Home
Technology of satellite television
Direct broadcast via satellite
Television receive-only
Early history of satellite television
Beginning of the satellite TV industry
TVRO/C-band satellite era
1990s to present of satellite television
History of Freesat
Video on demand
Reception equipment of satellite television
Technical details of satellite television



C band (IEEE)


The C band is a designation by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies ranging from 4.0 to 8.0 gigahertz (GHz); however, this definition is the one used by radar manufacturers and users, not necessarily by microwave radio telecommunications users. The C band (4 to 8 GHz) is used for many satellite communications transmissions, some Wi-Fi devices, some cordless telephones as well as some surveillance and weather radar systems.

The C-band communication satellites typically have 24 radio transponders spaced 20 MHz apart, but with the adjacent transponders on opposite polarizations. In that configuration, the transponders on the same polarization are always 40 MHz apart. Of this 40 MHz, each transponder utilizes about 36 MHz. (The unused 4.0 MHz between the pairs of transponders acts as "guard bands" for the likely case of imperfections in the microwave electronics.)

One use of the C band is for satellite communication, whether for full-time satellite television networks or raw satellite feeds, although subscription programming also exists. This use contrasts with direct-broadcast satellite, which is a completely closed system used to deliver subscription programming to small satellite dishes that are connected with proprietary receiving equipment.

The C band also includes the 5.8 GHz ISM band between 5.725 - 5.875 GHz, which is used for medical and industrial heating applications and many unlicensed short range microwave communication systems, such as cordless phones, baby monitors, and keyless entry systems for vehicles. The C-band frequencies of 5.4 GHz band [5.15 to 5.35 GHz, 5.47 to 5.725 GHz, or 5.725 to 5.875 GHz, depending on the region of the world] are used for IEEE 802.11a Wi-Fi wireless computer networks.

In response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of July 2018 from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz spectrum available for next-generation terrestrial fixed and mobile broadband services, in September 2018 the C-Band Alliance (CBA) was established by the four satellite operators, Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat that provide the majority of C-band satellite services in the US, including media distribution reaching 100 million US households. The consortium's proposal to the FCC is to act as a facilitator for the clearing and repurposing of a 200 MHz portion of C-band spectrum to accelerate the deployment of next generation 5G services while protecting incumbent users and their content distribution and data networks in the US from potential interference.

The Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union allow amateur radio operations in the frequency range 5.650 to 5.925 GHz, and amateur satellite operations are allowed in the ranges 5.830 to 5.850 GHz for down-links and 5.650 to 5.670 GHz for up-links. This is known as the 5-centimeter band by amateurs and the C band by AMSAT.