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RF Design Considerations for Ka and Ku Band Systems

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 15, 2016 9:48:18 AM / by Bliley Technologies

Bliley Technologies

RF Design Considerations for Ka and Ku Band Systems

Let's Learn the Basics

Satellite_frequency_bands.jpgWhat is the Ka-Band System?

The Ka-band includes the frequencies of 26.5-40GHz. The Ka-band is part of the K band of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. The symbol "Ka" stands for "K-above," meaning the band directly above the K-band. You can learn more about Ka-Band systems here.

Many are choosing Ka-band systems because of its increasing capacity availability. 

What is the Ku-Band System?

The Ku-band includes the frequencies of 12-18 GHz.  The symbol "Ku" stands for "K-under" or the band directly below the K band.  You can learn more about Ku-Band systems here.

Ka/Ku-Band Architectures Characteristics

  • Phase noise is introduced by frequency local oscillators.
  • Each amplifier generates a self-noise.
  • Up to three successive frequency conversions could be performed from base-band to carrier frequency.
  • The Ka/Ku frequencies, noise performance of RF components become critically important for closing the link.

How do Ka-Band and Ku-Band Systems Differ?

Ka Band

Ku Band

Twice the frequency of Ku

Half the frequency of Ka

Primarily used for
wideband systems

Primarily used for
communication systems

10-100x throughput of Ku bands

Lower throughput

Smaller antenna size

Larger antenna size

More susceptible to atmosphere attenuation

Less susceptible to atmosphere attenuation

 Advantages of Ka-Band Systems

  • Less congestion than other systems
  • Highly efficient
  • Lower bandwidth cost
  • Enables high bandwidth data throughput
  • Small Ka-band antenna
  • Delivers high-speed services to customers beyond the reach of terrestrial networks
  • Higher download and upload speeds

Advantages of Ku-Band Systems

  • Short wavelengths=highly focused and powerful signal
  • Excellent in delivering spot beam coverage from the satellite
  • Less expensive equipment than most bands such as the C-band
  • Attractive to small networks
  • Dependable and efficient
  • Power of uplinks and downlinks can be increased

Design considerations for Ka and Ku band systems?

If you are designing a Ka or Ku band system, then finding RF components with low noise (especially the local oscillator) is probably at the top of your list, as it should be.

The relatively high band width of Ka and Ku band systems allow them to transmit data, video, voice, etc. at a silky smooth rate.  If the phase noise of the local oscillator is too high, these transmissions will become noisy and will fail.  Selecting a low phase noise oscillator becomes critically important.


Want to learn more about the effects of phase noise for various applications?  Download our FREE Visual Guide.

Download our visual guide to the effects of phase noise

Topics: phase noise, satcom, engineering

Bliley Technologies

Written by Bliley Technologies

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