As part of the Bavarian 5G TODAY research project, the first high-tower high-power (HTHP) transmitter was successfully put into operation last Wednesday, December 4. This was confirmed by Bayerischer Rundfunk, Rhode & Schwarz and Kathrein in press releases, three of the five project partners. In addition, Kathrein presented an innovative antenna for test operation at BR’s transmitter site in Ismaning near Munich.
The introduction of 5G in Broadcast
Commenting on the successful launch, Helwin Lesch, Head of Department of Distribution and Controlling at BR, says: “5G Broadcast is currently creating a new, highly efficient distribution channel to provide stationary and especially mobile users with high-quality linear and hybrid programs and services in the future. BR is particularly interested in the possibility of broadcasting radio and television programs via 5G. The 5G-HTHP technology allows large-area transmission of content in the existing broadcasting frequency range. Additional frequency spectrum is not required.”
LTE Broadcast without SIM cards
The Rhode & Schwarz HTHP transmitter in the LTE Broadcast or FeMBMS-Mode went into operation at BRs Wendelstein station. LTE Broadcast, also known as FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), was specified in 3GPP Release 14 in June 2017. It defines new options for broadcasting to LTE-enabled mobile user equipment such as smartphones and tablets. For the first time, the upgraded standard allows applications in downlink only mode while utilizing the full signal bandwidth for multicast and broadcast applications. Moreover, the 3GPP Release 14 enables operation without SIM cards, which is necessary for broadcast applications.
The transmitters in Ismaning and on the Wendelstein form a Single Frequency Network (SFN), which is to enable mobile and portable reception in the greater Munich area as well as on the main traffic routes between Munich and Salzburg. Communication technology specialist Kathrein developed a special antenna for the transmission of diversity signals for the transmitter station in Ismaning. Twelve innovative UHF antenna fields were installed at a height of 200 meters.
The BR’s engagement in the project will allow it to test the large-scale broadcasting of its radio and television programs via the future 5G network, thus taking account of the new technology as one of the upcoming transmission standards. By testing this technology, BR is laying the foundation for continued easy and unrestricted access to its content.