Verizon Wireless continued testing its LTE Multicast technology, announcing it has been offering the service this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend’s Indianapolis 500 event.
During the actual race, Verizon Wireless said it plans to incorporate live video from the race broadcast into its LTE Multicast feed. The feed will run over the carrier’s commercial LTE network, tapping into a dedicated downlink channel that can feed devices on site compatible with the service. The offering will use network equipment from Ericsson; Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 devices embedded with Multicast chips, middleware and multimedia services from Qualcomm; additional tablets from Sequans; middleware from Expway; and application development and content management from MobiTV.
Verizon Wireless initially showed off its Multicast service at the CES event in 2013, while earlier this year conducted its first live demonstration at the Super Bowl. That event relied on network equipment provided by Alcatel-Lucent, and according to a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman “went great.” The carrier at that time said it was working towards having the network enabled during the third quarter of this year.
The service runs off the LTE Broadcast standard – also known as evolved multimedia broadcast multicast service – that is designed to more efficiently transmit live video events to a large number of mobile devices. Instead of each individual device using a dedicated LTE channel to connect to video content, the LTE Broadcast offering would allow for a carrier to stream the content one-way to be received by enabled devices. This is expected to allow for more efficient use of spectrum. Qualcomm used a version of this with its short-lived MediaFLO service, which the company discontinued in late 2010.
Verizon Wireless has spent the past year adding spectrum support for its LTE service, tapping into its extensive 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum holdings to add capacity to the network’s 700 MHz spectrum base. Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless unveiled the “XLTE” marketing term for that spectrum enhancement. Verizon Wireless parent company Verizon Communications announced in early 2013 plans to set aside some of the spectrum serving its LTE network for dedicated video streaming. That offering morphed into the LTE Multicast service.
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