Bell Labs and net mobile improve mobile video streaming reliability

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
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Bell Labs and net mobile AG reduce the problem of poor quality video streaming in vehicles on the move

  • Context-Aware Video Streaming technology enables sixfold improvement in quality for car and public transport passengers without using up network capacity

PARIS — Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), and net mobile AG (net-m), a leading provider of mobile value-added services and payment solutions, have reduced the probability of poor video streaming quality on the move with a new technology that can deliver a six-fold improvement over today’s streaming levels – without consuming any extra network capacity.

The new technology – Context-Aware Video Streaming – is based on Bell Labs’ Context-Aware Radio Access (CARA) solution. This makes smart use of location-based information, including road and network coverage maps and radio performance data, to deliver algorithms that predict upcoming network performance. Based on this prediction, more seconds of the video are downloaded to the consumer’s device in areas of good coverage before the vehicle enters a poor coverage area. This results in a dramatic reduction in video stalling and the quality of experience is greatly improved for the consumer.

The gains in quality were measured during test drives across Düsseldorf in Germany over a conventional mobile network. The routes consisted of highways, tunnels and other typical areas for consumers travelling through the city in a car or public transport vehicle. A video shows the difference in quality of video streaming on-the-road between two devices, one with context-aware technology and one without.

Dieter Plassmann, CTO of net mobile AG said: “The improvement of streaming quality while on-the-go is a major challenge for all stakeholders in the mobile industry, including network operators, equipment vendors, content as well as service providers. And it makes me very proud that our joint research with Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs already bears fruits and moves us ahead of other stakeholders in providing a seamless video streaming user experience on all screens, anywhere and any time, always in best quality.”

Tod Sizer, head of wireless research at Bell Labs said: “We live in a world that is increasingly dependent on mobile devices. We need to find new and creative ways to deliver video content no matter where we travel. This collaboration yielded some promising results that we hope to improve and continue to explore as we work on the next generation of networks.”

About Bell Labs Context-Aware Radio Access (CARA)

CARA enables high service quality in areas that lack coverage or capacity. This is particularly useful as users travel in vehicles quickly between one radio cell to another, in areas of high-congestion or in poor coverage areas such as tunnels or narrow streets.

The demand for video on-the-move continues to grow dramatically among consumers and businesses. As a result, Bell Labs is focused on developing video optimization solutions for wireless networks, such as the LTE evolved Multimedia broadcast Multicast (eMBMS) technology, and is continuing this research for 5G wireless networks. Context-Aware Video Streaming is being integrated into net-mobile AG’s streaming service for a public trial starting in the Summer.