GSLV-F06 carrying GSAT-9 at the second launch pad” width=”660″ height=”auto” tw=”1200″ th=”801″ />In picture: The fully integrated GSLV-F06 carrying GSAT-9 at the second launch pad. India has long been yearning for uninhibited high-speed internet services, despite having the world’s second largest internet user base after China. The country has fallen behind numerous Asian countries in acquiring the fastest internet connectivity speeds due to infrastructure limitations and outdated satellite technology.
There is, however, some good news for the netizens of India as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has plans to introduce a new era of high-speed internet to the country with the launch of its three new communication satellites: GSAT-19 in June, followed by GSAT-11 and GSAT-20.
ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar said to Times of India (TOI):
We will launch three communication satellites. GSAT-19 in June and GSAT-11 and GSAT-20 thereafter. GSAT-19 will be launched by GSLV Mk III, Isro’s next-generation launch vehicle boosted by an indigenous cryogenic engine that is capable of carrying a four-tonne satellite to the geosynchronous transfer orbit. These satellites will use multiple spot beams (a special kind of transponder that operates on a high frequency) that will increase internet speed and connectivity. These multiple spot beams will cover the entire country.Tweet
Unlike the traditional broad beam, these new satellites will be using narrower beam known as “spot beam” which can travel faster and enable high-speed internet connectivity within a limited range of operation. As the name suggests, spot beams are concentrated high-power signals that can provide better signal reception within the specified boundaries and consequently the coverage will be limited.
The catch here is to reuse the beams multiple times over smaller areas, unlike the single broad beam sent across wider areas of coverage. The spot beams will not lose their signal strength which is the case with a single broad beam that has to travel longer distances and suffer from interference.
Tapan Misra (director of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre) sheds more light on the data-transfer speed comparison between the current-gen and next-gen GSAT satellites. Accordingly, the GSAT-19 is rated to be capable of reaching top data transfer speeds up to four gigabytes per second as opposed to existing data transfer speeds of one gigabyte per second. In other words, the GSAT-19 will offer a data transfer output which is equivalent to four existing GSATs and this output will be further multiplied with the use of up to eight beams.
The GSAT-11 (heavier version of GSAT-19) is touted to support up to 16 beams for a total attainable data transfer speed of 13 gigabytes per second. The GSAT-11 is expected to be launched by the end of 2017.
The GSAT-20 has a proposed launch set for the end of 2018 and it is expected to use two polarisations for each of its 40 beams. Thereby, it is expected to support a total of 80 beams for a net data throughput of 60-70 gigabytes per second. A recent report from the Internet and Mobile Association of India projects the country to reach a massive internet user-base of 450-465 million by June. In contrast, the country’s average connection speed is rated at a meagre 4.1Mbps.
Consequently, India has a lowly 105th position in the world’s fastest internet connectivity speed rankings behind other Asian countries, according to a recent survey report by a US-based cloud service provider. South Korea leads the pack with 26.3Mbps and followed by Hong Kong (20Mbps), Sri Lanka (6Mbps), Vietnam (6.3Mbps), and finally China (5.7Mbps).
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