A Flexible Architecture for Broadcast Broadband Convergence in Beyond 5G: Abstract and Intro

11 Jun 2024


(1) Rashmi Yadav, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India (Email: rashmiy@iitk.ac.in);

(2) Rashmi Kamran, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India (Email: rashmi.kamran@iitb.ac.in);

(3) Pranav Jha, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India (Email: pranavjha@ee.iitb.ac.in);

(4) Abhay Karandikar, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India and Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi, India (Email: karandi@ee.iitb.ac.in).

Abstract—There has been an exponential increase in the usage of multimedia services in mobile networks in recent years. To address this accelerating data demand, mobile networks are experiencing a subtle transformation in their architecture. One of the changes in this direction is the support of Multicast/Broadcast Service (MBS) in the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Fifth Generation (5G) network. The MBS has been introduced to enhance resource utilization and user experience in 3GPP 5G networks. However, there are certain limitations in the 3GPP 5G MBS architecture, such as the selection of the delivery method (unicast or broadcast) by the core network (may result in sub-optimal radio resource utilization) and no provision for converging non-3GPP broadcast technologies (like digital terrestrial television) with cellular (3GPP 5G) broadband. In this context, we propose a new architecture for the convergence of cellular broadband and non-3GPP broadcast networks. A novelty of the architecture is that it treats signalling exchange with User Equipment (UE) as data (service) which results in improved scalability of mobile networks. The architecture supports enhanced flexibility in choosing a delivery method (3GPP 5G unicast, 3GPP 5G broadcast, or non-3GPP broadcast) for user data. We evaluate the performance of the proposed architecture using process algebra-based simulations, demonstrating a significant reduction in the number of signalling messages exchanged between the UE and the network for MBS session establishment as compared to the 3GPP 5G network.

Index Terms—Fifth Generation (5G) network, Beyond 5G (B5G), Multicast Broadcast Services (MBS), Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), Broadcast Broadband Convergence.


IN recent years, there has been a remarkable rise in multimedia content utilization over mobile networks. As highlighted in the Ericsson mobility report [1], video content, especially in social media and video-on-demand services, comprises the largest and fastest-growing segment of mobile data traffic globally, which accounts for approximately 70% of traffic share in 2022. Highlights from the same report show an annual growth of about 30% by the end of 2028, further increasing the global mobile data traffic’s video share to 80%. Moreover, Qualcomm’s broadcast report [2] predicts an enormous rise in live streaming content on social media, with approximately 800 million users expected to participate in daily live streams. These statistics reflect the significant impact and importance of multimedia services in the present-day mobile network.

The deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) mobile networks brings the possibility to increase the usage of Multicast/Broadcast Service (MBS). MBS is a crucial use case to address the increasing data demands within the framework of 5G technology. Apropos to this, Release 17 of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G standards has introduced the support for MBS to enhance the 3GPP 5G architecture. Nevertheless, there are some architectural limitations of the 3GPP 5G MBS support. These include the selection of delivery methods (unicast or broadcast) by the Core Network (CN) that might result in sub-optimal utilization of resources, limited handling for user mobility for MBS, and no provision for the convergence of Non-3GPP Broadcast Networks (N3BNs) within the 3GPP 5G (such as Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)).

This section provides the literature survey related to MBS architecture and mechanisms. The work in [3] presents various architectural concepts and mechanisms to optimize network loading and traffic patterns for MBS delivery. The paper [4] presents a comprehensive review on the convergence of broadcast and broadband in the 5G network. The authors in [5] proposed an enhanced Next Generation Radio Access Network (NG-RAN) architecture with architectural and functional enhancements to provide the efficient delivery of terrestrial broadcast services. The work in [6] explores a mixed transmission mode that utilizes shared multicast, broadcast, and unicast resources over the same physical channel. In [7], authors review the upcoming 3GPP 5G standards, discuss limitations of 3GPP 5G MBS architecture and present state-of-theart standardization initiatives towards integrating N3BNs with the 5G. Furthermore, the latest release of the 3GPP standard (Release 18) does not include the support for integration of the N3BN and the 3GPP broadcast network.

To the best of our knowledge, the prior art lacks comprehensive architectural solutions related to the convergence of cellular broadband (3GPP 5G) and N3BNs and scalability enhancements in the context of MBS delivery in mobile networks. We propose a flexible architecture for broadcast broadband convergence where we treat UE signalling as data or service. Therefore, we call the proposed architecture a Signalling Service-Based Architecture (SSBA) for broadcast broadband convergence. This work is based on prior research conducted in [8], focusing on the convergence of broadcast and broadband as the authors did not delve into this specific aspect. The SSBA presents a scalable network architecture making it a promising solution for the Beyond 5G (B5G) landscape through enhanced resource utilization in a converged network. SSBA provides the flexibility to choose between broadcast and broadband delivery methods based on resource availability. We are exploring LTE and 5G broadcast (FeMBMS), but the proposed architecture can also incorporate other broadcast schemes, such as the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). An illustration of the convergence of N3BN in the proposed SSBA is provided in Section V. In Section IV, we evaluate the performance of the proposed SSBA using the Eclipse plug-in [9], a tool for modelling distributed systems with the help of Performance Evaluation Process Algebra (PEPA) [10], a modelling language.

The rest of the paper is as follows: Section II also presents the architectural details of the proposed signalling servicebased architecture. Section III presents the system model. We conclude in Section VI along with future directions.

This paper is available on arxiv under CC 4.0 license.