The Ka-band frequency spectrum (18-40GHz) for satellite communication is the basis for a new generation of services on High Throughput Satellites (HTS), which use a spot beam configuration to deliver more bandwidth throughout the coverage area.
Satellite network operators Inmarsat and Telenor Satellite provide Ka-band HTS services for maritime users. Inmarsat Fleet Xpress is based on the new Global Xpress network while Telenor Satellite offers services to European users on a single Satellite called Thor 7. Both offer extremely high throughput potential, helping to establish them very quickly as major enablers of digital transformation at sea.
The spot beam architecture in Ka-band satellites creates overlapping coverage, which has introduced the very real possibility to use smaller antennas on board while still maintaining a strong link. This is opening VSAT up to more vessel types, including fishing and smaller workboats. However, Ka-band VSAT is very susceptible to rain fade – where moisture and humidity can interfere with the signal.
Inmarsat and Telenor Satellite have developed different strategies to overcome rain fade. Fleet Xpress is sold as a redundant solution, where SAILOR Ka-band antennas can be integrated with SAILOR FleetBroadband (using L-band, which offers more resilience to rain fade) terminals as back-up. For Thor 7, Telenor Satellite has developed technical innovations including revolutionary teleport antenna diversity technology, combined with advanced adaptive modulation and coding techniques.
Cobham SATCOM has developed an extensive portfolio of cutting-edge SAILOR and Sea Tel Ka-band antenna systems, designed to deliver class leading performance, low lifecycle costs and operational continuity.