Don't miss an insight. Subscribe to Techopedia for free.


Satellite Dish

What Does Satellite Dish Mean?

A satellite dish is a telecommunications device used to send and receive microwave signals. It is a parabolic shaped antenna used for data transmission and broadcasting.


The primary function of a satellite dish is to convert microwave signals into electric signals that can be used by a computer, television and other devices. The low-frequency signals can be received by the larger dishes, whereas small dishes are used for higher frequency signals.

Satellite dishes are used for all kinds of data communication. The signals can be sent anywhere without having miles of cables.

A satellite may also be known as a parabolic antenna.

Techopedia Explains Satellite Dish

The working principles behind satellite dishes are as simple as a conventional cable connection. A satellite transmitter is used to send the signals through the air to bounce them off to a satellite. These signals can then be received anywhere in the world with the help of receivers attached to satellite dishes.

The first satellite dishes were large and bulky, but have since shrunk to less than two feet in diameter.

There are three basic types of satellite dishes:

  • Motor Driven Satellite dishes: Configured with a stepper motor. These can be controlled from the sky and moved to a suitable position according to a satellite position.
  • Multi-Satellite dishes: Support multiple reflectors that enable them to receive signals from multiple locations simultaneously. The additional reflectors are placed vertically to capture all the signals that are originated from different locations.
  • Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) dishes: Employed for both consumer networks and private network operations. VSAT is most commonly used satellite dish in the world.

Related Terms