Commonwealth Games to test multicast technology on 4G

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EE, Qualcomm Technologies and Huawei will be testing how 4G can be used in broadcasting in a demonstration with the BBC during the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

Live BBC content will be streamed using Evolved Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service (eMBMS), delivering uninterrupted live content to smartphones and tablets with no buffering. The demonstration is set to take place at the BBC's R&D Future of Broadcasting Showcase at the Glasgow Science Centre from 24 July to 3 August.

Huawei is providing the network equipment, with the broadcast running over the EE network. Qualcomm Technologies is supplying its Snapdragon processors, which will be used on broadcast middleware and a software development kit for app developers.

Fotis Karonis, EE CTO, said: "Using eMBMS to deliver TV over 4G is an incredible demonstration of the capabilities of LTE. The quality of the network that we've built for Huawei offers an amazing experience for consumers, and an amazing opportunity for broadcasters to more efficiently deliver their most popular content to multiple mobile users."

eMBMS is a multicast technology that sends content simultaneously to a large number of users over a mobile network. Live content is sent over an IP link to a Huawei server within EE's test labs. It is then sent to eNodeBs base stations, one of which sits in the Glasgow Science Centre, before being transmitted via 2.6GHz spectrum. 

Live streams can be displayed on handsets thanks to Qualcomm Technologies' 4G Broadcast solution, which comprises LTE Broadcast middleware and a Snapdragon 800 processor featuring the vendor's Gobi modem.

Unlike unicast, which is a one to one communication, multicast, which transmits information to many users simultaneously, does not have the same demands on network capacity or bandwidth.

Raj Talluri, Vice President of Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, said: "Video continues to be a big part of mobile traffic growth, and consumers demand access to content anytime and anywhere. 4G Broadcast is designed to not only deliver high quality live video content under challenging network conditions, but also enhance the fan experience by providing an interactive view of the live action."

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