Preparing the C-band spectrum for the co-sharing of space with 5G has been a complicated reshuffle. By December 2023, not only must every registered C-band antenna be in compliance with the FCC!s mandated spectrum re-allocation, some Ku-band radio customers must be rehomed, as well.
Sounds like an exhausting game of musical chairs, doesn’t it?
The orbital satellite SES 3, which currently houses both Ku and C-band transponders, is being replaced by one of four shiny, new c-band only
satellites being launched in the next two months.
Did you catch that? The C-band only part?
In spite of the fact the C-band repack is being funded by the multi-billion dollar 5G industry, the federal government is only investing in less
expensive, C-band only orbital satellites.
Just pointing it out.
Back to the current migration of C and Ku-band radio networks off the soon-to-be decommissioned satellite SES 3. C-band customers are being re-homed to one of the new C-band only antennas, while the Ku payload is currently in the process of migrating to SES 2.
As you can imagine, this re-shuffling is getting pretty complicated. We are involved in weekly consultations with SES, ensuring our customers!” interests are being protected. Since roughly 70% of our radio clients are Ku-band users, we have a vested interest in ensuring this mass transition goes smoothly.
The “when” and “how” of the transition process varies, depending upon our clients’ resources. That’s why we not only coordinate with SES for a lineup of new frequencies, we also negotiate the optimal time each of our customers will need to make the transition.
We!re transitioning each Ku network one at a time. Each ku network that SES has assigned to move in 2022 has been notified, and has either
already completed the move or are in the queue to transition this year. The rest will make the jump in 2023.
While the WHEN of the transition is fairly clear-cut, the HOW varies from customer to customer.
Our clients with fully redundant systems – including amplifiers and uplink antennas – probably need our assistance the least. We are taking
more of an advisory role with you, while coordinating with SES on your new assignment. We review with both the satellite owner and you
regarding the peaking and cross pole alignment of the backup antenna. Once SES assigns you a new frequency, you can repoint your secondary uplink antenna to the new assigned frequency. Then, within an agreed upon period, repoint your network downlinks from SES 3 to SES 2. The dual illumination allows for a smooth transition, without the loss of programming.
Our clients who may not be fully redundant can utilize one of our antennas at LinkUp’s NOC as their secondary uplink during the
transition to SES 2. While coordinating the move with both the teleport and SES, your repoint will include both antenna and cross pole alignment and programming the new parameters into your uplink transmit chain. Once this process is complete, we will downlink the new signal from SES 2 at our Denver teleport and retransmit it back up on your original frequency on SES 3. This procedure takes around 30 minutes to an hour during which time your network will unfortunately be off air, but once the network
returns to on air status you will be transmitting on both SES 3 and SES 2. Now that your signal is being dual illuminated, you have the time
necessary to go out in the field and physically make the adjustments from one orbital satellite to the other, again, without a loss of programming. All of our clients can expect to hear from LinkUp frequently during the
transition. We’ll be working closely with you and SES during the entire process.
We get it. The changes we’re seeing to the satellite industry is often confusing, complicated and time-intensive. We’re here to help in any way
we can, including manpower. If you need extra hands in the field, reach out to us; we can handle some or even all of your downlink repoints, if necessary.
If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to know about the transition in further detail, drop us an email. Or reach out directly to Doug Watson, our Vice President of Field Operations (doug@linkupcommunications,com). Doug has been taking the lead with
SES and would be more than happy to address any of your questions or concerns.