Communications Solutions

Satellite Data Transport & Wiring Considerations

Originally, satellite communications was thought to be useful for long distance phone service without building thousands of miles of wired network facilities. Now, besides Defense Department and Homeland Security use of satellite information, fiber optic L-Band (950-2150MHz) transmission is used commercially for air traffic control, for radio and TV news distribution and for GPS and synchronizing applications for cellular/PCS devices.

It can also be used in apartment buildings or college dormitories with broadband amplifiers and RF splitters to distribute multiple signals to TV set top receivers.

Fiber optic L-Band or coax transport of satellite signals may be used in a number of applications, including transport from the remote satellite antenna farm to a broadcaster’s headend, or from an antenna on the rooftop of a high-rise building to an equipment room in the basement or even down the street, in uplink and downlink, and terrestrial wireless and satellite television applications.

Why Fiber Optic Cable is Better 

Coax cable and hardline (coax with an outer copper or aluminum tube) are traditionally specified for RF transmission applications. While functional, this approach has several shortcomings. Copper coax and hardline are bulky and heavy, they conduct electricity, and they have low bandwidth, which seriously limits the maximum usable distance.

Fiber optic RF transmission, on the other hand, eliminates all of these shortcomings. Fiber optic cable weighs less than hardline or coax cable, and since single-mode fiber optic cable has only about 0.25 to 0.5 dB of signal loss per kilometer of fiber, an antenna may be located many kilometers from the receiver or transmitter. In addition, fiber’s dielectric properties prevent lighting from following the fiber optic cable into the building that the antenna serves.