In fixed installations, the dishes themselves are usually firmly attached to a standalone metal pole, which is sunk into the ground with concrete or anchored to a building. Fixed installation dishes installed at a specific location are specifically are designed to match both the GHz transition frequency of the connecting satellite and the geographic location of the base station, and need to be carefully aligned and calibrated to work with the selected ISP. Installation of VSATs should only be conducted by professionals, usually working on behalf of the ISP.
- Dishes that can be collapsed or taken part.
- Possibly multiple BUCs or Modems.
- Adjustable dish mount.
Some mobile VSATs are capable of automatically detecting the appropriate satellite and aligning themselves, and are referred to as “self-acquiring” VSATs. Other mobile VSATs require manual configuration every time. Mobile VSATs tend to be very expensive, and require specialised training to handle and set up. Before attempting to buy a mobile VSAT, an organisation should understand it’s intended end use. A mobile VSAT should never be used in place of a permanent VSAT wherever possible.
The bands used by VSATs – C and Ku – can be adversely impacted by bad weather, including heavy rain, thunderstorms, sandstorms and even thick fog. Any tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere can and will impact the radio signals coming to and from a satellite.
Satellite dishes used for VSATs should have a direct line of sight to sky to properly function. Buildings and structures, trees, hills, vehicles and even people can block signals if placed in front of satellite dishes.
When installing a satellite dish, users should plan for activities that might occur around the dish, or future changes that might impact the installation. Trees may eventually grow to block a signal, and the tree will either need to be pruned or the dish moved. Sometimes parked vehicles or stored materials can block dishes un-intentionally. Also, do to the mostly permanent nature of the dishes, users may simply forget how they work – building a new structure or raising a compound wall may block the signal.
If users are experiencing problems with VSAT signals in good weather, they should investigate if something is blocking the signal first.
VSATs equipment still requires power to receive, transmit and interpret signals from space. Sometimes, under-powered equipment may still appear to be working but not actually able to perform well. Low powered or under-powered equipment may come from a poorly maintained generator or power grid.