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Chapter 1 - Basics on Satellite Internet Equipment


There are five components of every VSAT system:

  1. The Dish Reflector & Radio Electronics
  2. The Gateway IDU (In Door Unit)
  3. The Coax Cables that connect the radio equipment to the IDU
  4. Laptop Computer - The installers laptop is used for system activation. It will be replaced by the customers LAN or computer later on.
  5. The Client Router (if present). Note that a Ground Control installation is to provide connectivity to one connected computer directly from the satellite gateway. We do no support clients local networking issues. If the customer wishes to have you configure their network, that is a separate contract that they will negotiate with you directly.

1. The Satellite Dish (Reflector) and Radio Equipment

The satellite dish itself is simply a reflector that redirects the satellite signal to focus on the Feed Horn.  If you were to break open the white plastic portion of the dish, you would see that inside is a wire mesh that is the part that actually reflects the signal.

The LNB (Low Noise Block) RECEIVES the satellite signal from space. The Transmitter (or BUC " Block Up Converter") TRANSMITS to the satellite in orbit. The cone shaped feed horn is designed to cut down ambient signal noise. The Wave Guide directs horizontal or vertical polarity signals to and from both the LNB and BUC. The polarity of the signal is determined by the shape of the waveguide.

close up of the feedhorn
Looking at the feed horn, you can see the rings that help cut down on ambient signals. Only signals from the satellite dish should reach the LNB.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Visually check the sealed feed horn is completely dry. If not, it will have to be replaced, (or resealed if possible). Water droplets that form on the feed horn will refract and redirect radio waves so that system becomes unusable.

Taken together, the Reflector, LNB, BUC and Waveguide are called the Antenna, because the satellite communication uses standard radio frequencies to communicate between dish and satellite.

how the dish works
The LOOK ANGLE is the actual direction of the orbiting satellite if measured from the horizon. On the dish above, the look angle is not discernible from either perpendicular from the dish plane, or the feed horn direction. The 1.2 meter Galileo satellite dish has look angle offset of 17.3 degrees from the dish's perpendicular point, or 34.6 degree offset from the LNB (17.3 x 2 = 34.6 degrees).

The look angle for your installation will be on the installer sheet. You may
use a inclinometer to help point the dish, keeping in mind the 34.6 degree offset.

INTERESTING NOTE - You may mount a satellite dish upside down as shown below. This technique is useful to hide the reflector from view on top of a building, although the radio will itself be seen.
trick technique
If you do mount the dish upside down, make sure that no water can pool in the dish if it rains.

2. The Satellite Gateway (IDU)

The IDU "In Door Unit" is the satellite gateway for which the client LAN or your laptop are connected.

Pictured below is an iDirect gateway:

There are only 4 cables that connect to the back of the gateway. Power, Ethernet, Transmit and Receive. Note the Transmitter cable is marked RED, and the Receive Cable is Blue. Make sure to color code the cables at BOTH ENDS to avoid installation confusion.

Picture below is a Galileo gateway:

3. The Coax Cables - Belden 1694A

Both iDirect and Galileo systems uses a high-grade Belden coax cable, and NOT the standard RG-6 that is used in the satellite TV industry.  Belden 1694A coax comes shipped on a 300' spool.  Knowing this, you should keep your dish within a maximum cable run of 150 feet to the IDU.

4. Installers Laptop

Every Installation will require a Windows 2000, XP, or 7 compatible laptop with a Cross-Over Ethernet cable to commission the satellite gateway.  Make sure that you prep your laptop with the appropriate software prior to going on any installation - specifically, the iSite software for the iDirect systems, and the CPE Wizard software for a Galileo system.

Eash laptop should have:

Internet Explorer, or any other browser to check to make sure the satellite is online and to access the gateway via it's IP address.

The Training CD-ROM: Easy Access to every step of the process of doing an installation. This may be your only guide in the field.

iSite - The commissioning software for the iDirect gateway.

CPE Installation Wizard - The commissioning software for the Galileo gateway

Satmaster QuickAim - (Optional) With a GPS handheld device, you can find the pointing parameters for any satellite from any location on earth. A very handy application for all satellite installers. The Superbuddy satellite pointing tool has an integrated sat-finder so the Satmaster QuickAim is not required.


5. The Client Router

After you've commissioned the satellite gateway, you may connect the working connection from your laptop to the customer router or LAN.  If the customer does not have a router, they will need to purchase one from any electronics store. We recommend the Linksys WRT54G router, however, any router will work.

Remember... the installer (or Ground Control) is not responsible for configuring the customers network as part of a VSAT installation. However, you may negotiate a contract with the customer directly if they wish to employ your services to configure their network.

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