Telesat Canada will launch Anik F2 |
in 2004, Canada's first satellite to
provide full two-way point-to-point
Internet and multimedia services.
Broadband via SatelliteSatellite broadband connection has become an important technology option for national businesses, rural communities, and even for small and home rural offices. New technology on the horizon will soon make satellite a competitive option specifically for urban end users. ... Here's what you should know today.
What is satellite communication?
Satellite communication is a form of wireless communication. With wireless technology, information is transferred between two antennas, encoded into radio signals at one end and decoded into data at the other.
Terrestrial or ground based wireless requires many hops between a series of communication towers in order for the signal to travel even 100 km.
Satellite wireless communications requires only one hop, from the base station to the satellite and back down to the signal destination.
Coverage: an enormous area can be seen from the satellite, often the majority of continental U.S. and Canada combined.
Shadowing: terrestrial wireless can be blocked by buildings, foliage and hills, satellite service is available wherever the sky is visible.
Cost per user : Comparable to terrestrial wireless business packages.
Delay time:Due to the distance between the satellite and the earth's surface there is a inherent 0.25 second delay between the origination of the signal and the reception. This is a limitation of physics, related to the finite speed of light.
Some Satellite History
As little as 35 years ago the accepted method of using wireless technology to communicate between distant locations was through the use of ionospheric bounce. Communication signals were aimed at the earth's upper atmosphere and when conditions were right they would bounce down toearth again at the location you wished to reach. When conditions were not right there was little choice but to wait until they were.
In 1972 Telesat Canada launched the world's first commercial communications satellite, the Anik A1. Now instead of bouncing communications signals off of an unreliable upper atmosphere, we could bounce communication signals off of a commercial satellite. The satellite was always in the same location, always responded to the same frequencies and could direct your signal to almost any location in North America. The Anik A series satellites and later their many successors facilitated the delivery of television and telephone signals across Canada, the U.S. and to the far north. Because earth stations were initially large and expensive, satellites were first used for long haul communications, that is getting the signals from one side of the continent to the other. Local distribution of television or telephone signals was carried out using conventional terrestrial wireless or copper wire communication technology.
A decade later, Telesat Canada launched the Anik C3--the first of Canada's dedicated satellites to offer point-to-point commercial services. Because of its ability to use higher communications frequencies, it could also use smaller, lower cost receive antennas. This enabled a revolutionary two-way interactive data service using VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) earth stations installed directly on customer premises-facilitating services such as electronic fund transfers, gathering point-of-sale information, national reservation systems, etc. As the technology evolved, this point-to-point capability opened the door to new commercial services including direct-to-home TV, satellite based telemedicine and eventually direct-to-home broadband satellite Internet services.
After six generations of satellites and a sustainable growth, Telesat Canada will launch Anik F2 in 2004, Canada's first satellite to provide full two-way point-to-point Internet and multimedia services. By again increasing the operating frequency of some of the satellite channels Telesat will further lower the required size and cost of ground station equipment facilitating, two-way communication between the end user's personal computer and the satellite. The new satellite will support up to 300,000 simultaneous Internet connections; each connection meeting an approximate DSL equivalent quality standard. equivalent quality standard.
Satellite Operating Frequencies
The fundamental difference between the satellite communication technology described above is the choice of operational frequencies.
C Band, or lower frequency satellite services provide reliable station to station transmission of signals of all kinds including television, telephone and Internet services. However, ground stations are typically affordable only for communities and large organizations, which can distribute the signals and the costs on the ground to many end users.
Ku band, or higher frequency satellite services like those first delivered by the Anik C, has facilitated direct to end user services like the Express Vu and Star Choice TV, DirecPC Internet services as well as live video feeds and software applications. The receiving stations are smaller and are affordable by individual end users. Typically communication back to the Internet has been done over conventional dial up lines and only the high volume downloads initially came from the satellite.
In April 2002, Telesat Canada launched a new High Speed Internet business bi-directional (two-way) satellite network, branded HSi, to facilitate the growing needs of businesses, government agencies and educations institutions. This type of service has also been a superb introduction of satellite telecommunications into the general business market. The network provides for affordable ADSL-like "always-on connectivity" transmitting and receiving internet information over the satellite with no telephone lines required. Using smaller 1-meter antennas, HSi provides the capability to any rural or remote business to take advantage of a high-speed internet connection throughout Canada and the U.S. The value of the Internet grows daily and no one has to be without a robust and reliable connection. HSi will continue to service many businesses even after the eventual launch of Ka band.
Ka band, or higher frequency satellite technology, which will be delivered by the Anik F2, can also facilitate two-way point-to-point communications where the Internet or other signals can travel back from the end user through the satellite to the Internet. A major advantage of the Ka-band frequency includes the ability to focus smaller communication beams allowing more users to share the available spectrum bandwidth.
This being said, newer satellites carry a mix of transponders, which provide C Band, Ku Band and Ka Band services. Each band has its own applications targeting different types of services and different types of customers.
Solutions Available Today
HSi Business Network
All data transmitted to and from the remote sites is processed at the Telesat hub in Toronto. From there, access is provided to the World Wide Web.
Specialized services including secure Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Voice over IP (VOIP), Credit/debit card transactions and fax processing are all supported by this network to meet the needs of today's business environment. Entrepreneurs are using HSi to provide the needed connection to support Internet Cafes in areas that would otherwise struggle with a poor dial-up service. The Telesat network is available to North American consumers through its value-added resellers, RAMTelecom of Ottawa, ON and Infosat in Vancouver, BC.
Community Broadband DeliveryThere is no need for any remote community to go without high speed services for the local residents or businesses. A satellite service provider can deliver high speed Internet connectivity into a community ground station or "teleport". From there the broadband service can be distributed by wireless or other "last mile solution" into the community.
There are many Canadians who still today do without access to the Internet. Only a small number of northern communities have taken the leap to reap the social, educational, medical and business benefits of high speed services. Conventional Ku Band such as RAMTelecom's Independence Community Solution, Telesat's I Direct C Band network or other low frequency technology are suitable for this application. RAMTelecom has the infrastructure in place today to support a population base of more than 10,000 northern Inuit, Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal residents and businesses in Nunavut, Manitoba and Quebec.
National Point of Sale SystemsFor organizations, which have a large number of end user locations such as business with a national point of sale system, two-way satellite service can be an attractive solution. Each end location is equipped with identical receivers systems, which allows the remote location to plug networked equipment directly into the receiving unit. End user systems are of moderate cost and are affordable for a business application.
National Consumer BroadbandBefore the end of 2004 Ka Band multimedia services will be available at competitive prices for the consumer market. The high-speed Internet service will be positioned competitively with present DSL services in both price and performance.