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The exploitation of extremely high-frequency (EHF) bands (30-300 GHz) for broadband transmission over satellite links is currently a hot research topic. In particular, the Q-V band (30-50 GHz) and W-band (75-110 GHz) seem to offer very promising perspectives. This paper aims at presenting an overview of the current status of research and technology in EHF satellite communications and taking a look at future perspectives in terms of applications and services. Challenges and open issues are adequately considered together with some viable solutions and future developments. The proposed analysis highlighted the need for a reliable propagation model based on experimental data acquired in orbit. Other critical aspects should be faced at the PHY-layer level in order to manage the tradeoff between power efficiency, spectral efficiency, and robustness against link distortions. As far as networking aspects are concerned, the large bandwidth availability should be converted into increased throughput by means of suitable radio resource management and transport protocols, able to support very high data rates in long-range aerospace scenarios.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2011