A new efficient media transfer method using multicast and broadcast technologies in the mobile networks, has been introduced to the 5G test network maintained by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Oulu. This will make media streaming services better available to consumers.
Finland's first 5G test network (the 5GTN project), whose research focuses include fast media production and distribution through 5G, is expanding its offering in Oulu. Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) technology, which enables the more efficient and cost-effective distribution of real-time media content by service providers and operators, has been introduced in the test network.
"In practice, this means introducing intelligence to the mobile network, which reduces the amount of data within the network and base stations," notes Research Scientist Mikko Uitto at VTT.
Savings are thereby gained especially from the core network. In addition, fewer radio frequencies are needed. eMBMS technology particularly favours high-volume media distribution, where the service is used by a large number of people, many of whom are covered by the same base station.
"For Yle, it is important that the 5G test network can help it to explore the potential of multicast for the broadcasting of TV and radio channels. At the moment, unnecessary bottlenecks in the reception of TV and radio channels are being caused by the limited capacity of various data networks," says Olli Sipilä, who is in charge of online and distribution technologies at Yle.
The technology will provide consumers with equal access to streaming services of higher quality than before. The low capacity and high latency of the current 4G mobile network are often inadequate for modern, high quality media distribution, particularly in the case of real-time streaming services with large numbers of users on the mobile network.
The 5G test network serves as an innovation platform for all businesses
The 5GTN project is primarily intended to serve as an innovation platform for research, product development and the testing of 5G technologies, business models and services. VTT and the University of Oulu are seeking to include beneficial features for businesses and consumers in the 5G test network.
"The goal is to provide 5G-related services before new functionality is available from the commercial networks. The 5G test network is available to all companies, including external ones," says Atso Hekkala, coordinator of the 5GTN project at VTT.
The 5GTN project, which is mainly funded by Business Finland, is part of the national 5thGear programme and 5GTNF ecosystem. This ecosystem aims to help Finnish companies with their 5G business operations. In addition to VTT, the University of Oulu and Yle, organisations such as Bittium, Caritas, Centria University of Applied Sciences, Elisa, Eltel Networks, Esju, EXFO, Haltian, Hartela, Indalgo, Jutel, Kaltiot, Keysight, MediaTek, Nokia, PehuTec, Polar, Sarokal, Verkotan, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority and the City of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences are involved in the 5GTN project.
The eMBMS technology used in the test network was supplied by the company Expway, which specialises in LTE Broadcast technology, whereas the terminal devices supporting the technology were provided by Bittium. The products in question are supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
5G in media production and distribution:
- The creation of fast and flexible production environment enabled by low latency and high-speed wireless connectivity
- Efficient media distribution for mobile users
- Broadband data transfer enabling several gigabits per second connections
- Multiple devices communicating together, i.e. the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Reliable and low-latency connections required for critical communication