A promising service in 3G mobile network

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Internet access and data download, including video and high quality music, have increased in recent times

Comprehensive: No separate frequency allocation is required for TV broadcast/radio services . — photo: AP
Comprehensive: No separate frequency allocation is required for TV broadcast/radio services . — photo: AP

With the mobile teledensity crossing an all time high of 71 per cent with India having total telephones a little over 841 million as on May 31, 2011 and registering an average growth of 26 per cent p.a. the market is now poised for great utility mainly focusing on entertainment and advertising.

Introduction of 3G has enhanced the capabilities of wireless mobile network with higher bit rate transmission for data transfer minimizing the cost and time. Internet access and data download including video and high quality music have increased in recent times.

Mobile Broadband is expected to fuel the growth in India. As per the recent survey by GSM Association (GSMA),a ten per cent increase in broadband penetration will lead to 42 per cent revenue growth in healthcare sector,36.8 per cent in education and 18.8 per cent in transport sector.

The 1.7 per cent broadband connections in India are likely to rise to 12.5 per cent by the end of 2015. The convergence or more specifically integration of broadcasting with the mobile broadband enabling multimedia multicast service to be made available on the 3G wireless network which eliminates the allocation of separate range of spectrum for radio and TV services, enhances the scope of fast growth in wireless connectivity.

The Third Generation (3G) wireless network, known as UMTS, provides broadband / high bit rate wireless Internet access, making it possible to offer a wide variety of multimedia services, such as multimedia messaging, video streaming and access to TV channels. Collaboration with third-party service providers to deliver new value added services and content to mobile subscribers is on the increase. High bit rate multimedia applications, such as local news, travel information, advertisements based on location, online broadcasting of movie clips, and sports events/ highlights, are among the services of interest to service providers and consumers.

Offering multimedia services to mobile users places high demands on both the radio and core network resources in UMTS. With the increasing use of high bandwidth applications in 3G mobile systems, especially with a large number of users receiving the same high data rate services, efficient information distribution becomes essential.

Transmitting the same data to more than one user allows network resources to be shared. The major break through here is that no separate frequency allocation is required to be done for TV broadcast/radio services (which are being followed now) as the mobile network with the allocated spectrum takes care of these as additional value added service.

The Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) network was conceived and designed to transport information efficiently as multimedia multicast and broadcast applications through the wireless network since the ‘send once charge many times' philosophy of those types of services is especially attractive.

3 GPP defines MBMS as “a point to multipoint (PTMP) down link bearer service for IP data in PS domain” The main objective being to offer high speed data rates and to enhance the capability of UMTS for efficient Multicast and Broadcast mode.

Broadcast, multicast

The broadcast mode is a unidirectional point-to-multipoint transmission of multimedia data (e.g. text, audio, picture, video) from a single source entity to all users in a broadcast service area. In the multicast mode there is the possibility for the network to selectively transmit to cells within the multicast service area which contain members of a multicast group. For some of the services using the multicast mode payment of subscription is required.

MBMS architecture shall enable the efficient usage of radio-network and core-network resources, with the main focus on the radio interface efficiency. Specifically, multiple users should be able to share common resources when receiving identical traffic.

It enables re-use, to the extent possible, of existing 3GPP network components and protocol elements.

It supports different quality of service levels, charging data shall be provided per subscriber for MBMS multicast mode, provide services to users when roaming outside their home network also and interworking possibilities between MBMS capable network elements and non-MBMS capable network elements

Broadcast and Multicast Service Centre (BM-SC) takes care of content provider charging and MBMS transport, GPRS Gateway Support Node (GGSN) is meant for service QoS negotiation and traffic routing, and Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) is used for user authentication, service authorization.

Radio Access Network

RAN functions include delivery of MBMS data to designated service area, support initiation/termination of MBMS transmissions by the CN and support intra-RNC, inter-RNC mobility of MBMS receivers.

MBMS is a very promising technology for the future because of many great advantages. The merits are — decreases data in the network, uses radio resources more efficiently, offers new service categories like Mobile Broadcast Services and Multipoint-to-Multipoint Services in two modes — Broadcast (stimulate subscription to other services) and Multicast (subscribed services, generate revenue).


Former Deputy General Manager, BSNL Chennai



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