VSATs and RF over Fiber 

The challenge for VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) where the antenna (Dish) and the command center are not collocated has always been the limited reach of the RF cabling.  Using a RF over Fiber link, the distance between the antenna and the operation center can be extended from a few meters to few kilometers without any signal degradation.  The VSAT location / Operating Center often requires building modifications, but using a fiber based VSAT system offers the following benefits: 

  • The VSAT outdoor equipment can be in the most convenient location for the user. 
  • Infrastructure cabling can take the most convenient path due to the fact of the low loss, EMI/RFI immunity of fiber optic cabling. 
  • High capacity functionality architecture   
  • In many application VSATs are used for military applications. The fiber interface allows for safe operation of the equipment at a safe distance in hostile environments.  The flexibility to deploy the antenna quickly, away from a tactical command center, is the reason RF over fiber has been utilized for more than a decade. 
  • Easy installation using only a single strand of fiber, for simple plug-play set up.  
  • Low maintenance  

The architecture shown below demonstrates a typical bidirectional VSAT system. This equipment can support ground deployment, campuses, mining/offshore and building requirements. These scenarios create a challenge for traditional VSAT systems.  RF over Fiber based VSAT systems can be deployed to provide the necessary coverage with minimal effort.  Available remote monitoring makes the system management very simple from a central location. 

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