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Tooway satellite from Bentley Walker

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Tooway satellite dish pointing

Tooway forum

Tooway satellite in Portugal

UK satellite internet installers

Hylas in Libya

Tooway and KaSat technical

Tooway Satellite: Low cost European satellite internet access service

Tooway is a VSAT satellite communication system operated by Skylogic, Italy, which is sold only via independent reseller companies to domestic and business customers to enable them to connect to the internet from remote location.  Retail cost is approx £25 - £90 per month, depending on download plus upload traffic amounts (4 - 80 Gbytes),  The outdoor satellite dish and transmit/receive electronics plus the indoor Docsis ViaSat Surfbeam modem costs about £120.  Headline advertised download bit rates offered are up to 20 Mbit/s (increased from earlier advertised 6, 8 and 10 Mbit/s) Upload speeds: Up to 6 Mbit/s (increased from earlier advertised 1, 2 or 4 Mbit/s).   Speeds and amounts of Mbytes transferred (down and up) are interrelated, with quotas related to tariff charged.  These quotas comprise traffic amounts applied to a periods of one month. If you are an exceptional user with very heavy demands the fair access policy may reduce your speeds at times to give others a chance. The old system of traffic amount limits for one hour, four hours, one day, one week and four weeks is no longer applicable.  The system involved time periods that restarted every 5 minutes and were called Sliding Time Windows (STW).

Due to cost considerations it is recommended that you first consider any available terrestrial wired system (telephone wire based ADSL or cable) or terrestrial wireless (WIFI, WiMAX etc) before choosing the satellite option as a last resort. The majority of satellite users are people in remote locations or where the terrestrial phone company infrastructure is unable to make ADSL work well. 

The Tooway system is operated on the Eutelsat KA-SAT satellite by Skylogic from a ten teleport hub antennas throughout Europe. The main Skylogic teleport earth station teleport is in Italy,  The Tooway service has been operating since 2008 in both Ku band, on Eurobird 3 satellite, and also on a four spot, Ka beam package on Hotbird 6.  The new Ka-SAT satellite, launched Dec 2010 is dedicated to Tooway and has 83 spot beams covering Europe, North Africa and parts of the Middle East.  These small spot beams will expand the existing Tooway Ka band service on Hotbird 6.   Ka-SAT is located at 9 deg east orbital longitude position.

Ka band refers to use of the 20/30 GHz frequency bands.  These high microwave frequencies are severely susceptible to rain attenuation. To minimise the inconvenience and disruption to customers, the modulation and coding techniques used are altered to adapt to the changing weather conditions so as far as possible to maintain service, even if the bit rate is slowed somewhat. Customer terminals, if well pointed, normally operate with a power output lower than their maximum so as to provide an up-link power control range to help maintain uplink connection during rain.

I wrote the text below for someone in LinkedIn who was concerned about propagation outages:

2000 sites share a 64 Mbit/s download carrier. In clear sky all get their "up to 20 Mbit/s" standard service. Note that many sites share the capacity in a time shared fashion. Three sites could be active simultaneously, each at 20 Mbit/s. 100 sites could be active simultaneously with bit rate of 640 kbit/s each. If a 100% fill was possible and all sites active, they could each get 32 kbit/s.

During mild propagation events, a small basic link margin, say 3 dB, means that there is no adverse effect. This assumes site dishes are accurately aligned and not casually set up so they only just work OK.

In the download direction during more degraded propagation conditions at a single site the bit rate to that site is reduced to say 21 Mbit/s, but there is the opportunity, if the carrier is not congested, for the data block to that particular site to be tripled in length, thus maintaining the customer bit rate per whole second. Because the full bit rate down to all the other sites is maintained (in clear sky), the total carrier capacity is hardly affected.

Obviously if many or all sites in a beam are suffering from rain then there will be congestion as the total capacity available is reduced to 21 Mbit/s (10.5 kbit/s per site). A typical DVB-S2 carrier has a structure made up a blocks of different bit rates and modulation/coding types, say 64, 50 and 21 Mbit/s, and the proportion of each type, say 0.95 8PSK, 3/4 8PSK, 1/2 QPSK, will depend on the distribution of types of weather across the beam coverage.

