ETSI Satellite Digital Radio

ETSI Satellite Digital Radio (SDR or ETSI SDR) describes a standard of satellite digital radio. It is an activity of the European standardisation organisation ETSI.

It addresses systems where a satellite broadcast directly to mobile and handheld receivers in L band or S band and is complemented by terrestrial transmitters. The broadcast content consists of multicast audio (digital radio), video (mobile TV) and data (program guide, text and graphical information, as well as off-line content). The satellite component allows geographical coverage at low cost, whereas the terrestrial component improves reception quality in built up areas. The specifications considers conditional access and Digital Rights Management.[1]

1worldspace will use ETSI SDR in its new network covering Europe from 2009.[2] Also Ondas Media has announced to use ETSI SDR.[3]

The ETSI SDR is also similar to the Sirius XM Radio, the S-DMB used in South Korea for multimedia broadcasting since May 2005, the China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting (CMMB) and the defunct MobaHo! service (2004-2009). The DVB-SH specifications, which the DVB Project has created, target similar broadcast systems as ETSI SDR.

ETSI SDR Standard

The ETSI SDR standard allows implementation of parts of such networks in an interoperable way. So far, ETSI has standardized the physical layer of the air interface (radio interface). This allows implementation of demodulators in integrated circuits. The physical layer is described by the following parts of ETSI EN 302 550:

  • ETSI EN 302 550-1-1 "Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (SES); Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) Systems; Part 1: Physical Layer of the Radio Interface; Sub-Part 1: Outer Physical Layer"
  • ETSI EN 302 550-1-2 "Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (SES); Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) Systems; Part 1: Physical Layer of the Radio Interface; Sub-Part 2: Inner Physical Layer Single Carrier Modulation"
  • ETSI EN 302 550-1-3 "Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (SES); Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) Systems; Inner Physical Layer of the Radio Interface; Part 1: Physical Layer of the Radio Interface; Sub-Part 3: Inner Physical Layer Multi Carrier Modulation"

These three parts replace the previous ETSI SDR standards ETSI TS 102 550, ETSI TS 102 551-1 and ETSI TS 102 551-2.

The following technical report contains guidelines for the use of these standards:

  • ETSI TR 102 604 Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (SES); Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) Systems; Guidelines for the use of the physical layer standards

The following technical report describes the facts and assumptions on which the SDR standards are based:

  • ETSI TR 102 525 "Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (SES); Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) service; Functionalities, architecture and technologies"

Note that in this document the word "may" replaces the word "shall" due to a decision of the ETSI Board in June 2006.

All ETSI specifications are open standards available at ETSI Publications Download Area (this will open ETSI document search engine; free registration is required to download PDF files).

See also


  1. ^ ETSI TR 102 525 v1.1.1 (2006-09) Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (SES); Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) service; Functionalities, architecture and technologies
  2. ^ WORLDSPACE(R) Satellite Radio Signs Fraunhofer IIS to Develop 'Blueprint' for European Satellite Radio Receivers
  3. ^ ONDAS Media: Helping to Set the Standards for Satellite Digital Radio in Europe (Ondas Media)

External links


1worldspace, known for most of its existence simply as 'WorldSpace', is a defunct satellite radio network that in its heyday provided service to over 170,000 subscribers in eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East, and much of Asia with 96% coming from India. It was profitable in India, with 450,000 subscribers.Timbre Media along with Saregama India planned to relaunch the company.The satellites AfriStar and AsiaStar however are now being used by the Yazmi USA, LLC run by WorldSpace's former CEO Noah A. Samara. The company claims to have built the first satellite-to-tablet content delivery system. The system primarily aims at providing educational services to rural areas in developing countries. The first pilots of the technology are said to be taking place in India (with 30,000 licenses) and the sub-Saharan region in Africa, with the latest trials in two schools in South Africa, in Rietkol, in Mpumalanga Province, and at Heathfield, in Western Cape.


AfriStar is a satellite family, operated by 1worldspace. The orbiting satellites and the satellite in storage were built by Alcatel Space and EADS Astrium, formerly known as Matra Marconi Space. Based on Astrium's Eurostar E2000+ bus design, the geostationary orbit satellites broadcast digital radio programs in the L-Band frequency (1452-1492 MHz range).


DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) is one of three prevalent mobile TV formats. It is a technical specification for bringing broadcast services to mobile handsets. DVB-H was formally adopted as ETSI standard EN 302 304 in November 2004. The DVB-H specification (EN 302 304) can be downloaded from the official DVB-H website. From March 2008, DVB-H is officially endorsed by the European Union as the "preferred technology for terrestrial mobile broadcasting". The major competitors of this technology are Qualcomm's MediaFLO system, the 3G cellular system based MBMS mobile-TV standard, and the ATSC-M/H format in the U.S. DVB-SH (Satellite to Handhelds) now and DVB-NGH (Next Generation Handheld) in the future are possible enhancements to DVB-H, providing improved spectral efficiency and better modulation flexibility. DVB-H has been a commercial failure, and the service is no longer on-air. Ukraine was the last country with a nationwide broadcast in DVB-H.

