Manav Kumar Sengar , GM, Transmission, Broadcast Ops. & Engineering , NEO Sports Broadcast Pvt Ltd.

The most common factors which should be kept in mind when we choose an option for data delivery are including cost saving, flexibility, and reliability.

Today most of the broadcast industry operators are looking for new ways to maximize their communication networks while ensuring reliable, secure data transmission. There are so many options available to enhance their data delivery in a most efficient way, the two most common being wireless options such as satellite and microwave and wired options such as copper and fiber-optic cable.

When comparing both technologies, there is little competition, both technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages. The most common factors which should be kept in mind when we choose an option for data delivery are including cost saving, flexibility, and reliability.

When we think about cost saving, we must consider both the one-time equipment cost and commissioning cost, but more important is the recurring operating costs. All these points need to be kept in mind when we choose one of the communication media. When considering communications link reliability be sure to separate the equipment reliability from the transmission reliability. This has a major effect on equipment design and selection.

The main challenge for the user is why and where we can use the satellite networks or fiber network. Now frequently the question that arises in one's mind is: What is the advantages and how it is beneficial for our company, when we go satellite communication or Fiber connectivity? Sometimes content need to be sent from extremely far or remote locations where it is not feasible to lay fibers and satellite communication is the only option. Although satellite systems add propagation delays in data transmission, therefore, it is not a good fit for live scenario or where the quick content delivery matters the most to end users. Satellite systems are easy to install and a cost-effective solution for long-distance data travel and simultaneous distribution to multiple locations. The main disadvantage with satellite communication comes into picture when it is stormy and/or the weather is heavily cloudy. The performance of a satellite connection is then affected.

This in turn causes echoes, distortion, and degraded quality in audio/video satellite-based connections. Also we cannot forget that due to limited RF power on the satellite downlink channel, most VSAT links operate with a low carrier to noise ratio and have a very low margin. Therefore, any changes in the transmission path such as from rain or movement of the antenna can easily cause degraded performance. Online gaming is slightly slower on satellite.

When compared with fiber, optical fibers have played a key role in making possible the extraordinary growth in world-wide communications that has occurred in the last 25 years. It is cheap for short distance but costlier for long distance. In other words we can say that the cost depends upon the size of the network. But once it is set for long distance, it allows most efficient data transfer in terms of speed and reliability compared to satellite.

When traveling over a long distance, fiber optic cables have low attenuation which results in less signal loss. If a buried cable is damaged and requires repair or replacement, the costs can be high. Satellite systems are relatively maintenance-free, and, if maintenance becomes necessary, they are easily maintained.

From the bandwidth point of view, for communication to be quicker and effective, a larger usable bandwidth can be expected in the higher frequency ranges which could be satisfied by optical fiber communication. For example, how extensively used a data-heavy function like video conferencing is, how often we access cloud-based apps, stream an HD video, or download large files from a website are major deciding factors. Your bandwidth is taxed for any of those high-demand activities. Or in other words we can say that optical fiber can be available with large bandwidth compared to satellite.

They are both generally pretty good though and I would be happy with either. But given a choice my preference is fiber. Fiber optics communication is definitely the future of data communication.