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Point-to-Multipoint Communications and Broadcasting in 5G

Feature Topic


In the last few years since the development of the Internet, streaming video and mobile devices such as Tablets and Smartphone have played prominent roles in modern daily life, and the global communications industry has started working on new, more effective digital broadcast systems that can simultaneously deliver signals to both fixed and mobile devices. Digital broadcast systems are suitable for large-volume broadband information delivery, especially for multimedia communication. In fact, the global rapid growth of mobile data traffic is primarily driven by the massive deployment of mobile video services on modern large-screen devices.

In the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 9 standards, multimedia broadcast/multicast service (MBMS) has evolved to achieve improved performance with higher speed and more flexible service configuration, named as evolved MBMS (eMBMS). 3GPP Release 11 has also improved service layer with video codec for higher resolution and frame rate and introduced Forward Error Correction (FEC) technique. New technologies such as time frequency slicing (TFS) can increase the network spectral efficiency (in terms of bps/Hz) by potentially tolerating a higher carrier-to-interference signal (C/I) ratio for the network. The TFS is part of an informative (not normative) annex of the digital video broadcasting terrestrial 2nd generation (DVB-T2) specification and is fully adopted in the mobile broadcasting standard digital video broadcasting next generation handheld (DVB-NGH) specification. It is also proposed to adopt layered division multiplexing (LDM) in the upcoming advanced television system committee (ATSC) 3.0 standards, where multiple physical layer data streams are superimposed with different power levels, channel coding and modulation schemes for different services and reception environments.

However, in 5G, traffic data volume and terminal mobility model will change dramatically compared with the existing 4G and other communications systems. Related studies and implementation of new technologies are constantly challenged with the growth of requirements by large numbers of users, improved device capabilities and deployment of higher capacity networks. To create new hybrid services and augmented regular broadcasts with greater interactivity, current development projects address the following requirements that may apply in 5G: 1) Higher quality signals and better source coding, such as immersive audio, Ultra HDTV, and multi-screen/multi-view system, 2) Simultaneously broadcast everywhere, to both fixed users at home and mobile users on smart phones and tablets. 3) Higher data volume and density of transmission, such as super layered division multiplexing (SLDM). 4) Terminal mobility considering fast moving scenarios. To meet these requirements, proposed solutions include the following items: 1) More effective utilization of spectrum. 2) Providing broadcasters the option to offer multiple channels within the same bandwidth, plus the ability to simultaneously broadcast to TVs at home and to Smartphones / Tablets on the go. 3) Cooperation among cells to support broadcasting demands, 4) Broadcast transmission of content developed for and sent over the Internet based on the Internet protocol.

To seek solutions to the current challenges, we have planned this Feature Topic (FT) to describe recent progress in academic and industrial research and help both the industrial and academic research communities better understand the progress and potential research areas on the converging paths of point to multi-point communications and broadcasting in 5G. We solicit papers covering various topics of interest that include, but not limited to the following:

  • Key technologies and challenges in 5G point-to-multipoint communications and broadcasting
  • System architecture for 5G broadcasting networks
  • Next generation layered division multiplexing
  • Radio resource management in point to multipoint systems
  • Optimization of codecs
  • Cloud, virtualization, software-defined network related technologies
  • Optimization of mobile intelligent terminals
  • Optimization and application of protocols
  • Point-to-multipoint routing protocols
  • Distributed communication schemes
  • Security and trust in point-to-multipoint communications and broadcasting systems
  • Next generation broadband broadcasting
  • High-quality mobile multimedia communications
  • Technology standardization
  • Evolution of mobile communications and terrestrial broadcasting
  • Cooperative communications in 5G point-to-multipoint systems


Hsiao-Chun Wu
Louisiana State University, USA

Bo Rong
Communications Research Centre Canada

Manuel Velez
University of the Basque Country, Spain

Jintao Wang
Tsinghua University, China

Cristiano Akamine
Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Brazil

Chenwei Wang
DoCoMo Innovations , DoCoMo USA Labs, USA