Satellite communications Basics: From Orbits to Modulation (2024)

Ian Furniss
Ian Furniss
Hardware R&D Engineer
Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA
April 18, 2024

Abstract: Satellite communications experience many unique challenges in closing the link budget and providing reliable and resilient data throughput. These challenges range from overcoming the vast distances to managing atmospheric perturbations to generating unique modulations that are both spectrally and power efficient. In this discussion we will briefly cover these various topics including some modulation basics and dive into some of the only communications standards that exist for satellite communications and why they are used to overcome these challenges. This will lead to a brief introduction of some test and measurement solutions that enable these challenging networks to be created and maintained from concept to launch.

BIO: Ian is currently a Hardware R&D Engineer for Keysight Labs, helping develop and validate industry leading technologies for new signal analysis products. Prior to this Ian was an Applications Development Engineer in Keysight’s Space and Satellite Solutions group, focused on helping commercial and government entities accelerate their missions in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellation new space race. Ian’s areas of expertise spans signal analysis and generation, particularly tackling design and test challenges in Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite Second Generation Extended (DVB-S2X), DVB - 2nd Generation Return Channel via Satellite (RCS2), custom Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), and 5th Generation Non-Terrestrial Networks (5G NTN) at frequencies from Ku- and Ka-band through V- and W-band and beyond.