Satellite/Internet Hybrid Content Delivery (Ku-Band Without Rain Fade!)

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Originally Aired - Tuesday, April 16   |   1:50 PM - 2:10 PM PT

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Satellite distribution is the ideal way to send the same content to many locations that are geographically distributed.  However, the traditional C-band distribution is now impacted by the new 5G cellular network, which operates mostly in the 3.3 to 3.6 GHz band (which partially overlaps with the Space-to-Earth spectrum).  Ku-band is not impacted by 5G, but unfortunately it is subject to rain fade. 

One possible approach to solving this content delivery problem is to augment satellite delivery using the Internet.  The basic idea is to use the satellite for the “heavy lifting” (transmitting as much data as viable), with the Internet to “fill in the gaps”.  In other words, any data that is corrupted or lost in transit is retransmitted over the Internet, only to the locations that need it.  This way, if a region is experiencing any sort of fade or interference, only the receivers in that region need to use the Internet.

Any solution to this problem needs to be designed in such a way that it can co-exist with current receivers.  This means that the signal transmitted to the satellite either cannot change, or it any changes to it must be backward-compatible with existing receivers.  Broadcasters utilizing this solution can then gradually deploy the solution as needed, with high-priority sites being upgraded first.

The RIST Activity Group in the Video Services Forum has been working on this problem, to create a common industry Specification for this solution.  Having such a Specification will allow interoperability between vendor solutions, and not lock broadcasters into a single vendor.  This Specification is expected to be published as VSF TR-06-4 Part 6, sometime in 2024.

From an implementation standpoint, the key function is to have the receiver identify which data segments it has not received from the satellite, to request their retransmission over the Internet.  The RIST AG is considering two solutions: an “intrusive” solution, where additional data is inserted into the transport stream transmitted to the satellite (in a backward-compatible manner), and a “non-intrusive” solution, which makes no change to the satellite path, but requires a low bitrate continuous communication with all the receivers.

This paper is a technical overview and discussion of the techniques and algorithms which will be included in the VSF Satellite/Hybrid Specification.

Presented as part of:

Content Creation and Delivery Technology


Ciro Noronha
Cobalt Digital