Uplink attenuation is similarly mitigated. Good customer dish pointing should give a basic small link margin. If the customer transmit amplifier is rated at say 3 dB above the clear sky operating power then there is scope for uplink power control to deal with some uplink attenuation. Uplink burst bit rate can be reduced by half and burst length doubled. As with the downlink, the effect on everyone's service is minimal if only a few sites are affected. Obviously if all sites in a beam are affected by rain the uplink capacity is reduced, since there will not be enough time for them all to transmit with double length bursts (at half speed) to achieve the normal per-second throughput.

The above attenuation mitigation methods can reliably deal with attenuations of around 5 - 6 dB, thus dealing with all but the most severe rain events. Given that satellite connection to the internet is the "last hope" option for many customers I think they are generally grateful for a service that works for at least 99.5% of the time, since otherwise they might have nothing at all. A very few customers have special high reliability or high bit rate needs and sales people should be careful not to mislead such people. If a customer needs an outside broadcast feeder link, for example, there is no reason why a special inbound carrier cannot be set up, perhaps using a larger customer dish and transmit amplifier.

Regarding dry snow, this is not a big deal, the problem comes when the snow melts or turns to solid ice on the dish. Carefully brush it off or use heaters.

Cost of Ka-Sat satellite: Dec 2015: Eutelsat said its Ka-Sat consumer broadband satellite, in service since 2011, cost some 4 million euros per Gbps. The satellite has 90 Gbps of throughput.

Many local, national or pan-European service providers/resellers exist throughout Europe whose role is to help customers with equipment installation and maintenance - plus collecting the money to help pay for the system. Many service providers/resellers trade Europe-wide so you don't need to feel obliged to go to your local company if you have heard of better technical support from other companies. Self installation is encouraged, particularly in remote locations, to keep costs to the customer down.  If you have technical problems you may always discuss them here in this website in my Tooway satellite internet Forum.

The Tooway network is based on the Wildblue system of the USA

KA-SAT was successfully launched on 26 Dec 2010

KA-SAT uses 27.5-29.5 GHz for the uplinks from the hub gateway earth stations.
KA-SAT uses 29.5-30 GHz for the uplinks from the customer VSAT terminals.
KA-SAT uses 17.7-19.7 GHz for the downlinks to the hub gateway earth stations.
KA-SAT uses 19.7-20.2 GHz for the downlinks to the customer VSAT terminals.

Each spot beam provided 250 MHz bandwidth.

2009: This European Ka band satellite internet access service is called Tooway and is a service provided by Eutelsat via their teleport operator agent Skylogic in Italy. It will help make use of the Ka band transponder payload capacity on the Hotbird 6 satellite at 13 deg east longitude and is intended to provide a cost effective solution to the problem of providing satellite internet access for people in remote areas who cannot get ADSL or cable broadband.  The service will be very similar to Wildblue/Telesat service that has been provided in the US and Canada for several years with great success.

Surfbeam modem: customer indoor unit
Indoor Surfbeam modem from ViaSat,

Tooway  customer dish terminal
26 inch diameter Ka band antenna

Tooway is intended to provide satellite internet access for domestic and small business customers in remote locations in Europe within the beam coverages shown. The downlink is a single broad beam covering Europe. The uplink comprises several smaller Ka band spot beams to obtain higher uplink G/T and thus permit lower transmit eirp from the small earth stations.

Contact click >  sales@bentleywalker.com

Tooway resellers.

Service offered now is  available on KA-SAT (9 east) with coverage of all Europe plus parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

The service is operated by Skylogic (Italy) and is available to end user customers only via reseller companies.

Service resellers:

Bentley Walker

Ormesat (North Wales)

Legacy systems still operate in Europe and North Africa on beam coverages provided by Hotbird 6 Ka band and Eurobird 3 for Ku band.