Digital Radio Mondiale

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM; mondiale being Italian and French for "worldwide") is a set of digital audio broadcasting technologies designed to work over the bands currently used for analogue radio broadcasting including AM broadcasting, particularly shortwave, and FM broadcasting. DRM is more spectrally efficient than AM and FM, allowing more stations, at higher quality, into a given amount of bandwidth, using various MPEG-4 audio coding formats.

Digital Radio Mondiale is also the name of the international non-profit consortium that has designed the platform and is now promoting its introduction. Radio France Internationale, TéléDiffusion de France, BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, Telefunken (now Transradio) and Thomcast (now Ampegon) took part at the formation of the DRM consortium.

The principle of DRM is that bandwidth is the limited element, and computer processing power is cheap; modern CPU-intensive audio compression techniques enable more efficient use of available bandwidth, at the expense of processing resources.

Digital Video Broadcasting

Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) is a set of international open standards for digital television. DVB standards are maintained by the DVB Project, an international industry consortium, and are published by a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Digital audio radio service

Digital audio radio service (DARS) refers to any type of digital radio program service. In the United States it is the official FCC term for digital radio services.

The most popular type of DARS in the U.S. and Canada is SDARS: Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service, used by Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio. XM and Sirius both operate in the 2.3-GHz S band, from 2320 to 2345 MHz.Increasing the spectrum available for more services would be difficult, since unlike C-band and Ku band services, which allow over 200 locations for satellites, S-band satellites must be spaced far apart, with current technology. Existing vehicle antennas would not allow reception of two different stations on the same frequency, though new technology, requiring a new kind of receiver, might be possible.WorldSpace also operated a DARS network outside the United States and Canada with a footprint covering Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It used the L-band.

Digital multimedia broadcasting

Digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) is a digital radio transmission technology developed in South Korea as part of the national IT project for sending multimedia such as TV, radio and datacasting to mobile devices such as mobile phones, laptops and GPS navigation systems. This technology, sometimes known as mobile TV, should not be confused with Digital Audio Broadcasting which was developed as a research project for the European Union. DMB was developed in South Korea as the next generation digital technology to replace FM radio, but the technological foundations were laid by Prof. Dr. Gert Siegle and Dr. Hamed Amor at Robert Bosch GmbH in Germany. The world's first official mobile TV service started in South Korea in May 2005, although trials were available much earlier. It can operate via satellite (S-DMB) or terrestrial (T-DMB) transmission. DMB has also some similarities with the main competing mobile TV standard, DVB-H.


Eutelsat S.A. is a European satellite operator. Providing coverage over the entire European continent, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, it is the world's third largest satellite operator in terms of revenues.Eutelsat's satellites are used for broadcasting nearly 7,000 television stations, of which 1,400 are in HD, and 1,100 radio stations to over 274 million cable and satellite homes. They also serve requirements for TV contribution services, corporate networks, mobile communications, Internet backbone connectivity and broadband access for terrestrial, maritime and in-flight applications. Eutelsat is headquartered in Paris. Eutelsat Communications Chief Executive Officer is currently Rodolphe Belmer.In October 2017, Eutelsat acquired NOORSAT, one of the leading satellite service providers in the Middle East, from Bahrain's Orbit Holding Group. NOORSAT is the premier distributor of Eutelsat capacity in the Middle East, serving blue-chip customers and providing services for over 300 TV channels almost exclusively from Eutelsat's market-leading Middle East and North Africa neighbourhoods at 7/8° West and 25.5° East.


Globalstar, Inc. is an American satellite communications company that operates a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation for satellite phone and low-speed data communications, somewhat similar to the Iridium satellite constellation and Orbcomm satellite systems. A Globalstar second-generation constellation consists of 24 low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites.

High-throughput satellite

High-throughput satellite (HTS) is a classification for communications satellites that provide at least twice, though usually by a factor of 20 or more, the total throughput of a classic FSS satellite for the same amount of allocated orbital spectrum thus significantly reducing cost-per-bit.ViaSat-1 and EchoStar XVII (also known as Jupiter-1) do provide more than 100 Gbit/s of capacity, which is more than 100 times the capacity offered by a conventional FSS satellite. When it was launched in October 2011 ViaSat-1 had more capacity (140 Gbit/s) than all other commercial communications satellites over North America combined.

List of communications satellite firsts

Milestones in the history of communications satellites.


S-DMB (Satellite-DMB) is a hybrid version of the Digital Multimedia Broadcasting. The S-DMB uses the S band (2170-2200 MHz) of IMT-2000. and delivers around 18 channels at 128 kbit/s in 15 MHz. It incorporates a high power geostationary satellite, the MBSat 1. For outdoor and light indoor coverage is integrated with a terrestrial repeater (low power gap-filler) network for indoor coverage in urban areas.

