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Meaning of Satellite Communication and How It Works With Internet and Media Imperialism


Satellite Communication is the the use of artificial satellites to provide communication links between various points on Earth via electromagnetic waves. It helps to relay analog and digital signals carrying voice, video, and data to and from one or many locations worldwide or relay information through television, telephone, radio, internet, and military applications.


It is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunications signals via a transponder, therefore creating communication channel between a source transmitter and a receiver at different locations on Earth.


It is the communication that takes place between any two earth stations through a satellite by the use of electromagnetic waves.

How a Satellite Works
Diagram by TutorialsPoint

So clearly, the services provided by satellite communications are voice and video calling, internet, fax, television and radio channels and because of its electromagnetic capabilities it can reach a longer distance.

Satellite Communication has two main components:

- the ground segment - which consists of fixed or mobile transmission, reception, and ancillary equipment, and
- the space segment - which primarily is the satellite itself.

"A typical satellite link involves the transmission or uplinking of a signal from an Earth station to a satellite. The satellite then receives and amplifies the signal and retransmits it back to Earth, where it is received and reamplified by Earth stations and terminals. Satellite receivers on the ground include direct-to-home (DTH) satellite equipment, mobile reception equipment in aircraft, satellite telephones, and handheld devices."

Image result for satellite communication
Diagram by Intelsat General Corporation

Examples Satellite Communication Companies in Nigeria are:

- Afcom Satellite Networks Ltd

- Vodacom

- Cabletronics Technical Company

- DAAR Communications Plc

- Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT)

- Securenet SatComs Systems Ltd

- ZTF-ICT Solutions Limited

- VG Technologies Limited

- Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat)

- World Telecom Lab

Related: NigeriaCom 2018: Complete Report and Review

Features of Satellite Communications

- satellites used in satellite communications are usually in geostationary orbit. Some of them are placed in highly elliptical orbits.

- satellite communications can provide global availability. It can not only land masses but also maritime areas as well. Large distances can thus be covered quiet easily.

- satellite communication is the superior reliability unlike other forms of communication. It does not need terrestrial infrastructure for operation.

- satellite communication could provide superior performance as uniformity and speed are much more pronounced than other forms of communication.

- scalability is higher in case of satellite communications.

- deployment cost is higher than most forms of communications in case of satellite communications.

- as it is less vulnerable than other forms of communication, it is highly used in defense departments.

- satellite communications provide weather information.

- it can be helpful during times of disasters as the services rarely fail.

- high amount of data can be transmitted with the help of satellites.

- communication satellite comprises of a transponder, antenna, communication payload, switching systems, command, and control system.

Advantages of Satellite Communication

- Area of coverage is more than that of terrestrial systems

- Each and every corner of the earth can be covered - Flexiblity

- Transmission cost is independent of coverage area or Distances are easily covered

- More bandwidth and broadcasting possibilities

- Ease in installing new circuits

- User can control the network

Disadvantages Satellite Communication

- Launching of satellites into orbits is a costly process.

- Propagation delay of satellite systems is more than that of conventional terrestrial systems.

- Difficult to provide repairing activities if any problem occurs in a satellite system.

- Free space loss is more

- Congestion of frequencies.

- Interference and propagation

Satellite Communication and Internet

Satellite Communication via Internet, otherwise known as Satellite Internet Access is the internet access provided through satellite by telecommunications network provided from their orbital communication stations.

For example, YahClick is a wireless network distribution company owned by a private company called, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) - a company that provides multipurpose satellite solutions (government and commercial) for broadband, broadcast, government, and communications.

They distribute wireless network through a satellite receiver which receives and sends information or data to the main satellite above which is controlled by their internet backbone which through a gateway.

Photo by Fadaka Louis - YahClick explanatory diagram of satellite and internet

It is therefore the process of you transmitting/sending and receiving information via internet to and from any part of the world as processed by satellites according to the agreement of your service provider. In Nigeria, you have 9mobile, MTN, Smile, Airtel, Swift 4G and so on. They are the internet providers, while people like Vodacom, World Telecom Lab, Yahsat and so on, are the satellite providers.

The customer outdoor equipment usually includes a small dish with a diameter 60cm to 3.7 meters. A receiver and transmit module is attached to the dish. The indoor equipment includes the indoor receive unit (IRU) and the indoor transmit unit (ITU), which are used to extract data from the broadband signals for the user’s PC and also convert the data for transmission. - Techopedia

Limitations to satellite Internet access

Latency: Latency refers to the time taken by the data to travel from your computer to the Internet and back via the satellite. Satellite Internet access may be unsuitable for interactive applications that require real time user input, like online games, video conferencing and so on. You know when your service is slow, this is why.

Rain fade: Satellite transmission is also affected by rain, snow, and other precipitation problems. In Nigeria, I know many will shout Glo, but this affects all network providers, just that some have upgraded.

Clear sky sight: A southern clear line of sight between the satellite and dish is a prerequisite in order to uniformly communicate over satellite. This sounds like MTN

Fresnel zone: The partial and inappropriate propagation of radio signals can also adversely affect the transmission over the satellite Internet access.

These reasons are why companies are shifting to fiber optic cable transmission. It gets better with Whatsapp call and so on.

Media Imperialism

This is the bias concentration of media media power and control of developed countries over developing countries. It is the "over-concentration of mass media from larger nations as a significant variable in negatively affecting smaller nations, in which the national identity of smaller nations is lessened or lost due to media homogeneity inherent in mass media from the larger countries." This is on a higher ground.

On a lower ground it is the wielding of media concentration towards a particular topic or situation, crossing all other topics in other to achieve a particular goal. A popular example in America and Nigeria is Propaganda but this is just half the case.

“Godlike, the media can change the course of a war, bring down a president or a king, elevate the lowly and humiliate the proud, by directing the attention of millions on the same event and in the same manner.” - Tony Schwartz, a television advertising specialist.

Media Imperialism can lead to

- Imbalances in a region

- Influence of intelligence agencies

- Emergence of Conglomerates and Media Monopolies

- Propaganda and media warfare

Its worst these days because of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.

In a research by Osakue Stevenson Omoera of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria  and Elo Ibagere of Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria, titled Revisiting Media Imperialism: A Review of the Nigerian Television Experience which examines media  imperialism as it  affects  television  broadcasting in Nigeria, says Media Imperialism is "still very germane to Africans, particularly Nigerians  because  there  is  limited  research  and  academic  writing  coming from  scholars  based  in  Nigeria  (Africa)  on  it." This all boils down to NBC encouraging local channels to create and provide 60 per cent original contents.

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