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The successful DVB standard has now evolved into the DVB-S2 standard, which promises to bring very significant capacity gains. The main DVB-S2 feature is its adaptive air interface, where coding and modulation techniques are varied flexibly to maximize performance and coverage. This article addresses the design of the entire DVB-S2 communication chain, considering practical algorithms for coding, modulation, predistortion, carrier and SNR estimation, frame synchronization, and data recovery. The design complexity is exacerbated by the fact that DVB-S2 foresees 28 different coding/modulation pairs, demanding specific optimization and variable frame length. The performance achieved considering all possible impairments is compared to the ideal performance achievable in the Gaussian channel in terms of integral degradation, which ranges from 0.4 to 2,5 dB in going from QPSK to 32-APSK.