This unique, fast-track course enables individuals and organisations to understand satellite communication systems, technology, performance and trade-offs. The course includes a technical coverage of VSAT systems design and provides the ability to assess and evaluate VSAT systems for deployment into wide area network solutions.


3 days


  • Technicians and Engineers wanting to move into the field of satellite communications, or VSAT-based installations.
  • IT and communications decision makers wanting to evaluate VSAT and other satellite communications products and services.
  • Engineers, Communications managers, IT managers and Technicians currently working with satellite communications and VSAT equipment.


Delegates should have some existing training or experience in telecommunications prior to attending the course.


Understand essential satellite communications theory and principles
Describe satellites in terms of size, payloads, transponders, antennas, LEO, MEO, GEO, HEO orbits and lifetime
Describe the concepts of satcom links, transponders, frequency bands, link budgets and how they are affected by antennas
Define amplitude, frequency, phase, bandwidth, deciBels, gain, EIRP, spectrum, symbol rate, bit rate, noise, power, C/N and Eb/No
Describe and compare satcom modulation and coding schemes
Describe the relationships between antenna size, frequency, beamwidth, gain and sidelobes
Define EIRP, G/T, satellite footprints and contours
Define rain fade loss, rain zones, solar outages and service availability
Identify the hardware components used in a VSAT and larger earth stations
Define the functions of the antenna, LNB, TRF, BUC, IFL, OMT, waveguide, modem and coders
Define and describe SCPC, TDM, TDMA, MF-TDMA, DVB, DVB-RCS, star, and mesh networks.

Content Headings

Overview of Satellite Systems and Services
Satcom scenarios and their evolution
Network architectures
Traffic and Services
Basic link operation
Regulatory issues and constraints

Principles of Satellite Communications
Features of satcoms
Orbits (GEO, MEO, LEO, HEO)
Satellite types and transponders
Star versus mesh networks
System requirements

Link Fundamentals
Power, Noise and Link analysis
The deciBel (dB), dBW, dBm, dBi
Understanding satellite Link Budgets

Antennas for Satcoms
Antenna principles
Parameters and performance, gain, beamwidth, sidelobes, G/T
Designs for hub stations and VSATs
Sidelobes and practical considerations

Modulation and Coding
Principles of Modulation
BPSK, QPSK, 8PSK, QAM schemes
Symbol rate, bit rate
Noise, power, C/N and Eb/No
BER vs Eb/No
Practical performance and limitations
Principles of Coding
Common coding schemes: Convolutional, Turbo, LDPC, Polar

Satellite Access Techniques
Multiplexing, Multiple Access
Aloha / Contention schemes
Hybrid schemes

Military VSAT systems
Requirements, system drivers and operation
Military satellites
Military terminals
Threats and countermeasures

Introduction to Data Protocols over Satellite
Circuit and Packet switching
Data integrity, ARQ
Review of the OSI model
TCP/IP over satcom links
Satcom effects and mitigation solutions

Satellite Engineering
Satellite design concepts
Transponder design
Example satellites
Satellite footprints and contours
Operational issues

Terminal Installation Considerations
Discussion of VSAT installation criteria and techniques
LNB, TRF, BUC, IFL, OMT, waveguide

Higher Frequency Bands Rationale
Trade-offs of Ka- versus Ku-band
Implications for civil and military VSAT systems

Link and Terminal Design
Elements of VSATs
Terminal design criteria
Terminal performance analysis
Amplifier non-linearities
Phase Noise considerations

Further System Design Issues
Interference in VSAT systems
Power Control

Propagation in VSAT systems
Band characteristics and propagation impairments
Atmospheric behaviour
Rain losses
Other losses
Solar outages
Prediction techniques summary

Markets and Evolution of Satcoms
Key markets and growth
Example satellite and services
The Future

Digital Video Broadcast
DVB principles and standards