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5G and its content distribution potential

5G y su potencial de distribución de contenido

5G technology is very attractive to broadcasters for many reasons. She enjoys broad, arguably global, support from both industry and policymakers.

IEEE, Carlos Pantsios Markhauser

5G is a technological development with standardization in an advanced state. Its first set of technical specifications was completed in 2018 and the first equipment appeared that same year. The rollout of the 5G network is gradual around the world, and will probably occupy the next decade, starting at the top of existing mobile networks, before continuing with the 5G networks themselves.

Its superior features with high traffic capacity, very low latency, very high reliability and device density, as well as very low power consumption will only be available in places where the 5G network is commercially viable.

- Publicidad -

5G is a wireless communication system based on a collection of advanced technologies and configurable architectures for many different purposes, for example: (1) to provide access to the internet, (2) to allow the control and manipulation of machines of all types (e.g., automated factories), (3) to connect a network of sensors (e.g., electricity meters - IoT -), (4) to support the automatic, assisted, operation of vehicles, (5) for the distribution of audiovisual media services to the audience, and (6) to connect TV cameras and microphones in a production company, among others.

Because 5G networks are software-based and programmable, they can be configured to meet virtually any set of requirements. Obviously, not all requirements can be satisfied with the same configuration. However, network resources can be structured in such a way that they can simultaneously support a significant number of different configurations. The concept involved here is technically known as "network slicing", and it allows unprecedented flexibility, despite certain limitations in capacity presented by the general network and its coverage. Slicing can offer new opportunities beyond the consumer market, particularly in professional applications in numerous industry verticals such as automotive, energy, healthcare, manufacturing and media.

5G technology is very attractive to broadcasters for many reasons. She enjoys broad, arguably global, support from both industry and policymakers. This promises an unprecedented economy of scale for these types of networks.

Broadcasters are now actively involved in the development of 5G to ensure that it can meet the future requirements of the sector and the expectations of audiences. Currently, 5G technology is entirely based on the unicast mode of transport. However, unicast alone cannot be efficiently scaled to meet the needs of large audiences. In this sense, broadcast and multicast are much more efficient in the distribution of content, particularly for live events and popular linear services, and which for now have not been seriously considered in the process of standardizing 5G within 3GPP. This is going to change very soon.

The EU has recently launched a research project, called 5G-XCast (5g-xcast.eu), which is developing an efficient, scalable and sustained solution for the large-scale distribution of media services. This solution will integrate fixed and mobile broadband networks, as well as terrestrial broadcasting networks into a unified, heterogeneous and flexible infrastructure. Unicast, multicast and broadcast will be used in a dynamic way to provide optimized and seamless delivery of media services.

5G y su potencial de distribución de contenidoAs part of its plans for research and development of new broadcasting technologies, the RAI Center for Technological Innovation and Experimentation in Broadcasting (RAI-CRITS) has been working on the development of 3GPP standards for the transmission of video and multimedia to mobile devices. New wireless communication technologies, known as 5G, promise superior performance never seen before, operating on the 4G-LTE platform with the potential for new economies of scale. 5G is undoubtedly a critical complement to traditional production technologies and distribution systems, such as terrestrial and satellite broadcasting networks.

Thanks to the participation of several broadcasting institutions in the work of 3GPP, the so-called "Releas 14" recently appeared, which contains the FeMBMS profile with characteristics well aligned with the technical and functional requirements coming from the broadcasting sector for the delivery of regular mobile TV services. These are characterized by high-quality HD video content with guaranteed QoS, permanently distributed to wide areas (countries and regions). One of the key aspects of "Releas 14" is its ability to complement the urban coverage of cellular networks with the "umbrella coverage" of large territories through broadcasting networks (known as "high power high tower" networks).

- Publicidad -

Recent ambitious tests on single-frequency networks have demonstrated how state-of-the-art mobile technologies can be employed for the distribution of public service media content and services to mobile devices, in conventional terrestrial broadcasting network infrastructure, meeting specific broadcasting requirements such as free-to-air delivery, large-area coverage and cost-effective distribution to mobile devices.

In short, 5G has demonstrated that it has the potential to carry and distribute ambitious solutions that make it possible to deploy multi-cameras, for example, operated remotely outside broadcast plants, as well as the potential to transform our use of radio microphones and in-ear monitors into the audio domain.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Editor
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2009), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de IntegraTec y LiveTec.

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