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Basic difference between L band, C band, Ku band, and Ka, band

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Posted: 20 Jan, 2014
by: Gedanken J.
Updated: 20 Jan, 2014
by: Gedanken J.

What is the difference between L band, C band, Ku band, and Ka, band?

- This document aims to provide a simple and terse explanation in layman’s term of the  differences between L band, C band, Ku band, and Ka  band.

Each of these frequencies is used for a different reason; with their own advantages and disadvantages

The higher you go in frequency the more bandwidth is available, but the equipment needs to be more sophisticated. However, this does not necessarily signify an overall cost increase.

L band (IEEE 1-2Ghz) is used as an intermediate frequency for transmission over copper wiring from a LNB (low noise block down converter converter) from C, Ka, or Ku signals to internal devices such as a demodulator in closed teleport or SNG systems. L band, because of its easier reception in adverse conditions and low cost of technology is a commodity

(30cm or 12in dish needed). There is not much L band bandwidth available for commercial video broadcasting purposes.

In the figure below you can see a carrier being analyzed at 1000MHz


C band (IEEE 4-8Ghz) frequencies weather conditions such as a rain storm are used for a number of purposes. They perform better in poor weather conditions compared to other RF transmission bands such as Ku or Ka.

They are used commonly for Cruise ship telecommunications because of their large “foot print” or beam. C band is also used for terrestrial microwave links and satellite TV transmissions.

Transmissions in C band require larger antennas for transmission and reception of the signal. They also require more power or amplification for broadcasting a signal.

Above: C band antenna

Ku band (12-18Ghz) is commonly used for satellite video transmission and some VSAT connections as well. Considering it has more bandwidth available it is typically less expensive than C band. Ku band coverage is generally by regional spot beams.