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Becoming satellite engineer

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Mar 20th, 2009 at 4:50pm  
Dear all,

  I'm networking engineer but now see new opportunities in satellite businesses therefore I'd like to become satellite engineer. How do I start ? Thanks for all comments.

dvu5103
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #1 - Mar 20th, 2009 at 6:25pm  
...

More details: http://www.satsig.net/satellite-training-iee.htm

Buy Barry Evans's text book and I get a small Amazon commission !
wxw
Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #2 - Mar 21st, 2009 at 2:34am  
Thanks, Eric. I will do that.
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Reply #3 - Mar 21st, 2009 at 12:03pm  
Hi Eric,

   By the way do you have any statistic on this line of works ? Thank you.

dvu5103
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Reply #4 - Mar 21st, 2009 at 2:25pm  
Good  times for satellite communications were 1965 - 1985, when satcoms provided genuinely needed long distance connections between countries.  Optic fibres are now far cheaper on such long point to point routes and with the over-investment in the dot com boom of the 1990's so excessive was the amount of optic cable laid that by 2001 only 13% of it was in use.  Even now only 18% of it is in use so there is still massive unused capacity just lying there doing nothing.

So, VSAT satcoms is now a solution for remote places away from terrestrial radio and cable, as in areas where terrestrial infrastructure is a problem and maritime and mobile.  Satellite is expensive ($7000 per month per 1Mbit/s for a business in Kenya) so is usually a last resort type solution.   For comparision, a 1 Mbit/s fibre connection for a cafe in India might be only $500 per month.   I have the impression that some VSAT service operations are almost charitable in that you can spend vast amounts providing the hub service for no profitable return.  You are basically helping other people communicate - like this website !

New ventures are coming along with the idea of reducing satellite costs.  Wildblue and Tooway/KA-SAT use small spot beams.  O3B plans 16 lower satellites, 8063km high, drifting eastwards along the equator, each with 12 antennas, continually moving and switching back and forth to try and maintain connections. 

Satellite broadcasting, whereby a vast number of receive-only sites contribute to the costs is financially viable because lots of people will pay to watch entertainment, but you decide if you want to be in that kind of business rather than phone calls, data and internet.  I consider TV largely a waste of time; something to be used in moderation and not to be encouraged.

Regarding jobs, consider spacecraft manufacture (both scientific and commericial payloads), launch vehicle manufacture, teleport operations, VSAT hub/modem manufacturer, antenna manufacturer, frequency management, satellite operators: Intelsat, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Astra, Arabsat, Asiasat etc... 

My experience of satcoms is that it is a very enjoyable job. Be prepared to adapt and change and always apply common sense and basic engineering and maths - there are plenty of people quite happy to embark on crazy schemes.  If you get involved warn them but enjoy while it lasts.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #5 - Mar 21st, 2009 at 2:33pm  
Hi Eric,

   Thank you very much for your information. I'm working for a local ISP and they want to extend their businesses into satellite services since DSL here is sucked and there are plenty areas do not have cable services. I had posted my request for help to get started in this business but so far there is no response yet. Hope someone will get in touch with me in the next couple days.
Best regards,

dvu5103
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Reply #6 - Mar 21st, 2009 at 4:24pm  
If you are wanting a VSAT terminal to provide for a trunk access from your local ISP to and from the internet, then you need to say here:

1. Where are you located ? †See latitude/longitude finder.

2. How many PCs do you have connected in your local ISP ?


How many simultaneous VoIP phone calls do you have ?

If you have some idea what bit rates you want, that would help:

e.g. Internet cafe: †1Mbit/s down and 200kbit/s up, shared 10:1 @ $840 per month might suit 10 PCs in your local cafe LAN

e.g. Community: †300kbit/s down and 60 kbit/s up dedicated at $2520 per month might suit 30 PCs in your wired/wireless community ISP.

e.g. †Town: †3Mbit/s down and 600 kbit/s up dedicated at $25,200 per month might suit 300 PCs in your town wired/wireless ISP.

