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Difference between Satellite Communication and Optical Communication

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  • Last Updated : 04 Aug, 2022
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Satellite Communication: In satellite communication, geostationary communication satellites are used for the purpose of communication. A satellite works as a relay station in space through which communication takes place anywhere in the world. It takes the signal from one earth station, amplifies it, enhances the quality of signals, and transmits it back to the receiving earth stations. Solar panels are mainly used in satellites for the completion of power requirements. 

Optical Communication: Optical communication is broadly used in the backbone of networks as data rates are very high. In optical communication, optical fibers are used for the purpose of communication. The signals from the sender’s side to the receiver’s side are carried through the light rays. The signals are not affected by electrical or electromagnetic interference in optical communication. It does not need amplifiers as transmission losses in the fiber are low. The difference between Satellite Communication and Optical Communication are as follows:

Satellite CommunicationOptical Communication
Satellite communication uses electromagnetic waves as a medium for propagation.Optical communication uses light rays as a medium of propagation.
In satellite communication, satellites as a relay stations are used for communication.In optical communication, communication happens via optical fiber.
In satellite communication, for transmission and reception of signals special type of antennas are needed.In optical communication, no special antennas are needed for communication.
It supports mobility.It does not support mobility because of the working within fixed locations.
Satellite communication has less bandwidth and transmission rates compared to optical communication.Optical communication offers greater bandwidth and transmission rates.
Air is the transmission medium in satellite communication.While in optical communication, fiber is the transmission medium.
It suffers greatly from EMI (Electromagnetic Interference).There is negligible EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) or no Electromagnetic Interference in the case of optical communication.
Each transponder in satellite communication supports a bandwidth of 36 MHz and holds 12 channels simultaneously.Optical fiber supports a bandwidth of a very large range and one cable combines many fibers.
It is best to use satellite communication where it is hard to lay communication lines such as rough areas, poorly connected ones, etc.It is best to use in plain areas or urban areas having good infrastructure where wires are easy to lay.
Satellite communication is convenient and effective for very long-distance communication.For point to point short distance communication, optical communication is appropriate and effective.
There is delay in transmission with satellite communication.There is negligible or no delay with optical communication.
The cost of installation is very expensive.The cost of installation is very less compared to satellite communication.
It is not as reliable as optical communication as it is more prone to errors.It provides more reliable communication.
It is preferable for broadcasting purposes.It is preferable for real-time applications.

Examples-

  • TV
  • Radio services
  • Mountain terrains, and more.

Examples-

  • Landline phones
  • Cable TV networks
  • Gigabit LANs, and more.
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