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GNSS Bands

GNSS Frequency Bands

The GNSS Bands are the range of radio frequencies used by different satellite constellations to broadcast signals from satellites to Earth and vice versa. There are 4 Global Coverage Satellite Constellations and 2 Regional Coverage constellations, 

  • GPS ( Global ) 
  • GLONASS ( Global )
  • Galileo ( Global ) 
  • BeiDou ( Global )
  • IRNSS ( Regional )
  • QZSS ( Regional )

GNSS Frequencies

GNSS ConstellationNumber of SatellitesFrequency BandsOrbit AltitudeCountry/Region
GPS (United States)31+ (constellation)L1: 1575.42 MHz
L2: 1227.60 MHz
L5: 1176.45 MHz
L1C: 1575.42 MHz
L2C: 1227.60 MHz
L5C: 1176.45 MHz
Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)United States
GLONASS (Russia)24+ (constellation)L1: 1598.0625-1605.375 MHz
L2: 1242.9375-1248.625 MHz
L3: 1202.025-1202.025 MHz
Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)Russia
Galileo (European Union)26 (constellation)E1: 1575.42 MHz
E5a: 1176.45 MHz
E5b: 1207.14 MHz
E5 AltBOC: 1191.795 MHz
E6: 1278.75 MHz
Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)European Union
BeiDou (China)35+ (constellation)B1: 1561.098 MHz
B2: 1207.14 MHz
B3: 1268.52 MHz
B1C: 1575.42 MHz
B2a: 1176.45 MHz
B2b: 1207.14 MHz
Medium Earth Orbit (MEO/IGSO)China
QZSS (Japan)4+ (constellation)L1: 1575.42 MHz
L2C: 1227.60 MHz
L5: 1176.45 MHz
L6: 1278.75 MHz
Quasi-Zenith Orbit (QZO)Japan
NavIC (India)7 (constellation)L5: 1176.45 MHz
S: 2492.028 MHz
Geostationary Orbit (GEO)India

Satellite Frequency bands and their Signal Characteristics

There are 7 satellite frequency bands and that are, 

  • L-band ( 1–2 GHz )
  • S-band ( 2–4 GHz )
  • C-band ( 4–8 GHz )
  • X-band ( 8–12 GHz )
  • Ku-band ( 12–18 GHz )
  • K-band ( 18-27 GHz )
  • Ka-band ( 27–40 GHz )

L-band ( 1–2 GHz )

This band of frequencies are used in the GPS carriers and for communication using the satellite phones and mostly civilian GNSS services. This range of bands are suitable for these applications because of its ability to penetrate clouds and foliage.

S-band ( 2–4 GHz )

The S-Band frequencies are used for scientific and military applications because of its better accuracy and precision. Most weather radar, ship radar and even the communication of the Space agencies with ISS is in this frequency band. 

C-band ( 4–8 GHz )

C-Band is used for Satellite TV, Aviation and marine navigation. This is because of the property of this band which is resilient to signal interference from weather conditions. Most TV networks and satellite feeds use this band mostly in the dense forest area  since its much more resilient to rain fade. 

X-band ( 8–12 GHz )

Primarily used for military purposes, the application on X-band frequencies are used in continuous-wave radar, SAR radar and other radar systems. Thus, this frequency band is used for applications such as air traffic, aviation, weather monitoring, defense in the military and speed detection by the police. 

Ku-band ( 12–18 GHz )

This band is used for satellite communications. This is mostly used for direct broadcast satellite services to transmit broadcast satellite television. This band is mostly susceptible to rain fading.

K-band ( 18-27 GHz )

This Frequency range is the center of the K-Band and is absorbed by the water vapor in the atmosphere. Thus, this is absorbed easily, this cannot be used for any long range communications. This is one of the band that get degraded easily in the atmosphere beyond usefulness.  

Ka-band ( 27–40 GHz )

The Ka-Band is used in satellite communication since the communication demands a high frequency and bandwidth for higher data transmission rates. This is used by focusing a single beam or multiple beam of radio frequencies. Thus, this is focused, the same frequency can be reused for higher coverage and data transmission rate. Even the Kepler Space Telescope sent the data it collected in space to the Earth using the Ka-Band.


In conclusion, GNSS uses  various frequency bands to provide position and navigation services across the globe. Each satellite constitution uses a specific band of frequencies and each band has its own advantages and disadvantages as mentioned above. Understanding these frequency bands are crucial in utilizing the satellite technology effectively in various domains.

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