Getting Started on satellite communications

Introducing satellite communication: what’s needed to get connected, what it can offer, and how to obtain the services you require.

Internet via Satellite for Beginners

Satellite communications are the very foundation of the ongoing digital revolution. Relaying internet data via satellite involves transmitting signals from an antenna to a satellite and from the satellite to an earth station and then on to the public internet. Downloading data is simply the reverse.

For ships, leveraging IP (Internet Protocol) connectivity for data-driven gain is already radically improving business and operational interactions, while the capacity to offer seamless and reliable on board internet access means that crew and passengers alike, can stay in touch with friends and family when hundreds of miles from shore.

  • How it works
    Internet via satellite

    How it works

    Securing internet via satellite in remote areas requires four different constallations: An antenna installed or deployed on a ship, vehicle or airplane, a satellite, a land eath station and the terrestrial network.

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Comparing Satellite Orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO)

There are three types of satellite orbit; Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and Geostationary (GEO). The latter is used by diverse types of satellite, from weather and surveillance, to telecommunications, including VSAT for maritime and land users.

New services based on LEO and MEO constellations, with potentially hundreds of small satellites orbiting the planet in cross-linked networks are currently in development, offering the advantage of lower latency than GEO while bringing significant new capacity for end-users.

Looking forward, these new services could bring more choice to end-users. Additionally, hybrid solutions combining services from satellites in different orbits will offer extreme redundancy, helping to provide an even more reliable platform for digitalisation.

  • What is LEO/MEO?
    Satellite orbits

    What is LEO/MEO?

    LEO and MEO satellites – Low Earth Orbit and Medium Earth Orbit respectively – both come under the mantle of non-geostationary-orbit (NGSO) satellites. LEO satellites orbit at an altitude below 2,000km/1,243 miles above mean sea level, while MEO satellites orbit in the region between LEO and GEO (geostationary) satellites – 2,000-35,800km/1,243-22,245 miles.

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  • What is GEO?
    Satellite orbits

    What is GEO?

    Geostationary (GEO) and high-earth satellites orbit at an altitude of approximately 35,800km/22,245 miles above mean sea level. Satellites in geosynchronous orbit take one sidereal day to complete a single orbit, in synchrony with the Earth’s rotation.

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Comparing Satellite Internet Bands

Maritime satellite internet services operate in L-band, C-band, Ku-band, Ka-band, S-band and X-band frequencies. Cobham SATCOM’s comprehensive, field-proven product portfolio includes an exhaustive range of terminals and antennas designed to address the requirements of all end users.

Satellite Internet Providers Overview

The sheer quantity and variety of satellite internet providers means that end-users are spoiled for choice when it comes to determining which services to go with. Service providers can offer different features, specialisms and pricing plans across the entire spectrum of satellite networks: this allows customers to remain flexible and prioritise accordingly in implementing the most relevant and competitively-priced plan.

Whether clients within the maritime industry are looking for regional or true global coverage, Cobham SATCOM’s product portfolio contains all the single-band and multi-band solutions needed to maximise value from all satellite networks and service providers.

SatCom Equipment Overview

Cobham SATCOM’s satellite antenna and associated equipment portfolio offers unmatched reliability and future-proofed hardware, with a diverse portfolio of SAILOR and Sea Tel terminals and antennas to suit vessels ranging from yachts and fishing vessels to merchant ships, naval fleets and supertankers.

While enjoying a well-deserved reputation for incredible reliability and high performance for a strong link to the satellite in any conditions, Cobham SATCOM also ensures that service provider partners and end-users get the entire package, from global delivery and support, to simple installation and low-lifecycle costs.

While today, SAILOR and Sea Tel parabolic, stabilised maritime antennas dominate the technology-race, the satcom antenna landscape is also changing, with new technology in development. How flat panel technology will perform at sea is yet to be fully understood, but at Cobham SATCOM, we are approaching the future of maritime satellite communication with a far-sighted confidence.