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Ku Band and Compatible Products Resource Guide

Ku band is one of the major technologies used today for high-speed satellite Internet, most commonly in the maritime and air industries. Whether it is being used for business or pleasure, users out at sea or flying high in the sky want the fastest and most reliable experience possible. With the high-speed internet access we’re used to back home, it’s difficult to give that up when leaving ground (plus it’s often a requirement of today’s industries to function properly.) The performance of ku band systems are making that a reality worldwide. 

 

What is Ku band?

Ku-band (which stand for kurz-under) is the mid-range bandwidth portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the frequency range of 12 – 18 GHz (to include uplink and downlink.) Though it technically has a lower frequency and bandwidth than the ka-band (kurz-above) frequency, ku band is known for its reliability when used in VSAT (very small aperture terminal) systems on ships, commercial aircraft, and by NASA in space.

Extensive improvements have been made to ku band in its connectivity and coverage area in recent years. Ku-band systems now offer overlapping, multi-satellite coverage over lands and oceans for robust, reliable coverage. According to this paper on Ka and Ku Operational Considerations, ku band’s resilient coverage is even considered a strategic feature of the military. That’s quite the stamp of approval on its quality.

Benefits of Utilizing the Ku Band Frequency

What you want to know is, will the ku band frequency work when you need it to and is it the proper choice of satellite communication for you and your team?

Let’s take a look at the advantages of choosing a satellite terminal that operates on the ku band frequency.

Features of ku-band include:

  1. Ku band satellites (vary in size from 2′ to 5′ in diameter) are generally smaller than C-band satellites, making them ideal in situations where there is a limited area for install
  2. High-power signals
  3. The power of uplinks and downlinks can be increased as needed
  4. often preferable over lower frequency microwave bands is that shorter wavelengths can separate the signals of different communication satellites with a smaller parabolic antenna
  5. It offers flexibility with freedom from terrestrial operations making it easier to find a properly functioning dish site
  6. It is generally a cheaper option than C band
  7. Less vulnerable to rain fade than ka-band

Ku band satellite devices are not always used alone. In fact, they are often used to complement C-band frequency systems commonly used on cruise ships or on oil & gas platforms for ultimate reliability. 

For more about Ku Band read: “Ku Band and Its Use in Satellite Communications.”

Ku Band Products

Once you’ve determined that accessing satellite internet via ku band is the right choice for your personal or business communication needs, you need to choose the right device to enable that connection. Here we will be highlighting Kymeta options for ku band as well as referencing other top of the line choices to get the device that best suits your requirements.

Kymeta

Kymeta is a U.S. based satellite communications company that enables reliable connectivity on mobile platforms. They offer the Kymeta U7 in three different variations to meet the ku band needs of any user. Kymeta is addressing the need for lightweight and high-throughput communication whether that’s needed on the move, in the middle of the ocean, in a remote mining site, and more.

Kyway U7 8W BUC Terminal with Modem

The Kyway U7 8W BUC terminal offers revolutionary mobile connectivity by offering a high-throughput ku band system in a lightweight and low-profile design. This “Satcom on the Move” terminal is the complete package with Block Up Converter (BUC) and iDirect modem. Whatever vehicle or vessel you need to connect, this product will meet the demands required for a reliable and fast connection.

Additional features of the Kyway U7 include:

  1. Easy install – no satellite technician required
  2. Flat-panel design is perfect for low profile installation
  3. Lower power consumption than other flat panel terminals
  4. Speeds up to 4Mbps down and 1 Mbps up
  5. Easily operable with simple power-on startup
  6. Fast tracking capability, even when on the go
  7. Great for moving vessels and vehicles
  8. Reliable even on rough seas or terrain

Kyway U7 16W BUC Terminal with Modem

You can continue to brave the elements and rely on the seamless connectivity as the U7 8W when you upgrade to the Kyway U7 16W BUC Terminal with Modem. Areas with significant rain fade may require a higher wattage of BUC power, making this a solid choice for ultimate reliability.

Kyway Go

The Kyway Go offers the ultimate solution for ku-band satellite communications on the move. This solution allows a user requiring portability to choose between the Kyway U7 8W BUC Terminal or Kyway U7 16W BUC terminal and integrate it into a transportable and ruggedized case. 

For some, fixed installation on a vessel, vehicle or a site is not ideal. Instead, you may require a portable ku band system that you can take anywhere to get satellite internet whenever and wherever you need it. That’s exactly what the Kyway Go can do.

