are the latest telecommunications satellites in development with Turkey’s Turksat. Most of the previous spacecraft developed by Turksat went on to manufacturing at Thales Alenia Space.

With the most commonly used manufacturer out of the picture, other companies are jumping at the chance to win the bid, and Turksat has reported it has received the best-and-final offers from all bidders hoping to get in on the deal. Companies that have turned in bids include Japan-based Mitsubishi Electric Corp, the United States’ Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and the United States’ Orbital Science.

As of the end of October 2010, Turksat was already over due to announce the winner of the bid, which could push its plans to have the new satellite telecommunication devices in place by 2012. The companies vying for the bid will have to wait and see whether the delay affects Turksat’s timetable.

Orbital Sciences is a company based in Dulles, VA. It has worked with Thales Alenia Space in the past, but the manufacturing project would be the first time the company has won on its own, should Turksat pick them. Orbital will also be competing head-on with Astrium, which has partnered with the Indian Space Research Organization, for small telecommunications satellites. Astrium’s product hasn’t raised much interest in the market yet.

If Lockheed Martin secures the project, it would be one step toward the company’s plan to increase its profile in the commercial satellite market. The company has not announced contingency plans connected to this yet, but may should they fail to get the project.

In a bidding war with no answer, the only thing certain is that it won’t be Thales Alenia Space.

Satellite Radio and Other Vehicle Options can Lead to Distracted Driving

88 toyota van refrigerator and satellite radio...

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If you own a vehicle that has satellite radio, a navigation system, a DVD player, or other kinds of things, it’s possible that they could distract you. Of course, a standard radio, or even a conversation with a passenger could distract you, too. The more things you have in your car, though, the more likely you are to be distracted by one or more of them. You shouldn’t have to drive all alone in silence, but it’s important that you’re careful. Satellite and networking capabilities have increased so much today that it’s not surprising that people have more distractions then they used to. It’s up to them to manage those distractions the right way.

To avoid distracted driving and other problems that come up when people overuse technology, be aware of your surroundings. Even if you’re not driving, too much technology can distract you from your duties at work or at home. That can lead to problems with your boss, your kids, and your spouse. That doesn’t mean that satellite and network communications aren’t good or that they should be avoided. They provide a lot of joy and they’re also helpful to many businesses and households in a multitude of ways. The key is to use them wisely.

Set a time limit for things like Internet use or for how often you text or do other technology-related things. Do the same for other people in your household. That way you aren’t so distracted, and you can also appreciate and enjoy the technology more when you do use it. You won’t get overwhelmed with it or feel like it’s controlling your life, and you can use it the way it was intended – as something that can help you and bring you enjoyment.

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Deluxe Entertainment Group to Incorporate Satellite Plans

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As a person with experience in satellites, Adrian McCarten will be heading the helm for Deluxe Australia as it works to incorporate a satellite plan. McCarten will work as the Digital Content Distribution Executive for Deluxe Australia, which is a part of the Deluxe Entertainment Service Group, Inc. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc. owns the group, which provides services for the entertainment industry and technologies to a variety of international clients. Deluxe Group works with major Hollywood Studios and offers motion picture film processing, DVD compression, EFILM digital intermediates, digital asset management, printing and distribution, digital cinema services, and other aspects to help the entertainment industry do its job.

McCarten will be leading a team to add satellite plans to the company’s portfolio. The goal is to prepare for theaters in Australia and Asia that will be using digitally equipped theaters and satellite services. The division McCarten joins already offers a variety of services, including mastering, reversioning, replication, hard-drive distribution, and Digital Cinema Packaging (DCP). The management aspects will work with Hollywood studio customers in the Asia Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand. McCarten will maintain operations from Sydney, Australia.

Under the current plan for the satellites, Deluxe will use the system to send special programs to the theaters equipped with digital receivers and equipment. These programs can include live events, special programs, traditional movies, 3D feature films, or other content delivered for entertainment purposes.

This new initiative is part of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group’s plan to build a satellite network for theaters in several countries, including Canada and the U.S. The company also entered an agreement with Echostar Corporation to help accomplish this goal. Deluxe London has a similar agreement with Argiva to cover the European market.

The global reach for this project is another reason why Deluxe went with McCarten to lead the project—he has a global network specific to satellites that the company hopes to utilize.

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Understanding the Disadvantages of Satellite Internet

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Satellite internet is a great option for those that are unable to get internet through other methods. Usually, these are people that live out in the country where internet providers are unable to go. However, before you decide to get satellite internet, it is important that you understand the disadvantages in advance to save yourself a lot of frustration later on.

Price: First, the price of satellite internet can be considerably more than what other internet providers offer. This is because you have to pay for special equipment to be installed. You are also paying for the actual internet service, which is a special convenience since no other internet provider is able to service you.

Time Delay: While satellite internet is much better than dial-up internet service, there is still a bit of a time delay with it. This is natural because of the distance the satellite waves have to travel in order to bring you the information you’re searching for. Generally, the delay is only a few seconds, which isn’t much at all. However, for those that enjoy playing online games, this can be huge. So, be sure you understand the time delay issue if you expect to play an internet game that requires high-speed internet service.

Interference: While any internet service can experience temporary interference, satellite internet is just a little more susceptible to it. This is because it’s a satellite and the satellite has to send waves of information thousands of miles to the satellite home base and back before the website is viewable on your computer screen. So, understand that when you are experiencing bad weather it is quite possible your internet service may be unavailable.