In Dec 2010 Eutelsat launched a dedicated Ka band satellite, called KA-SAT. This has 82 Ka band spot beams covering Europe and parts of the North Africa coast in a more comprehensive fashion.  Launch date was 26 Dec 2010. The total capacity is approx 70 Gbit/s divided amongst a hoped for 2 million customer VSAT terminals use a Raven 77 x 72 cm diameter dish model number RA4075N-010. The terrestrial infrastructure will comprise eight ViaSat Surfbeam hubs. Operational service commenced 31st May 2011.

Tooway spot beam coverage
Click the image for more detailed spot beam footprints.

Spot beams include Markesh, Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, Benghazi, Libya, Cairo, Egypt, UAE and Shiraz, Iran, Northern Iraq and Azerbaijan.

Tooway dish pointing

Preliminary map showing approximate positions of the beam centres and also my guess about type of beam 1 to 4.  Make sure you select the best one for your site, bearing in mind that you may be able to see good signals from as many as 3 beams.

There are also hub beams associated with each of the 8+2 VSAT hub sites: Hellas Sat Teleport in Kofinou, Larnaca, Cyprus; Rambouillet, France; Cork, Ireland; Arganda Madrid, Spain; Berlin, Germany;  Turin, Italy; Scanzano, Italy; Udine, Italy; Athens, Greece; Helsinki, Finland; where the satellite network meets with the terrestrial optic fibre internet backbone.

Tooway  Ka band downlink Eurobeam coverage
Tooway Ka band downlink beam coverage - Hotbird 6 at 13 deg east

Tooway  uplink spot beam coverage
Tooway Ka band uplink spot beam coverage - Hotbird 6 at 13 deg east

Advanced coding/modulation and dynamic rain fade mitigation techniques are used to minimise outages during heavy rain. The return links and capacity are dynamically assigned to make best use of the satellite capacity available. A variety of peak speeds are offered with corresponding tariffs. The system incorporates an integrated performance enhancing proxy (PEP) with pre-fetch to speed up browsing and downloads.

Ka band frequency plan on HotBird 6 satellite
Ka band frequency plan on HotBird 6 satellite showing downlink transponder and uplink spot beam transponders.  Note the beacon frequency is 19701 MHz, Horizontal nominal polarisation.
It is not known if this 'Horizontal' is in fact parallel with the equator or tilted 3.5 deg.

All Spanish and French terminals receive the same downstream that is the French one as downlink coverage is the same for both K153 (Spanish) and K159 (French) transponder.  The difference is that Spanish terminals will transmit on K153 while French ones will transmit on K159 as the uplink has a different coverage.

It is a pity that Eutelsat are not using circular polarisation (as used for Wildblue) as that would have made a big difference to the mass market installation problem by eliminating the need for skilled installers. Tooway satellite installers wanted.

There is a legacy Tooway  satellite service in Ku band operation on Eurobird 3 satellite with this composite downlink coverage pattern, which is made up of 5 Ku band spot beams:
EuroBird 3 at 33E, Ku band coverage in beams A, C and D,
Including Western Europe, Scandinavia and Turkey.

Tooway satellite broadband map includes Spain, Finland and Turkey

Eurobird 3 Spot D Uplink G/T contours
Eurobird 3 Spot D Uplink G/T contours - relevant to operation on Albania, Greece, Turkey area + elsewhere

Eurobird 3 Spot D Downlink eirp contours
Eurobird 3 Spot D Downlink eirp contours

Future plans by Eutelsat are for a dedicated Ka band satellite, called KA_SAT.  This will have multiple Ka band spot beams and cover Europe in a more comprehensive fashion.  Launch date: 26 Dec 2010.

From 1st July 2009 the speed of the Tooway satellite broadband service will be increased to (up to) 3.6 Mbps from (up to) 2 Mbps. Maximum uplink speeds have also increased to 384 kbps for all customers. In addition, overnight usage (FAP) volumes will be discounted by 50% between midnight and 6am GMT to reward use of the satellite network at times of traditional low usage. Following launch of KA-SAT satellite in Dec 2010, satellite broadband download speeds are expected to be raised to up to 10Mbps.

Page started 31 Jan 2008.   Page last amended 23 June 2021