The Academy of Broadcasting Science (ABS) and China Broadcasting Network (CBN), two public institutions under governmental authority of the Chinese National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), will set up a 5G Broadcast trial in Beijing.
German technology company Rohde & Schwarz is supplying the transmitters and core network components. Following the example of the 5G Today project in Bavaria, the Chinese trial network is scheduled to go on air in August 2019, ahead of the Beijing International Radio, TV & Film Exhibition (BIRTV) taking place on August 20-14. It marks the first step of the long-term strategies pursued by both parties, which comprise 5G Broadcast commercial deployment by the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, followed by further national expansion by 2025.
NRTA has been researching on possible next generation broadcasting for some time. The FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) and related High Tower High Power (HTHP) concept specified in 3GPP release 14 reflect the requirements, according to Rohde & Schwarz. CBN received a commercial 5G license on 4.9 GHz with 50 MHz bandwidth in June 2019. Both ABS and CBN have decided to rely on Rohde & Schwarz transmitters and core network components to set up the network.
The Beijing Trial network comprises three transmitter sites operating in a single-frequency-network (SFN). The stations CCTV Tower, Jing Guang Center and Ming Ren Square are around 10 km away from each other. Transmitters from Rohde & Schwarz with 1 kW output power will be working at the central frequency 754 MHz with 5 MHz bandwidth (later 10 MHz).
A software-defined radio receiver developed by Technische Universität Braunschweig and a Kathrein signal analyser are included in the trial. With this end-to-end implementation, ABS and CBN plan to carry out various tests, such as field strength propagation, network coverage, mobile reception, application possibilities and interconnection with the LTE unicast network.
The 5G Today project in Bavaria convinced a NRTA delegation to set up their own trial project, when they visited Munich to investigate the 5G Broadcast solution in April 2019. Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), Kathrein, Rohde & Schwarz and Telefónica Deutschland are cooperating in this research project to explore a 5G broadcasting solution. Two Rohde & Schwarz high-power transmitters located at the Wendelstein and Ismaning sites are transmitting both with 100 kW antenna power in SFN.
According to Rohde & Schwarz, the Beijing 5G Broadcast trial could have an important influence on chipset and handset manufacturers due to the huge potential market. It could be a further driving force on a commercial end-to-end realisation of the new broadcasting technology.