Canadian Broadcasters Test Digital SFN

Collaboration involves Rohde & Schwarz, Moseley Broadcast and the Communications Research Centre Canada
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Rohde & Schwarz is collaborating with Moseley Broadcast and the Communications Research Centre Canada to create one of the first single-frequency network test beds for ATSC fixed and mobile digital television. The research and development agreement is being conducted under the auspices of the CRC.

The test bed will facilitate research and development on ATSC single-frequency networks, including field verification. The mobile test bed will cover about 250 square kilometers in the Ottawa, Ontario area. In-depth evaluation and development will be conducted in a dedicated network using an available TV channel in Ottawa. The headend for the network is located at CRC facilities, with one transmitter on a communications tower at CRC and others on structures in and around Ottawa. A wireless wide area network was constructed in Ottawa to enable remote communications via Internet on a virtual private network for the remote labs, or field measurement vehicles for control and monitoring of all equipment in test bed.

The tests are expected to demonstrate the potential of ATSC mobile DTV technology to broadcasters and government regulators.

Rohde & Schwarz will provide ATSC mobile DTV SFN transmission equipment and expertise. The company is one of the pioneers in developing technologies used in the ATSC mobile transmission standard. Moseley Broadcast will supply the point-to-point microwave communication systems that link the head-end to the SFN sites. The CRC, having designed the SFN topology for Ottawa, will provide the transmitter sites along with its expertise in the area of digital television broadcasting research.

The ATSC mobile DTV standard was ratified last week last week. It opened the door for transmitting TV signals to handheld devices. Single-frequency networks use multiple transmission sites to enhance signal coverage.

“In an ATSC Mobile DTV SFN, multiple towers send the same program content at exactly the same time and on the same frequency,” Rhode & Schwarz said. “This makes efficient use of spectrum resources, and the resulting transmitter diversity can help mitigate the challenges associated with mobile and fixed reception.”