The Big-T told us last year it was tinkering with fancy ways to send out 4G coverage so that more people would experience less congestion. Now one of those technologies if finally being trialled in the real world. It's called LTE-Broadcast, and it means a great deal for the way you'll experience network congestion.
LTE-Broadcast, or LTE-B, was explained to us last year thusly. LTE-B is designed for more effective video and media deployment around the network so that people watching or using media content doesn’t create a whole mess of congestion.
Imagine for a moment 500 people all watching the same broadcast of a sports game over the 4G network on the same radio base station. With ordinary LTE, all of those users would be crushed under their own weight. On LTE-B, however, content is pushed to the tower to turn it into a broadcast-style system where the users would hook onto the one stream rather than consuming all of the tower’s network capacity.
Telstra said this would have benefits for not just media broadcasts, but also machine-to-machine communications as well as files that need to be downloaded by a lot of folks at once.
The telco explains it similarly, saying that it can't just roll out more spectrum to cater for a congested network in the same way that you can't just magic another lane into being on a crowded road. Instead, you make the road smarter so that it flows easier.
Telstra has said that its LTE-B trial could be used for more than media:
Many customers often want the same content delivered to their mobile phone at the same time. This might be a copy of the newspaper in the morning, a new operating software upgrade, or live feed of a sports contest. Traditionally if 100 people in a mobile network cell area wanted this content, we would send out 100 different streams of data – which uses a lot of network capacity. Through our LTE-Broadcast trial, we have today demonstrated that it’s possible to use one stream of data, to deliver the same content to multiple users – keeping the rest of the network free for other customers. It’s a similar concept to how TV stations broadcast to multiple television sets with one stream.
News, software updates and media delivered more efficiently across the network? Giddy up!
Telstra is testing the LTE-B tech right now in undisclosed locations. Hopefully we see it roll-out to everyone soon. [Exchange]
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