Above assumes light useage by your customers (10kbit/s down and 2 kbit/s up per PC) and nominal $700 per month per 100kbit/s on the satellite. †Actual prices vary according to satellite, beam, dish size etc.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #7 - Mar 22nd, 2009 at 5:33am  
Hi Eric,

   To clarify my issue: I'm writing up a cost analysis to my Board of Directors about providing Internet satellite services to our customers in SouthEast Asia (lat=15.6230, long=106.6113). We're cable ISP at the present and want to extend our businesses into satellite field. In my cost analysis, it will have the following information:

1/ equipment vendor for NOC and terminals (C- or Ku-
     band) and cost.
2/ bandwidth requirement for initial 10,000 subscribers
    (assume each has 512k down and 128k up). Is it
    enough for Internet access ?
3/ monthy charge for the above bandwidth.
4/ monthly charge to subscribers.

   Right now I learn about HughesNet and Wildblue but do not know the pros and cons of each vendor. Which one is best for our region ? I had posted my call for help in other article of this forum but no reply yet. Thank you for your patience.
Best regards,

dvu5103
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Reply #8 - Mar 22nd, 2009 at 9:59am  
1/ equipment vendor for NOC and terminals (C- or Ku- band) and cost.

For the VSAT hub racks contact HughesNet (Hughes HX), ViaSat (SurfBeam) and iDirect.
For a teleport consider Hong Kong (Asiasat and others) or Adelaide (Newskies and others) and rent rack space and lareg hub antennas.
For satellite a full transponder lease is ideal technocally for the outlink carrier but up front cost are very high till you have a large number of customers so talk to other operators about sharing facilties.

2/ bandwidth requirement for initial 10,000 subscribers (assume each has 512k down and 128k up). Is it enough for Internet access ?

Each PC in the system needs about 10 - 30 kbit/s download and 2 to 4 Kbit/s upload, depending on the customer need. †It depends how much they can afford.

Find a satellite with a beam covering your area which has spare capacity available, e.g. coverage map NSS6 SE Asia. †If you have a 40 Mbit/s outlink carrier then it will serve perhaps 4000 sites, each with 1 PC, or 1000 sites each with 4 PCs.

You do need a fair access policy (FAP) however linked to different tariffs. For example:
( Mbytes per sliding time window period, recalculated every 5 min) †

† † † † † ††† Basic Bronze Silver † † Gold † †
last 1 hour † † † 30 † † 53 † † 80 † † †160
last 4 hours † † †60 † †100 † †150 † † †300
last 1 day † † † 180 † †300 † †450 † † †900
last 1 week † † †500 † †800 † 1200 † † 2400
last 4 weeks † †1200 † 2000 † 3000 † † 6000


3/ monthly charge for the above bandwidth.
Satellite cost is about $4000 - $7000 per Mbit/s per month so 10kbit/s down + 2 kbit/s up costs $48 to $84 per month.

4/ monthly charge to subscribers.
Add extra to cover your hub, staff, licencing and billing costs etc. Customer tariffs could vary from $70 to $700 per month, depending on traffic Mbytes needed (not the "up to" bit rate).

My step by step suggestions:
Get 20 terminals from an existing operator (see Asia VSAT providers)and gain experience installing and maintaining them.
Get your own iDirect VNO and attend all the relevent iDirect training courses to obtain experience of operating a system.
Install a big Hughes HX or Surfbeam hub at a teleport in Hong Kong or Adelaide.

Whatever, don't expect to make any profit out of this.

Best regards, Eric.
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« Last Edit: Mar 22nd, 2009 at 11:38am by Admin1 »  
 
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Reply #9 - Mar 22nd, 2009 at 2:12pm  
Hi Eric,

   Actually what we want to do is to use Vinasat1 (http://www.vinasat.com.vn/52/103/391.html) to link subscribers to our NOC via teleport installed at our site. From NOC, we will have connection to the Internet via our data center. What is your advice in using C- or Ku-band ? which one is more expensive in term of terminals at customer's side ? Thank you very much.
Best regards,

dvu5103
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Reply #10 - Mar 22nd, 2009 at 8:43pm  
Ku band customer terminals will be smaller diameter and least expensive.  Ku band suffers worse rain fading but it is normal for Ku band systems to have a larger link budget margin to compensate for rain fading.  VSAT systems like Hughes HX, Surfbeam and iDirect also incorporate uplink power control and other compensating methods called adaptive coding and modulation (ACM).

