What are Satellite Frequency Bands?

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Sep 4, 2023

Satellite Frequency Bands are wide range of frequency bands that are used for satellite communication purpose The allocation of satellite frequencies and the management of band spectrum are done by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a body responsible for coordinating global telecommunications standards. Satellite operators optimize their capacity by sharing or reusing frequencies, achieving greater throughput without expanding the spectrum bandwidth. Electromagnetic frequencies within the spectrum are employed to transmit data from ground stations to satellites (uplink) and from satellites to ground stations (downlink). Commonly used satellites bands are the L-band, S-band, C-band, X-band, Ku-band, K-band, and Ka-band.

Spectrum efficiency is a measure of how effectively data can be transmitted within a specific bandwidth. To extend the reach of satellite communication, reliable access to satellite spectrum bands is crucial. However, once a satellite is constructed and launched, its frequency specifications remain fixed. Enhancing spectrum efficiency becomes paramount within the allocated spectrum. In broad terms, spectrum efficiency gauges the volume of data that can be transmitted within a specific bandwidth. Given that satellite communication operates within predetermined frequency bands for uplink and downlink, improving spectrum efficiency is essential for maximizing data throughput.

Strategies for Boosting Satellite Spectrum Efficiency -

  • Amplify transmission capacity through transponders.
  • Attain higher spectrum efficiency via digital data transmission.
  • Enhance capacity by sharing or reusing frequencies, without expanding spectrum bandwidth.
  • Optimize spectrum efficiency by reusing spot beams from satellites.
  • Lease or contract the use of orbital positions and spectrum to optimize spectrum efficiency.


Frequency Band Spectrum


Frequency Range (in GHz)


Satellite Service Type













1.518-1.675 GHz




MSS (Mobile Satellite Service)


Civilian mobile communication services and global positioning systems (GPS). For instance, Inmarsat use the frequency range to facilitate communication across various mediums such as air, water, and land, as well as for weather radar systems.









1.97 - 2.69 GHz




MSS (Mobile Satellite Service)


Satellite TV, mobile broadband services, radio broadcasting, and in-flight connectivity

For instance, communication between the International Space Station (ISS) and the space shuttle.









3.4GHz - 7.025 GHz




FSS (Fixed Satellite Service)


Data services, unprocessed satellite feeds, and networks for satellite TV

For Example: Telstar satellites use the frequency range for facilitating transportation operations.









7.25 - 8.44 GHz




FSS (Fixed Satellite Service)


Military operations, pulsed radar systems, synthetic operational and wave radars, weather monitoring, air traffic control, maritime traffic regulation, defense surveillance, and the detection of vehicle speeds.








10.7 - 14.5 GHz


FSS (Fixed Satellite Service), BSS (Broadband Satellite Service)




Fixed satellite television data services.









17.3 - 30 GHz



FSS (Fixed Satellite Service), BSS (Broadband Satellite Service)


Two-way broadband services for both mobile and fixed applications, fixed satellite television services, and the deployment of close-range targeting radars within military systems.



Q/V -band



37.5 - 51.4 GHz


MSS (Mobile Satellite Service), BSS (Broadband Satellite Service)



High-speed broadband services (fixed and mobile) and in-flight connectivity.