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Chapter: Analog and Digital Communication

Satellite Communication

GEO satellites are synchronous with respect to earth. Looking from a fixed point from Earth, these satellites appear to be stationary.




Geostationary or geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO)


GEO satellites are synchronous with respect to earth. Looking from a fixed point from Earth, these satellites appear to be stationary. These satellites are placed in the space in such a way that only three satellites are sufficient to provide connection throughout the surface of the Earth (that is; their footprint is covering almost 1/3rd of the Earth). The orbit of these satellites is circular.


There are three conditions which lead to geostationary satellites. Lifetime expectancy of these satellites is 15 years.



1) The satellite should be placed 37,786 kms (approximated to 36,000 kms) above the surface of the earth.


2) These satellites must travel in the rotational speed of earth, and in the direction of motion of earth, that is eastward.


3) The inclination of satellite with respect to earth must be 00.


Geostationary satellite in practical is termed as geosynchronous as there are  multiple factors which make these satellites shift from the ideal geostationary condition.


1) Gravitational pull of sun and moon makes these satellites deviate from their orbit. Over the period of time, they go through a drag. (Earth‟s gravitational force has no effect on these satellites due to their distance from the surface of the Earth.)


2) These satellites experience the centrifugal force due to the rotation of Earth, making them deviate from their orbit.


3) The non-circular shape of the earth leads to continuous adjustment of speed of satellite from the earth station.


These satellites are used for TV and radio broadcast, weather forecast and also, these satellites are operating as backbones for the telephone networks.



Disadvantages of GEO:


Northern or southern regions of the Earth (poles) have more problems receiving these satellites due to the low elevation above a latitude of 60°, i.e., larger antennas are needed in this case. Shading of the signals is seen in cities due to high buildings and the low elevation further away from the equator limit transmission quality.


The transmit power needed is relatively high which causes problems for battery powered devices. These satellites cannot be used for small mobile phones. The biggest problem for voice and also data communication is the high latency as without having any handovers, the signal has to at least travel 72,000 kms.


Due to the large footprint, either frequencies cannot be reused or the GEO satellite needs special antennas focusing on a smaller footprint. Transferring a GEO into orbit is very expensive.


Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites:


These satellites are placed 500-1500 kms above the surface of the earth. As LEOs circulate on a lower orbit, hence they exhibit a much shorter period that is 95 to 120 minutes. LEO systems try to ensure a high elevation for every spot on earth to provide a high quality communication link. Each LEO satellite will only be visible from the earth for around ten minutes.


Using advanced compression schemes, transmission rates of about 2,400 bit/s can be enough for voice communication. LEOs even provide this bandwidth for mobile terminals with Omni-directional antennas using low transmit power in the range of 1W. The delay for packets delivered via a LEO is relatively low (approx 10 ms).


The delay is comparable to long-distance wired connections (about 5–10 ms). Smaller footprints of LEOs allow for better frequency reuse, similar to the concepts used for cellular networks. LEOs can provide a much higher elevation in Polar Regions and so better global coverage.


These satellites are mainly used in remote sensing an providing mobile communication services (due to lower latency).





The biggest problem of the LEO concept is the need for many satellites if global coverage is to be reached. Several concepts involve 50–200 or even more satellites in orbit.



The short time of visibility with a high elevation requires additional mechanisms for connection handover between different satellites.



The high number of satellites combined with the fast movements resulting in a high complexity of the whole satellite system.



One general problem of LEOs is the short lifetime of about five to eight years due to atmospheric drag and radiation from the inner Van Allen belt1. Assuming 48 satellites and a lifetime of eight years, a new satellite would be needed every two months.

The low latency via a single LEO is only half of the story. Other factors are the need for routing of data packets from satellite to if a user wants to communicate around the world.



Due to the large footprint, a GEO typically does not need this type of routing, as senders and receivers are most likely in the same footprint.



Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites:




MEOs can be positioned somewhere between LEOs and GEOs, both in terms of their orbit and due to their advantages and disadvantages.



Using orbits around 10,000 km, the system only requires a dozen satellites which is more than a GEO system, but much less than a LEO system. These satellites move more slowly relative to the earth‟s rotation allowing a simpler system design (satellite periods are about six hours).

Depending on the inclination, a MEO can cover larger populations, so requiring fewer handovers.



Links in satellite communication


1.  Uplink , 2. Downlink & 3. Crosslink.






Again, due to the larger distance to the earth, delay increases to about 70 –80 ms. the satellites need higher transmit power and special antennas for smaller footprints



The three orbits of satellite. Low Earth orbit : Medium Earth orbit  &  Geosynchronous Earth orbit


Visitor location register (VLR)—The VLR is a database that contains temporary information about subscribers that is needed bythe MSC in order to service visiting subscribers. The VLR is always integrated with the MSC. When a mobile station roams into a new MSC area, the VLR connected to that MSC will request data about the mobile station from the HLR. Later, if the mobile station makes a call, the VLR will have the information needed for call setup without having to interrogate the HLR each time.



Mobile services switching center (MSC)—The MSC performs the telephony switching functions of the system. It controls calls to and from other telephone and data systems. It also performs such functions as toll ticketing, network interfacing, common channel signaling, and others.



Home location register (HLR)—The HLR is a database used for storage and management of subscriptions. The HLR is considered the most important database, as it stores permanent data about subscribers, including a subscriber's service profile, location information, and activity status. When an individual buys a subscription from one of the PCS operators, he or she is registered in the HLR of that operator.



Kepler’s laws   of   planetary   motion


1.  A satellite will orbit a primary body following an elliptical path


2.  For equal intervals of time a satellite will sweep out equal areas in orbital plane


3.  The square of the periodic time of orbit is proportional to the cube of the mean distance between the primary and the satellite.


The links in satellite communication?


i)    Uplink


ii) Downlink


iii)   Crosslink


15. Define apogee


The point in an orbit that is located farthest from earth.



The point in an orbit that is located closest to earth .




Satellites are specifically made for telecommunication purpose. They are used for mobile applications such as communication to ships, vehicles, planes, hand-held terminals and for TV and radio broadcasting They are responsible for providing these services to an assigned region (area) on the earth. The power and bandwidth of these satellites depend upon the preferred size of the footprint, complexity of the traffic control protocol schemes and the cost of ground stations.



A satellite works most efficiently when the transmissions are focused with a desired area. When the area is focused, then the emissions don‟t go outside that designated area and thus minimizing the interference to the other systems. This leads more efficient spectrum usage.



Satellite‘s ayantennaimportantrolepatternsandmustbedesigned pltobest cover the designated geographical area (which is generally irregular in shape). Satellites should be designed by keeping in mind its usability for short and long term effects throughout its life time.



The earth station should be in a position to control the satellite if it drifts from its orbit it is subjected to any kind of drag from the external forces.



Kepler’s laws:


Kepler’s first   law


A satellite will orbit a primary body following an elliptical path


Kepler’s second   law


For equal intervals of time a satellite will sweep out equal areas in orbital plane

Kepler’s third   law


The square of the periodic time of orbit is proportional to the cube of the mean distance between the primary and the satellite



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