Germany’s 5G Today Broadcasting Field Trial Gets Underway

Test operation will run until Oct. 31, 2019.
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MUNICH—With a few clicks of a tablet, Germany’s 5G Today project, a field trial for 5G broadcasting, officially got underway in the Bavarian alpine region. Kicking off a two-day accompanying conference at the Broadcast Technology Institute IRT, 5G Today is designed to lay the foundation for the efficient transmission of broadcasting content in the 5G networks of the future, which could serve millions of future 5G devices.

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Arndt Bode (Bavarian Research Foundation), Uwe
 Löwenstein (Telefónica), Anton Kathrein (Kathrein-Group), Ulrich Wilhelm (ARD-Chairman, BR), Dr. Florian Herrmann (Bavarian State Chancellery and Minister of State for Federal and European Affairs and Media), Thomas Janner (Rohde & Schwarz), Manfred Reitmeier (Rohde & Schwarz), Michael Hagemeyer (IRT), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Reimers (IfN, Technische Universität Braunschweig)

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Arndt Bode (Bavarian Research Foundation), Uwe Löwenstein (Telefónica), Anton Kathrein (Kathrein-Group), Ulrich Wilhelm (ARD-Chairman, BR), Dr. Florian Herrmann (Bavarian State Chancellery and Minister of State for Federal and European Affairs and Media), Thomas Janner (Rohde & Schwarz), Manfred Reitmeier (Rohde & Schwarz), Michael Hagemeyer (IRT), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Reimers (IfN, Technische Universität Braunschweig)

First announced in the spring of 2018, 5G Today is a partnership between the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation, IRT, Kathrein, Rohde & Schwarz and Telefonica Germany. The field trial is covered by two high-performance transmitters located in Ismaning on top of the Wendelstein mountain. Both transmitters operate with 100 kW effective output power. Based on the new broadcast mode FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), 5G Today will test far-reaching distribution of content across large coverage areas with a radius of up to 60 km.

“We must design our future digital communications infrastructures in such a way that everyone can continue to benefit from the diversity of media content,” said Ulrich Wilhelm, director general of Bayerischer Rundfunk and current chairman of ARD. “I welcome the fact that Bavaria is playing a pioneering role in setting standards and in shaping our digital world in this sense.”

The setup at the transmitter location in Ismaning features an antenna system from Kathrein designed for the distribution of broadcast signals to mobile devices. Rohde & Schwarz, meanwhile, contributed HPHT transmitters that are used for 5G radio transmission; the pair operate as a Single Frequency Network in channel 56/57 (750-760 MHz). Telefonica Germany is making the appropriate frequencies available for this purpose.

“With this forward-looking concept, broadcasters can enjoy the same advantages in the distribution of video content over 5G networks as they do in classic broadcasting, such as high video quality, short latency times and long range,” said Peter Riedel, COO of Rohde & Schwarz.

“With this field trial covering Munich and the Bavarian alpine region, we now have a unique and true pioneer project—even if it will still take a few more years for commercial terminal devices to become available and before public operation will be possible,” said Michael Hagemeyer, managing director of IRT. “The test will provide important insights for our research.”

IRT is coordinating the project and developing a prototype FeMBMS received based on a Software-Defined Radio solution. This technology could eventually be integrated into smartphones, tablets and TV sets for reception of live and linear content over 5G.

5G Today will run until Oct. 31. Following the test period, the results and further exploitations of the findings will be further evaluated.