Broadband via satellite dish

Satellites have brought Internet access to places where IP communications seemed impossible. In this section, we explain how satellite Internet works. You will understand how bytes of information or simply a mouse click travels all the way from your computer to the satellite, to our NOC and back.

VSAT Systems uses commercial satellite connections as a high-speed digital link between our customers and the U.S. Internet backbone. The main components of a satellite system comprises of the following:

1. Ground-based electronic equipment

  • The VSAT dish: It refers to what most people call their dish. VSAT units are two-way satellite ground stations with dishes that typically range from 0.75m to 1.8m in diameter. VSAT Systems offers VSAT antennas between 1.2m and 2.4m in diameter, depending on the application and location.
  • The indoor modem: A satellite modem facilitates data transfers using a communications satellite as a relay. VSAT Systems end users typically use the iDirect 3100 series or Evolution X3/X5 series modems.
  • The teleports: The teleport is the earth station that controls communications across the space link. The teleport is the heart of the VSAT Systems satellite Internet system. VSAT Systems has three 6.3m VertexRSI antennae, transmitters, control systems, redundant links to the Internet, plus auxiliary power and HVAC.
  • The Network Operations Center (NOC): The facility which controls all communications over the satellite link. The NOC monitors for power failures, satellite signal issues and other performance issues that may affect the network. The VSAT Systems NOC is located in Akron, Ohio.

2. Satellite equipment

  • The satellite: In a geostationary or geosynchronous orbit 22, 236 miles above the earth’s surface, a satellite completes one revolution in exactly the same amount of time that it takes the Earth to rotate one full turn on its axis. Thus, the satellite always appears at the same position above the Earth. This eliminates the need for satellite dishes at the user location to track the satellite, which greatly simplifies their construction and cost. These satellites, used for a variety of purposes like broacast and telecommunications, can also be used to provide Internet access at any location on Earth.
  • Transponder space segment: The communications channels on a satellite that both receive and retransmit data. Modern satellites carry between 36 and 72 separate transponders all running at different frequencies. These frequency segments are used for transmission of data.
  • Internet Backbone: The backbone is a large collection of interconnected, high-capacity, commercial, government, and academic data routes and core routers that carry data. They connect with other countries and continents around the world.

3. Here’s how the process works - in 5 easy to understand steps:

  1. End user computer is connected to your network, which in turn is connected to the Internet by VSAT Systems. You open a web browser, and type in a web address. End user computer sends a request for a transfer of data - both transmit and receive.
  2. That request is sent from the end user PC, through their home network, to the indoor satellite modem which modulates the signal and passes it to the VSAT dish. The VSAT dish converts this signal to an RF signal and sends it to a satellite located in the geostationary orbit at the speed of light - 186, 000 miles per second.
  3. The satellite in the geo-stationary orbit receives this signal and sends it to one of the VSAT Systems teleports in Akron, Ohio. This illustrates the fact that although the packets of information travel tremendous distances via the space segment, the packets hop fewer networks due to the large reduction in the number of inter domain and intra domain routers giving an opportunity to minimize latency.
  4. The request then goes to VSAT Systems’ NOC, which retrieves the requested website from the web server, across the U.S. Internet backbone.
  5. The whole cycle is then reversed and the requested data is available to the user. A 90, 000 mile journey, through millions of dollars of infrastructure and sophisticated equipment, all in less than 700 milliseconds.
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