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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 29, 2014

Nokia Runs Munich Field Test for LTE Broadcast

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Nokia (News - Alert) Networks is field-testing the use of LTE for nationwide TV broadcasting with a trial in Munich.

The company is working with a range of partners and will use a single LTE (News - Alert) frequency within UHF spectrum to support the trials. In a single frequency network (SFN), all base stations use exactly the same frequency to transmit TV content, which in theory maximizes the number of simultaneous TV channels broadcast over a large geographical area in a given amount of spectrum.

“Today, when watching videos over a mobile network, the content is individually streamed to each user,” said Hossein Moiin (News - Alert), CTO at Nokia Networks. “With LTE broadcast, the same signal is received by many users at the same time, resulting in more efficient capacity and spectrum use.”

He added, “Spectrum (News - Alert) doesn’t need to be dedicated to either broadcast or broadband, but can be used flexibly for both according to users’ needs. We believe that LTE Broadcast is a technology well suited to distribute TV and broadcast services and will help us expand the benefits of mobile internet to everyone while evolving the TV viewing experience.”

The Nokia LTE equipment is deployed at four sites of the Bavarian broadcast company, Bayerischer Rundfunk, in Northern Munich. The sites are connected by a high performance optical transport network.

Existing LTE broadcast applications focus on delivering media content to contained locations, such as stadiums and concert halls, over limited periods of time. The Munich trial is the first to apply the technology on UHF spectrum, using part of the 700 MHz band to broadcast over a 200 square-kilometer area. To maximize the efficiency of the LTE broadcast, the SFN has been optimized for tighter synchronization of neighbor cells to increase interference robustness. The trial aims to show that LTE could be used to complement and in the long run, even provide another option to regional digital TV distribution standards, such as DVB-T in Europe.

The trial, which began transmissions in early July uses evolved Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (eMBMS) software running in Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations, which are deployed widely in many LTE networks worldwide. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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