Fair Access Policy: Satellite internet service is subject to the Fair Access Policy, which means that you are limited to the amount of internet bandwidth you can use a day. This is set up to give each satellite internet user the same amount of time online. Therefore, the satellite company can restrict your internet usage. Just be sure you read and understand the Fair Access Policy before subscribing.

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Tips for Satellite Self-Installation

The receive/transmit "iLNB" used or ...
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So, you’ve decided that you want to try to install your satellite internet yourself. This is an admirable task, and certainly will be a challenge for you, unless you’re a trained and licensed technician. Whether you were looking for an interesting hardware project to spend your day on, or simply wanted to save some money on installation, there are a few tips that you can follow in order to make your life easier:

Check your coordinates. Okay, now check them again. Done? Okay, one more time.

Your internet speed is going to rely completely on the coordinates that you’re using, and how accurately you configure them. The coordinates indicate an appropriate line of sight between the receiver and the orbiting satellite itself. A poor coordinate configuration will lead to little or no internet connectivity. If you don’t have coordinates, then you will want to contact your internet service provider in order to find them. Save this information in case you need to adjust it later.

Don’t get set on one installation location.

Sometimes trying to install the satellite receiver in the first place that seems convenient is a less than good idea. Sometimes it’s like trying to fit a square block through a triangle hole. Check out multiple potential areas for installation within your immediate location in order to find the right one for you. Be aware of natural features that may get in the way of connection, including how easily animals could topple the receiver itself.

Prepare your tools beforehand.

This isn’t a project for the handy person who only have a hammer in their belt pouch. You’re going to need drill bits of different sizes, a screw driver, and pliers at the ready.

Get educated on installation.

If your internet provider didn’t send you a pamphlet or installation guide, track one down. Once you have a guide, be sure to read it. Incorrectly connecting plugs, cables, or antenna will do more than make the installation more difficult. It can completely destroy your costly receiver equipment.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Satellite Internet

Bigpond Satellite internet dish.

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People are becoming more and more aware of Satellite internet. There are many reasons for this. Large companies, such as Hughes Net, have launched aggressive advertising campaigns on the radio and television. Major satellite web providers have also been able to reduce their prices significantly while simultaneously increasing their speed. And many people no longer use programs like Ares Galaxy from open source provider Ares to share music files.  All of this has meant that satellite is more visible and more appealing. Still, satellite internet isn’t the best option for everyone. Here are the major advantages and disadvantages of satellite internet connection:

On the Plus Side

Satellite internet is fast, with download and upload speeds up to five times faster than dial-up, and only marginally slower than many standard DSL and Cable connections.

Unlike dial-up, satellite doesn’t disrupt your phone service or require an extra phone line. In addition, unlike some cable internet, satellite won’t cause any potential problems with your cable connection.

Satellite internet isn’t impacted by wiring problems, so it is often more reliable than other internet sources.

Satellite is available almost everywhere. Even recluses hiding in a cabin in the Wyoming wilderness will be able to get a solid satellite connection – something that is absolutely not possible to do with DSL or Cable.

On the Down Side

While the prices of Satellite internet are currently comparable to DSL and Cable internet, that still makes it more expensive than dial-up.

Satellite internet has higher setup fees than other forms of internet, since you need to purchase the appropriate hardware and have it installed by a certified technician.

There is a small amount of latency with the connection. Latency, the delay between taking an action and getting a result, will not be a problem for most. However, for people using the internet for gaming, voice chats, or video conferences, the latency will cause a very real disruption.

FAP, or the “fair access policy,” creates some limitations for heavy internet users. This policy, implemented by most satellite companies, makes sure that all users have equal access to the satellite’s data transmission power, and can create significant slow-down to especially large downloads.

How Satellite Internet Works

Eutelsat's KA-SAT satellite artist view (launc...
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Satellite internet connections are more and more popular, largely thanks to new technologies that allow for faster connection speeds and lower prices for subscribers. The wireless internet provided by satellite companies is certainly faster than dial-up alternatives, and is far more readily available in rural areas than DSL or Cable internet. So, how exactly is satellite internet able to offer affordable and speedy internet access to such a broad geographic area?

One of the reasons that the price and speed for satellite net connections has improved is the approach known as geostationary connection. Geostationary connection gets your home’s satellite receiver in touch with a satellite that is always in the same direction. Obviously, the satellite is constantly revolving around the world, so it’s not in the same “position.” However, it is revolving on a trajectory that allows it to be in the same position relative to your receiver. This means fewer problems maintaining a stable connection, lower installation costs, and greater overall performance consistency.

In order to cover all these different areas, different satellites are launched. An independent satellite is needed for each area the size of the state of Wyoming, give or take. These satellites themselves function at an incredibly high “rate of transfer,” or in more common terms, speed. Their frequency is 18 ghz or higher – an earth shattering speed so impressive that it would overload your computer. So the transmission of data goes between the satellite and the receiver, and the receiver’s hardware tones down the data before it gets to your computer, or before your information is transmitted up to the satellite, minimizing the amount of data that actually needs to be displayed or sent. This transfer and conversion is what causes the latency often associated with satellite net connect ions.

This conversion also works to minimize the total data that can be transfered. This works to the advantage of all subscribers in the area, since all of the people using the same satellite will take up a portion of that satellite’s resources.

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