Try to get a whole Ku band transponder lease for a single, full transponder outlink carrier.

For the return links rent a fractional transponder lease in a multicarrier transponder operated with a gain step optimised for the weak VSAT uplink transmissions.

There are some technical details about your satellite here:
http://www.aprsaf.org/data/aprsaf15_data/csawg/CSAWG_4a.pdf (1.37 Mbyte pdf file)

I've made sure your satellite is listed on this page: Dish pointing Vietnam

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #11 - Mar 23rd, 2009 at 4:10am  
Hi Eric,

   Base on your advice, I do some homeworks learning about Hughes: at central we deploy HN NOC(LX) and at subscribers we have choices of HN 7000/7700/7740 terminals. Does it sound good to you ? who is the distributor ?
  Also from your statement "Try to get a whole Ku band transponder lease for a single, full transponder outlink carrier..." why do we need "full transponder" ?
  And "For the return links rent a fractional transponder lease...", what is the return links ? from satellite to us  or satellite to subscribers ?
   Thank you so much for your patience.
Best regards,
dvu5103
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Reply #12 - Mar 23rd, 2009 at 8:23am  
Regarding buying a Hughes VSAT hub. †You need to buy the latest version, HX, not HN. See picture of the HX hub rack †Contact Hughes directly globalsales@hns.com to get your copy of the HX system overview.

Contact ViaSat (Surfbeam) and iDirect also to get their sales literature and pricing for their VSAT hub racks.

When you get pricing make sure you have long term software maintenance and training support included. Your hub will not work at all if you can't configure and operate it. †Experience with other hubs shows that staff operator and installer skill is critical, not the choice of technology. It also helps if the sales people don't mislead customers and oversell the capacity !

If you operate the outlink (or "Out route" †carrier as just one large carrier in the transponder then power of that carrier is the same as the transponder EIRP as shown in the coverage map. †If you operate in a multicarrier transponder (fractional lease) then the power available is proportionally lower but also at least 3dB further lower due to the need to back off the transponder to avoid excessive intermodulation. †Someone operating a full transponder lease with one large carrier has about 3 dB advantage (i.e. twice the power for no increase in cost). †A transponder will cost about $1.5M per year ($200M satellite+ $100M launch + $20M ops) / (15 yrs x 20 transponders x 0.7 sales efficiency). †In one transponder you could put a 27.5 Msps outlink carrier using DVB-S2 with 8-PSK 7/8 coding gives 72 Mbit/s good for 7200 VSAT sites each with 1 PC.

Return links come from the remote VSATs towards the teleport. "In-routes" means the same thing. †The VSAT hub has multiple receivers each listening for TDMA bursts from many remotes. †Remote sites transmit brief bursts at 256, 512, 1024, 2048 kbit/s, for example, with the higher rates needing higher power BUCs, like 8W instead of 2W.

Financially, your big problem is the high up front costs before any significant revenue appears. †See if Vinasat will sell you a whole transponder with the payment based on a proportion your actual revenue. Vinasat may even give you an HX, Surfbeam or iDirect hub. †Unless they have been lucky with transponder sales (for TV say) they will be sitting there with -£300M on the balance sheet and wanting to do anything to initiate revenue streams. †Ask them if they are installing VSAT hubs at their own master station - maybe you can rent one there and control it all remotely. Remember that your competitors will be trying these ideas also.

Best regards, Eric.
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« Last Edit: May 9th, 2015 at 10:18am by Admin1 »  
 
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Reply #13 - Mar 23rd, 2009 at 10:27am  
Hi Eric,

   I think I need the Satellite cookbook now to keep up with those terminologies. Thank you very much and will get back to our conversation soon. Have a great day.
Best regards,
dvu5103
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Reply #14 - Mar 23rd, 2009 at 12:25pm  
Consider these from Amazon books:

Satellite Communications Systems edited by Barry Evans

VSAT Networks by Gerard Maral

In both cases I get a small commission on sales.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #15 - Mar 23rd, 2009 at 1:59pm  
You should be paid more than that if we decide this is good business venture for us to pursuit. Thank you.
Best regards,
dvu5103
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