Common satellite frequencies for use with satellite television providers are a part of the KU band, which ranges from 12 to 18 gigahertz. In particular, these providers use the direct broadcast satellite bands between 12.2 and 12.7 gigahertz. Both Dish Network and Direct TV use the DBS frequencies. With the addition of high-definition signals, satellite companies must provide additional data in their feeds, so they are turning to higher frequencies in the KA band, between 18.3 and 20.2 gigahertz.
Satellite technology finds use in many different fields, including weather, agriculture, surveying and broadcasting. The overall frequency range of transmissions ranges from 1 gigahertz to 75 gigahertz. Developers use letter designations as an easier way to refer to the frequency ranges.
A higher satellite frequency allows the use of a smaller satellite dish to collect the signal. C-band satellite signals occupy a frequency range of 4 to 8 gigahertz. To collect these signals, the dish must be 6 to 9 feet in diameter. While many early satellite receivers used this size dish, they were not practical for use in urban areas. By increasing the frequency to the DBS frequencies, providers are able to use the small 18-inch dish antenna. Free-to-air satellite services often use the fixed satellite service range of the KU band, which includes frequencies between 11.7 and 12.2 gigahertz.