Additional features of the Kyway Go include:

  1. Get all the incredible features of the Kyway U7 but in two weather-resistant, rugged and transportable cases
  2. One case houses the Kymeta mTenna antenna subsystem module while the other holds the interface unit which includes the modem 
  3. Ready for any environment
  4. Ideal for transport on commercial aircraft or shipping vehicles
  5. One-button operation 
  6. Mounting points for securing the Kyway Go to a number of platforms
Compare Kymeta Kyway Go Kymeta Kyway U7 8W BUC Terminal with Modem Kymeta Kyway U7 16W BUC Terminal with Modem
Network Kalo Kalo Kalo
Outdoor Unit dimensions L 38.5” x W 38.5” x H 14.5” L 32.4 in. x W 32.4 in. x H 6.4 in. 1.L 32.4 in. x W 32.4 in. x H 6.4 in..
Outdoor Unit Total Weight Approx 110 lb +46.5 lb +46.5 lb
Rx/Tx frequency range 11.4 – 12.4 GHz (Rx)/14.0-14.5 GHz (Tx)/td> 11.4 – 12.4 GHz (Rx)/ 14.0 – 14.5 GHz (Tx) 11.4 – 12.4 GHz (Rx)/ 14.0 – 14.5 GHz (Tx)
Rx/Tx Gain -33.0 dB (Rx)/32.5 dB (Tx -33.0 dB (Rx)/32.5 dB (Tx) -33.0 dB (Rx)/32.5 dB (Tx)
Tracking Rate >20°/second ->20°/second ->20°/second
Input Power >110-240 VAC 50-60 Hz 600 W peak, 325 W typica ->20°/second ->20°/second
Temperature range >-25°C to +55°C (operational), -40°C to +75°C (storage) >-25°C to +55°C (operational), -40°C to +75°C (storage) >-25°C to +55°C (operational), -40°C to +75°C (storage
Portable Case-System Included Not Included Not Included
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Intellian Ku band Products

Intellian products are another top choice for ku-band satellite internet. These maritime VSAT terminals offer a reliable internet connection for the entire duration of your time on the world’s waterways, even when conditions turn rough. Users will also appreciate that each system is future-proofed for what comes next. 

We cover these extensively in our Satellite Internet at Sea Guide, but here’s a snapshot at two top products from Intellian. 

Intellian v85x

 

The embedded dual antenna system of the v85nx eliminates the loss of signal. For tight spaces, this smaller footprint 85 cm is the perfect way to go. Modularized components means the maintenance of this antenna system is simpler, while providing more reliability and a lower cost.

Intellian v100nx

 

The robust v100NX offers ultimate flexibility with the quick-change Ku- to Ka-band convertible antenna. Its reflector and radome are frequency tuned for both satellite bands, meaning you get the best performance possible on both bands. 

Compare Intellian V85NX Intellian V100NX
Network Inmarsat Fleet Xpress Inmarsat Fleet Xpress
Reflector Sizes 85 cm 105 cm
Above Deck Unit Weight 211 pounds +249 pounds
Block Upconverter (BUC) Power 8W, 16W, 25W (optional) 8W, 16W, 25W (optional)
Stabilization Accuracy -0.2° peak miss-pointing @max ship motion condition 0.2° peak miss-pointing @ max ship motion condition
TX (transmit) frequency 13.75 ~ 14.5 GHz Ku-band 13.75 ~ 14.5 GHz Ku-band
RX (receive) frequency >10.7 ~ 12.75 GHz Ku-band 10.7 ~ 12.75 GHz Ku-band
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SAILOR Ku band Products

SAILOR by Cobham offer maritime VSAT solutions to keep you connected across the world’s oceans. Time and again this technology platform has proven its ability to offer the utmost speed and reliability even over the waterways where accessing internet can be a challenge. These future proofed products give users peace of mind that their investment will be the perfect satellite communication option for years to come. 

We cover these extensively in our Satellite Internet at Sea Guide, but here’s a snapshot of two top products from SAILOR

Sailor 800 VSAT Ku

 

If you’re operating a small vessel, the smaller and lighter 83 cm SAILOR 800 antenna is a high-performing VSAT solution. Even in the most unstable conditions out to see, this antenna system provides the reliable and top-speed internet and quality voice functionality to keep you connected without fail. Ease of use and dual antenna configuration are just two more features that make this a great choice.

Sailor 900 VSAT Ku

For those requiring top speeds on larger vessels, the SAILOR 900 meets the demand. Whether your requirements include streaming, downloading, internet surfing, or data messaging, this device provides the speed and reliability required to do so. This flexible dual antenna solution is able to avoid the internet interruptions and outages that are common at sea because of its superior radio frequency and dynamics. 

Compare SAILOR 800 VSAT Ku Intellian V100NX
Network Inmarsat Inmarsat
Block Upconverter (BUC) Power 6W standard; upgradeable to 20W 20W extended frequency
Total System Power Consumption 330 W peak, 140 W typical (up to 6 W BUC) +370 W peak, 175 W typical (up to 8 W BUC)
Above Deck Unit Weight 275 pounds 279 – 287 pounds
Stabilization Accuracy -83 cm 103 cm
TX (transmit) frequency IPx6 sprayproof IPx6 sprayproof
Operational Temperature -13 degrees to 131 degrees F -13 degrees to 131 degrees F
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