In today’s hyper-connected world, digital information is all around us. Data demand continues to escalate among consumers and businesses alike, and the pace is not likely to slow down anytime soon. As the networking industry faces the dual realities of growing traffic congestion problems and finite radio frequency (RF) spectrum, there is an urgent need for more efficient data delivery. This is particularly true in instances of high traffic bursts that tie up crucial network capacity.
The repercussions of data capacity constraints can vary from a minor annoyance to a serious systemic problem, and even become a public safety issue. Consider, for example, the case of a self-driving connected car unable to receive real-time traffic updates due to 5G / LTE network capacity bottlenecks increasing transmission latency. Likewise, network congestion can cause significant challenges for online education, smart agriculture, IT firmware updates, IoT sensors and myriad other applications due to extended buffering and dropped connections.
With a profusion of new always-on connected use cases being implemented regularly, providing sufficient capacity on demand is becoming increasingly costly. Fortunately, recent advancements in broadcasting technology can help alleviate network congestion, allowing operators to reliably meet service level expectations at an affordable price point.
The A-B-Cs of ATSC 3.0
The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 international transmission standard was originally designed for “next-generation” television broadcast over internet protocol (IP) architecture. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized use of ATSC 3.0 transmission, allowing U.S. broadcasters to deliver content over the airwaves as well as over broadband.
Designed to be highly flexible and configurable, the ATSC 3.0 standard enables robust, point-to-multipoint transmission over IP to both fixed and mobile devices. This versatile technology provides higher data capacity, more flexible spectrum use, immersive and interactive audio/ visual experiences, and greater scalability. In addition to delivering over-the-air broadcast transmissions to televisions and over-the-top content to streaming platforms, ATSC 3.0 technology provides the capability to deliver standard internet data in parallel on the same signal.
Furthermore, because the ATSC 3.0 standard is built on an IP backbone, the receiving device does not need to be a television, which means that design possibilities for receiving devices are nearly unlimited. A device as small as a deck of cards with an antenna could be a data offload point. Likewise, data could be broadcast directly to students’ laptops, remote utility devices, network edge servers or even mass transit trains and buses.
Break the Bottleneck
Due to its unique capability to deliver data from a single transmission source to multiple reception points, this interoperable and adaptable standard can be used for mass data delivery over broadband to potentially reach millions of recipients — without the typical complications of bandwidth constraints and traffic congestion. As a result, the ATSC 3.0 standard opens up a world of new possibilities for hybrid business models.
For today’s network operators, an important aspect of ATSC 3.0 technology is its flexible spectrum use, providing the ability to offload capacity during peak traffic bursts. Whether you are sending the same data to many recipients, such as an emergency alert, or a large number of users are flooding the network trying to access the same data at the same time, the ability to transmit the data simultaneously from “one to many” frees up valuable capacity. And that means an improved quality of experience with a significantly lower total cost of data delivery.
At Trilogy NextGen, we are advancing the possibilities of ATSC 3.0 by merging the scalable capacity of this broadcast technology with the mobility of LTE and 5G networking. With access to the largest ecosystem of ATSC 3.0 broadcasters, and our blend of broadcasting and telecom experience that is unique in the industry, we are looking forward to bringing about exciting changes in how data is delivered to empower revolutionary performance and efficiency.
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