The only real alternative, favored perhaps by cellular operators, is the use of IP multicast down to the cell towers to avoid redundant transmission over the core and backhaul networks, and then maybe some peer-to-peer mechanism to distribute popular traffic within the radio cell. This would avoid swamping the radio bandwidth across the whole cell with multiple unicast streams.
This approach is unlikely to scale well to large numbers of users all receiving a broadcast at once within a single cell, but broadcasters cannot afford to sit back and allow mobile services to progress with hybrid models around IP multicast. The DVB’s NGH should be seized as an opportunity to regain momentum lost in mobile broadcast after the failures of first-generation approaches such as DVB-H and MediaFLO.
—Philip Hunter writes the Broadcast Engineering “Beyond the Headlines Europe” e-newsletter.