Channel characterization and modeling for ka-band very small aperture terminals

Mohamed Slim Alouini*, Scott A. Borgsmiller, Paul G. Steffes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


An increasing number of commercial applications are being promoted for future Ka-band satellite communication systems. Many of these systems will involve low-margin very small aperture terminals (VSAT's). These systems are subject to important atmospheric propagation degradations that affect the quality of transmission and the link availability. The objective of this paper is to characterize the Ka-band channel and evaluate the performance degradation in VSAT's resulting from atmospheric propagation impairments. In particular, microwave propagation through a turbulent atmosphere is discussed, and the statistical characterization and modeling of tropospheric scintillation is reviewed. Moreover, the paper extends the method proposed by Filip and Vilar [1], [2] for the long-term characterization and modeling of the combined effect of rain impairments and scintillation. Specifically, the increase in noise temperature during rain events is added to the Filip-Vilar model. This leads to a fiveparameter global fading distribution that is used to predict typical Ka-band satellite link outage time. The mathematical formalism is illustrated by applying the method to the selected case of the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)-Georgia Tech experimental downlink. Numerical results confirm that both rain impairments and scintillation are important factors in the design of Ka-band VSAT systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-997
Number of pages17
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Ka-band (30/20 chz)
  • Rain
  • Satellite communications
  • Tropospheric scintillation
  • VSAT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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