What are High Throughput Satellites (HTS)?

1 Answer
Can you answer this question?
Dec 19, 2023

High Throughput Satellites (HTS) offer significantly enhanced throughput compared to conventional Fixed Satellite Service (FSS). The term ‘throughput’ refers to the data transfer capacity, and HTS achieves a substantial increase in this capacity within the same orbital spectrum, ranging from two to more than 100 times that of traditional FSS. The emergence of HTS satellites prompted hardware manufacturers of satellite ground equipment to upgrade their devices to accommodate higher bandwidth requirements.

High Throughput Satellites refer to a new generation of communication satellites that leverage advanced technologies to deliver significantly higher data transfer rates compared to their predecessors. Traditional satellites typically operate with a fixed beam, covering a specific geographic area. In contrast, HTS utilizes multiple spot beams, allowing for a more targeted and efficient distribution of bandwidth. The architecture of High Throughput Satellites revolves around the use of spot beams, the beams can be steered to specific regions on the Earth's surface, providing a more concentrated and powerful signal. This beamforming technology enhances the overall throughput and efficiency of data transmission. 

Architecture

The key differentiator in the architecture of an HTS system, setting it apart from its predecessors, is the utilization of multiple spot beams to cover specific service areas rather than employing wide beams that are focused and narrow radio frequency signals. This architectural choice brings about a triple advantage:

  • Spot Beam Technology: HTS achieves its remarkable throughput by employing advanced technologies such as spot beam technology and high-frequency reuse. Unlike traditional satellites that use broad single beams, HTS utilizes multiple narrow spot beams, each covering a smaller region. This approach allows for the efficient reuse of the same frequency band, enhancing spectral efficiency and supporting higher data transfer speeds. HTS operates across various frequency bands, including Ku-band, Ka-band, and C-band. The choice of frequency bands depends on factors such as the desired coverage area, data transfer rates, and atmospheric conditions. Ka-band is gaining popularity for its ability to support high data rates, making it suitable for broadband internet services. Contrary to a common misconception, HTS is not restricted to the Ka-band. While many high-throughput satellites operate in the Ka-band, they can be deployed across various spectrum bands. The Ku-band (lower) and Ka-band (higher) are commonly used, demonstrating the flexibility of HTS in adapting to different frequency ranges.
  • Frequency Re-use: HTS systems leverage the high directivity of spacecraft antennas to position the spot beam footprint strategically. In contrast to the wide beams used by FSS, HTS employs multiple spot beams with smaller footprints. This allows multiple beams to reuse the same frequency. The frequency reuse factor, theoretically equal to the number of beams if they are sufficiently separated, is a crucial aspect. However, achieving continuous coverage necessitates overlapping beams, leading to the use of different frequencies and polarizations in adjacent beams to prevent interference. This focused approach minimizes interference and facilitates the reuse of the same frequency band across different geographic regions. This frequency reuse, coupled with spot beam technology, maximizes the overall capacity of the satellite system for the allocated frequency band.
  • Higher Transmit/Receive Gain: The narrower beamwidth of spot beams results in increased power for both transmitted and received signals. This enhancement enables the use of smaller user terminal antennas. Moreover, the larger available power facilitates the implementation of higher-order modulation and coding schemes (MODCODs). These advanced MODCODs contribute to high spectral efficiency, denoting the transmitted bit rate per unit of the utilized frequency band. The higher the spectral efficiency, the greater the data transmission rate per unit of orbital spectrum, a critical feature given the congestion of orbital slots and spectrum limitations.


Advantages of High Throughput Satellites

  • Higher Throughput: As the name suggests, one of the primary advantages of HTS is its significantly higher throughput. This translates to increased data transfer rates, enabling faster and more reliable communication services.
  • Cost Efficiency: The use of spot beams allows HTS to focus their signals on specific areas, reducing the need for extensive ground infrastructure. This targeted approach enhances cost efficiency in terms of both satellite construction and ground station deployment.
  • Broadband Connectivity: HTS plays a crucial role in expanding broadband connectivity to underserved and remote areas. The ability to deliver high-speed internet services via satellite is instrumental in bridging the digital divide.
  • Flexible Network Configuration: The architecture of HTS provides flexibility in network configuration. Operators can dynamically allocate bandwidth to different regions based on demand, optimizing resource utilization, and ensuring a more responsive network.

Applications of HTS

  • Broadband Internet Access: A primary application of HTS is providing broadband internet access services, particularly to regions lacking terrestrial connectivity. HTS is integral to the telecommunications industry, supporting a wide range of services, including voice communication, video conferencing, and internet connectivity. Their high throughput capabilities make them ideal for delivering data-intensive applications. This makes satellite technology a viable solution for remote and underserved areas where traditional ground infrastructure may be impractical.
  • Expansion into Government and Enterprise Markets: Originally designed for consumer markets, HTS platforms are now diversifying their services to cater to government and enterprise needs. Basic connectivity in remote areas and high-capacity links for cellular backhaul are becoming integral parts of HTS applications.
  • Point-to-Multipoint and Broadcast Services: HTS is versatile, supporting point-to-multipoint applications and broadcast services, such as Direct-to-Home (DTH) distribution, to smaller geographic areas served by individual spot beams. HTS contributes to Earth observation by facilitating the transmission of large volumes of data from remote sensing satellites. This is crucial for applications such as weather monitoring, environmental assessment, and disaster management.
  • Aeronautical and Maritime Connectivity: The aviation and maritime industries benefit from HTS by providing reliable and high-speed connectivity to aircraft and vessels, enhancing communication and navigation capabilities.
  • Military and Defence: High-throughput Satellites play a vital role in military and defense communications, providing secure and high-capacity links for command and control, surveillance, and intelligence gathering.

Space Missions - A list of all Space Missions

esa

Name Date
Altius 01 May, 2025
Arctic Weather Satellite (AWS) 01 Mar, 2024
Eutelsat Quantum 30 Jul, 2021
Sentinel 6 21 Nov, 2020
Cheops 18 Dec, 2019
EDRS 06 Aug, 2019
BepiColombo 20 Oct, 2018
Aeolus 22 Aug, 2018
Sentinel 3B 25 Apr, 2018
Sentinel 5 13 Oct, 2017

isro

Name Date
INSAT-3DS 17 Feb, 2024
XPoSat 01 Jan, 2024
Aditya-L1 02 Sep, 2023
DS-SAR 30 Jul, 2023
Chandrayaan-3 14 Jul, 2023
NVS-01 29 May, 2023
TeLEOS-2 22 Apr, 2023
OneWeb India-2 26 Mar, 2023
EOS-07 10 Feb, 2023
EOS-06 26 Nov, 2022

jaxa

Name Date
XRISM 07 Sep, 2023
SLIM 07 Sep, 2023
ALOS-3 07 Mar, 2023
ISTD-3 07 Oct, 2022
HTV9 21 May, 2020
HTV8 25 Sep, 2019
HTV7 23 Sep, 2018
HTV6 09 Dec, 2016
HTV5 19 Aug, 2015
HTV4 04 Aug, 2013

nasa

Name Date
NEO Surveyor 01 Jun, 2028
Libera 01 Dec, 2027
Europa Clipper 10 Oct, 2024
SpaceX CRS-29 09 Nov, 2023
Psyche 13 Oct, 2023
DSOC 13 Oct, 2023
Psyche Asteroid 05 Oct, 2023
Expedition 70 27 Sep, 2023
SpaceX Crew-7 25 Aug, 2023
STARLING 18 Jul, 2023