9 December 2021

5G Broadcast/Multicast and the future of media delivery – a Rohde & Schwarz perspective

It is quite clear that the mobile telecommunications era is here to stay. As part of our everyday lives, a world without mobile phones is difficult to imagine. The ease of communications has changed and is still changing the entire way we do things. Despite the good times, today’s increases in data traffic and network complexity are leading to continuously growing operator Capex and Opex which in turn make it challenging for mobile network operators (MNOs) to bring this “present day miracle” to their subscribers.

Rohde & Schwarz believes the one-to-many distribution approach is the right solution to address the technical and business challenges of network operators. 5G broadcast/multicast allows MNOs to offload their premium content on the move, whether it is live/linear video/audio or even file based content, while reaching broader audiences and consistently delivering broadcast quality experiences. For this to happen a solution is needed that is capable of handling a continuous flow of content while maintaining a congestion-free mobile network and avoiding infrastructure overprovisioning. Incidentally, this also significantly lowers the CAPEX and OPEX burdens.

5G clearly holds the promise of new and original technological and business opportunities. In fact, 5G is bringing new broadcast and multicast capabilities to the whole ecosystem, enabling new applications. Although live video distribution is very important, 5G broadcast/multicast does not only mean mobile TV or video delivery while on the move, although this is one of the more entertaining and interesting examples.

5G is not only capable of delivering media and entertainment to smartphones, it can also provide smart vehicles with OTA updates, media and entertainment as well as map updates and live event multicasting makes perfect sense when using this feature.

Public safety announcements can be guaranteed with fast and efficient delivery using 5G broadcast and we have seen examples of extreme weather events just this year where a service such as urgent weather updates could make a real and tangible difference to the relationship between communities and public authorities.

Several other services could be optimized using multicast over 5G, including OTA multicast for centralized configuration and control, live commerce, and rural eLearning where no internet connection is available. In addition, 5G multicast enables venue casting to combine live experience with home comfort.

Broadcast network operators are discovering new distribution features and a more dynamic infrastructure with the opportunity that 5G Broadcast is creating. In addition, mobile network operators are able to offload their burdensome streaming and data loads and therefore avoid overprovisioning of infrastructure. The end result is that they can serve consumers with a higher quality of service (QoS) while reducing both Capex and Opex.

Sending information hundreds of thousands of time to mobile network cells is less efficient than broadcasting/multicasting that same information via an overlay network. 5G Broadcast/multicast offers a wider coverage and spectrum efficiency with the resulting improved flexibility deployment and operation costs can be substantially reduced.

In today’s world consumers expect and deserve higher quality when they receive high definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) resolutions as well as the better picture quality offered by high dynamic range (HDR). 5G Broadcast/multicast offers the opportunity to deliver a better quality of service and a higher quality of experience to the end consumer.

Rohde & Schwarz works extensively on new technical concepts and business models and has been pioneering how 5G Broadcast/multicast redefines the future of content delivery. At the end of the day we could all enjoy better connectivity, better information updates and a more enjoyable experience while watching content while on the move.

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