Different users. Different needs. Different kinds of networks.
The ground segment is a network of earth stations and user terminals that provides applications and services to end users. Each network requires:
- A central point of management and control.
- A means to connect distant users to sources of content or other networks, such as the Internet.
Because the ground segment is often provided separately from the space segment, particularly for satellites like Horizons-1 and 2, the operator of the ground segment usually purchases the satellite capacity.
Each network within the ground segment serves a particular group of users or type of application: Users:
- Corporate enterprise
- Government agency
- Non-profit organization
- Internet service provider
- Video distribution
- Data communications
- Telephone services
Individual users at remote sites receive service via user terminals. The Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) provides two way communications capability for one or a local group of end users.
A user terminal without a transmit capability is called a receive-only (RO) terminal. While commonly used for TV reception, ROs are popular for interactive data networks that use some other means for the return channel (DSL or terrestrial wireless).