The Universitat Politècnica de València, through the Institute of Telecommunications and Multimedia Applications (iTEAM), leads the 5G-Xcast European project, whose main objective is the design of an innovative 5G network architecture that facilitates the large-scale distribution of new ultra high-definition audiovisual content and other interactive services such as augmented reality, virtual reality and 360º content. The project is also of particular relevance for the future of the connected car, the Internet of Things and emergency services as it will design new multicast and broadcast point-to-multipoint components of 5G, which are key in each of these applications.
5G-Xcast has a budget of 8 million euros, and is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme from the European Union within the second phase of the 5G-PPP project (Public-Private Partnership in 5G). In addition to the UPV, the project’s leader and the only Spanish partner in the consortium, there are 17 other participants – from a total of 9 countries – among which Nokia, the BBC, British Telecom, Samsung and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) stand out.
According to David Gómez Barquero, researcher at the iTEAM Mobile Communications Group of the UPV and project coordinator, the growing demand for 4k UHDTV ultra high-definition content and, in the future 8k UHDTV, and new emerging immersive interactive services, will further increase the demand for capacity and performance of communications networks.
None of the existing networks, whether fixed, mobile or television broadcast, has the ability to support this type of future demand on its own. 5G-Xcast will develop a solution that will overcome these limitations, says Gómez Barquero.
Point-to-multipoint transmissions allow the same content to be transferred in the highest quality and efficiency as possible to many users simultaneously. And this is where this project shines, since point-to-multipoint transmissions are considered essential in many of the novel uses of 5G, such as the connected car or the Internet of Things, not only for multimedia and emergency services; 5G-Xcast will become the flagship project for 5G broadcasting worldwide over the next two years, adds Gómez Barquero.
The first tests of the technological developments of this project are scheduled to take place in the European Athletics Championships – which will include swimming, gymnastics, rowing, golf and triathlon events- next year to be held simultaneously in Berlin and Glasgow in August 2018.
The first meeting of the 5G-Xcast was held at the UPV during the third week of June 2017, with the presence of all partners to discuss the first challenges of the project.