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Satellite and Hybrid Networks

Second Semester - Spring
  • Objectives of the course:

To provide students with a good knowledge of the actual as well as future architecture of modern satellite networks, understanding their specific applications. Contents of the course are the following: satellite-based mobile communications systems (MSS and AMSS), digital video and audio satellite broadcasting (DVB-SH, DVB-SS2, DVB-RCS and hybrid networks), and the emerging technologies.

To provide the opportunity to work in projects doing active research in one of the standards described in the theory seminars.

  • Description of the course:

The research project will be the main topic of the course, being the theoretical and problem solving classes oriented as short seminars to describe for each standard: physical as well as link layers, engineering and planning issues, and services. Seminars are lectures, examples and problem solving sessions fostering discussion between participants.

Researchers from relevant companies, participating at national and international level on the standardisation forums, operators or manufacturers,  will be invited to explain their platforms and research projects (for example ESA, Hispasat, Mier, Abertis and others) . Also we plan to foster the visits of researchers from other universities asking them to collaborate in one session.


(T, P, C, H, L, Pr stand for Theory, Problems, Complementary work, Homework, Laboratory, Project, respectively).


1. Digital video broadcasting by satellite (6T+2P+2C+2H)

  • Requirements for video transmission networks
  • Compression and multiplexing technologies: Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) family of standards: MPEG 2 and MPEG 4.
  • Digital Video Broadcasting standards DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-SH:
      - Coding and interleaving
      - Bit and carrier synchronisation
      - Quality of Service (QoS) parameters (RSSI, C/N, Eb/No, MER, BER,..) and requirements.
  • DTH architecture, high-power and medium-power satellites to serve small receivers and digital set-top boxes; channel coding for performance
  • Channel Models and propagation
  • Link budget
  • Case study: analyze with detail the DVB-SH system comparing performances and system requirements with DVB-S and DVB-S2.

Guest lecturer (Hispasat): DVB-S and DVB-S2 standards

2. DVB-RCS Return Channel by Satellite (4T+2P+2H)

  • DVB-RCS Standard and Interactivity
  • DVB-RCS services  and applications
  • QoS parameters and requirements.

3. Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) (4T+2P+2C+2H)

  • Definitions: the orbiting satellites, gateway earth stations and network control, user terminals and mobile handsets, MSS constraints.
  • Orbits: geosynchronous (parameters, coverage footprints, access area), non-geosynchronous orbits (altitude versus propagation delay, number of satellites, and orbit period), satellite size and cost according to orbit (power, life-cycle)
  • Link budget (mobile link fading)
  • Coverage of MSS versus terrestrial cellular (rural, urban, indoor). Dual mode handsets
  • Service availability, voice and data quality, QoS parameters and MOS scores.
  • Air interface details: call handling and connection, roaming, network control and demand assignment.
  • Regulation: spectrum allocation, new applications and relation with broadband systems.
  • Digital Video Broadcasting standards – enhanced DVB-S2 and DVB-RCS+M
- Channel models
- MPE-FEC at IP level
Hybrid networks. Generic hybrid architectures. Hybrid architecture based on DVB-RCS

Guest lecturer (European Space Agency): the New DVB-SH Standard: Capabilities, Performances and First Field Trials Results

  • Example: the INMARSAT system. Systems: IRIDIUM, GLOBALSTAR.
  • Case study: compare MSS systems with DVB-SH

4. Aeronautical Mobiles Satellite Service (AMSS) (2T+2H)

  • AMSS and AMS(R)S (Route) technologies
  • Next Generation Satellite Services (NGSS)
  • Safety communications: Air Traffic Services (ATS) & Aeronautical Operational Control (AOC)
  • Non Safety Communications: Aeronautical Administrative Communications (AAC) & Aeronautical Public Correspondence (APC)(including broadband services in aircrafts)

5. Emerging SATCOM technologies (6T+2C+2H)

  • Applicability of MIMO technologies to SATCOM
  1. Diversity vs multiplexing gains
  2. Broadcasting channel
  3. MAC channel
  4. Precoding techniques
  • Applicability of Network Coding concepts to SATCOM
  1. Relay Channel
  2. Network coding


The project will be a case study of an integrated system. The system should be selected at the first week of class, so the student could apply all the concepts as soon as possible to the chosen system. The work should include a review of spectrum/regulatory strategy and results.
Project phases will be (example in case of designing a VSAT application):

  1. Recollection of information and requirements network (locations to be served, number of users, applications)
  2. Satellite selection: area to be covered, available satellites, Advantages/inconvinients of leasing or buying resources.
  3. Network design, link budget, interference analysis and reduction
  4. Satellite capacity, throughput requirements: average data, busy hour considerations, latency, reponse time, QoS objectives
  5. VSAT and HUB equipment,
  6. Operation and maintenance aspects: tests to be periodically done.
  7. Elaboration of a technical report (project plan, specifications, test requirements, O&M plan), public presentation in an internal workshop.
  • Assessment:

Continuous assessment (written exams or tests): 40%
Research Project: 60%

  • Number of credits:

5 ECTS – Second semester

  • Faculty:

Silvia Ruiz (coordinator), Jose Salcedo, Maria Angeles Vazquez, Joan Olmos, Francesc Rey and Javier Villares

  • Selected references:


  1. MARAL, G., BOUSQUET, M. Satellite communications systems. 3rd ed. Wiley, 1998
  2. GORDON, G.D., MORGAN, W.L. Principles of communications satellites. Wiley, 1993
  3. HA, T. Digital Satellite communications. Macmillan, 1986
  4. BRUCE ELBERT, The Satellite Communication Applications Handbook, Second Edition, (Artech House, 2004)
  5. BRUCE ELBERT, Introduction to Satellite Communication, Second Edition (Artech House, 1999).
  6. GIOVANNI E. CORAZZA (Editor), Digital Satellite Communications, Springer 2007
  7. GIAMBENE, GIOVANNI (Editor), Resource Management in Satellite Networks: Optimization and Cross-Layer Design, Spriner 2007


  1. MARAL, G. VSAT Networks. Wiley, 1995
  2. PATTAN, B. Satellite-Based global cellular communications. McGraw-Hill, 1998