A similar architecture is also used in XM Satellite Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, DVB-SH and ETSI Satellite Digital Radio (SDR).

Satellite data unit

A satellite data unit (SDU) is an avionics device installed in an aircraft that allows air/ground communication via a satellite network. It is an integral part of an aircraft's SATCOM (satellite communication) system. The device connects with a satellite via ordinary radio frequency (RF) communication and the satellite then connects to a ground station or vice versa. All satellite communication whether audio or data is processed by the SDU.The SDU communicates with an onboard MDDU (multi-purpose disk-drive unit) which maintains an updatable table of ground stations in the aircraft's current area and the order of preference for selection of which ground station to use which thus guides the choice of satellite. Along with analysing data continuously sent from all ground stations (such as station status and the error rate of signals from each station) the SDU receives information on the aircraft's position and orientation from another onboard system (ADIRU, air data inertial reference unit) which it passes to the BSU (beam-steering unit) to direct the signal beam from the aircraft to the chosen satellite.With the advent of cellphones and the Internet a separate or integrated SDU can be used to offer telephone and Internet services to passengers.Logs of satellite communication have been used to inform search and rescue agencies of locations of missing aircraft, notably that of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 whose position was unknown due to loss of radar contact and other communications. Automated SATCOM transmissions suggested it flew about 1,600 km (1,000 mi) off its designated flight path having flown approximately south-southwest rather than the intended approximately north-northeast.

Satellite dish

A satellite dish is a dish-shaped type of parabolic antenna designed to receive or transmit information by radio waves to or from a communication satellite. The term most commonly means a dish used by consumers to receive direct-broadcast satellite television from a direct broadcast satellite in geostationary orbit.

Satellite phone

A satellite telephone, satellite phone or satphone is a type of mobile phone that connects to other phones or the telephone network by radio through orbiting satellites instead of terrestrial cell sites, as cellphones do. The advantage of a satphone is that its use is not limited to areas covered by cell towers; it can be used in most or all geographic locations on the Earth's surface.

The mobile equipment, also known as a terminal, varies widely. Early satellite phone handsets had a size and weight comparable to that of a late-1980s or early-1990s mobile phone, but usually with a large retractable antenna. More recent satellite phones are similar in size to a regular mobile phone while some prototype satellite phones have no distinguishable difference from an ordinary smartphone. Satphones are popular on expeditions into remote areas where terrestrial cellular service is unavailable.

A fixed installation, such as one used aboard a ship, may include large, rugged, rack-mounted electronics, and a steerable microwave antenna on the mast that automatically tracks the overhead satellites. Smaller installations using VoIP over a two-way satellite broadband service such as BGAN or VSAT bring the costs within the reach of leisure vessel owners. Internet service satellite phones have notoriously poor reception indoors, though it may be possible to get a consistent signal near a window or in the top floor of a building if the roof is sufficiently thin. The phones have connectors for external antennas that can be installed in vehicles and buildings. The systems also allow for the use of repeaters, much like terrestrial mobile phone systems.

Satellite radio

Satellite radio is defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s ITU Radio Regulations (RR) as a broadcasting-satellite service. The satellite's signals are broadcast nationwide, across a much wider geographical area than terrestrial radio stations, and the service is primarily intended for the occupants of motor vehicles. It is available by subscription, mostly commercial free, and offers subscribers more stations and a wider variety of programming options than terrestrial radio.Satellite radio technology was inducted into the Space Foundation Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2002. Satellite radio uses the 2.3 GHz S band in North America for nationwide digital radio broadcasting. In other parts of the world, satellite radio uses the 1.4 GHz L band allocated for DAB.

Very-small-aperture terminal

A very small aperture terminal (VSAT) is a two-way satellite ground station with a dish antenna that is smaller than 3.8 meters. The majority of VSAT antennas range from 75 cm to 1.2 m. Data rates, in most cases, range from 4 kbit/s up to 16 Mbit/s. VSATs access satellites in geosynchronous orbit or geostationary orbit to relay data from small remote Earth stations (terminals) to other terminals (in mesh topology) or master Earth station "hubs" (in star topology).

VSATs are used to transmit narrowband data (e.g., point-of-sale transactions using credit cards, polling or RFID data, or SCADA), or broadband data (for the provision of satellite Internet access to remote locations, VoIP or video). VSATs are also used for transportable, on-the-move (utilising phased array antennas) or mobile maritime communications.


Viasat is a satellite and pay television brand, co-owned by the Swedish media group Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) in the Nordic countries, Sony Pictures Television in Hungary, and by Viasat World internationally. Founded in Sweden in 1991, Viasat has previously been owned by Modern Times Group. The channels of both companies are broadcast from London.

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