Revolutionizing Media Content
Transmission and Distribution


The rapid evolution of telecommunications, particularly with the advent of 5G technology, is reshaping communication, lifestyle, and work dynamics, emphasizing content delivery and multimedia services. One of the key features of 5G with immense potential in this regard is the 5G Multicast and Broadcast Service (MBS), that was recognized as the successor to terrestrial digital transmission. It offers greater flexibility and accessibility, even while users are connected to cellular networks. Ongoing research and standardization efforts focus on enhancing 5G MBS capabilities and effectiveness, exploring technologies like next-generation broadcast systems, hybrid transmission models, content personalization, user interaction, energy efficiency, and environmentally sustainable broadcasting practices. These efforts aim to optimize content distribution and improve user experience in the dynamic sphere of mobile communication.

5G Broadcast technology overview

Unlike traditional unicast methods, 5G Broadcast employs a broadcast/multicast model, enabling simultaneous transmission of data to multiple users within a coverage area. Traditionally, in unicast streaming, content is sent individually to each user, leading to duplicated transmission and intensified network congestion as the user base expands, while 5G MBS operates differently by transmitting content once and allowing multiple users within a designated broadcast area to receive it simultaneously.

This revolutionary approach not only optimizes network resources but also ensures consistent high-quality streaming, even in densely populated areas or during peak usage times. With its enhanced capacity and low latency, 5G Broadcast has the potential to revolutionize various sectors, from media and entertainment to public safety and transportation, ushering in a new era of connectivity and immersive experiences for consumers worldwide.

The 3GPP Release 14 to 16 specifies the 5G Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services and allows typical terrestrial broadcast system network topologies to be used for this service. The idea is to leverage the existing 5G network infrastructure to deploy this service, beginning with the dissemination of 5G frequencies (Ultra high frequency, i.e., 470 to 698 MHz).

There are two broadcast communication modes established to meet different ecosystem needs, deployment scenarios and use case requirements:

• Standalone broadcast: dedicated transmission network to provide a common distribution platform for content delivery, via Single Frequency Network (SFN) for downlink broadcast only (use cases: digital TV, live streaming);

• Mixed-mode multicast: low-power network designed to dynamically switch between unicast and broadcast modes, optimizing the distribution of identical content with greater efficiency (use cases: IoT, public safety).

The mechanism will be the following: the broadcast/multicast server produces the content and it will be converted in correct format for the access network. Subsequently, the required network resources will be allocated and the access network undertakes the responsibility of distributing the multicast content to the user devices within the multicast group. In this type of environment, devices with SIM cards or users subscribed to specific tariff plans are unnecessary due to a receive-only mode, facilitating free-to-air (FTA) reception without requiring an uplink or SIM. Users only need to be within the coverage area to access the content. All that is needed is for users to be within the coverage area. Therefore, with 5G multicast/broadcast service, the content can be delivered to thousands or even millions of users without the same data being sent individually to each user using unicast, that overloads the network traffic.

Main Use Cases

Pilot project – Rai Way

Rai Way, the company within the Rai Group responsible for managing radio and television transmission networks, has been actively pursuing initiatives to adopt 5G Broadcast technology. On July 5, 2022, Rai Way, as the lead partner of a consortium, secured a €1 million for the realization of the experimental project "5G Audiovisual Broadcast Broadband Network". The project aims to experiment with innovative 5G-based technologies in the production and distribution of audiovisual content and assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of 5G Broadcast for radio and television broadcasting. This operates on network infrastructure and frequency resources in the 700MHz band experimenting the SIM-agnostic reception.

On March 17th, 2023, at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, the first of the planned use cases within the experimental project, "Live Theater VR360", took place. Live streaming footage using VR360 immersive techniques was shot during the event, showing the performance of the ballet "Le Corsaire." Simultaneously, this footage was transmitted via 5G Broadcast within the Palermo area, allowing viewers to experience it through dedicated headsets at the Teatro Massimo and by students of the Convitto Nazionale Giovanni Falcone.

After the debut and success of the Palermo experience on Rai, a similar approach was adopted in Turin for a live performance involving music, dance, and painting (Turin Jazz Festival) spread across three locations. The musicians, connected through private 5G networks, engage in jazz improvisation facilitated by the speed of the technologies employed. Additionally, there are plans for upcoming events that will leverage the capabilities of 5G MBS in Italy, such as the 2025 Jubilee and the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics.

Benefits of 5G Broadcast

  • Reduces network load and mitigates congestion in mobile networks

  • Enhances the customer experience with the ability to stream high-quality content in real-time

  • In Receive-only mode (ROM), it enables enjoying multimedia services on a 5G network without the need for a SIM card (and subsequent activation of a tariff plan)

  • Facilitates the transfer of multimedia content to users' terminals without experiencing the typical UHF band interference

  • Introduces the possibility of deploying private networks that inform you about specific things (Device-to-Device connection - D2D connection)

Net Reply’s role

Net Reply is a leading network systems company that combines experience and knowledge with a deep passion for innovation and cutting-edge technologies. Our team of professionals strives to remain at the forefront of the industry, constantly exploring innovative approaches to enhance our offerings with the most advanced and efficient solutions.

NetReply plays a key role in advancing AI/ML algorithms to optimize quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) in transmission services. We use drones for aerial surveys and measurements on transmission towers, advise on transmission issues in private 5G networks, develop Continuous Testing/Continuous Deployment frameworks for pipeline automation, and provide hybrid cloud and edge capabilities for near-real-time and proximity services also through technologies such as BoxNET.

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