downlink and uplink

These terms should not be confused with downstream and upstream.

These terms should not be confused with downstream and upstream.

In satellite telecommunication, a downlink is the link from a satellite down to one or more ground stations or receivers, and an uplink is the link from a ground station up to a satellite. Some companies sell uplink and downlink services to television stations, corporations, and to other telecommunication carriers. A company can specialize in providing uplinks, downlinks, or both.

The following table shows the main frequency bands used for satellite links.

Frequency Band Downlink Uplink
C 3,700-4,200 MHz 5,925-6,425 MHz
Ku 11.7-12.2 GHz 14.0-14.5 GHz
Ka 17.7-21.2 GHz 27.5-31.0 GHz

The C band is the most frequently used. The Ka and Ku bands are reserved exclusively for satellite communication but are subject to rain attenuation. Some satellites carry transponders for both C and Ku bands.

This was first published in May 2007

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