Rohde & Schwarz Inc. and Rohde & Schwarz Canada are collaborating with Moseley Broadcast and the Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC), with the aim of creating one of North America’s first single-frequency network (SFN) test beds for both ATSC fixed and mobile digital television (ATSC Mobile DTV). The research and development agreement is being conducted under the auspices of the CRC.

The digital television SFN test bed will facilitate R&D for fixed, as well as advanced ATSC Mobile DTV SFN technology including field verification, with the benefit of over-the-air testing via the test bed. The ATSC Mobile DTV SFN test bed, which will cover about 250 km2 in the Ottawa, Ontario area, provides the greatest possible flexibility for the partnership. Its in-depth evaluation and development will be conducted in a dedicated network using an available TV channel to enable the freedom to explore new technologies, including types of ATSC Mobile DTV SFN distribution networks.

Rohde & Schwarz will provide both ATSC Mobile DTV SFN transmission equipment and expertise, while Moseley Broadcast will supply the point-to-point microwave communication systems that link the head-end to the SFN sites. The CRC, having designed the SFN topology for Ottawa, will provide the transmitter sites along with its extensive expertise in the area of digital television broadcasting research. CRC sees this collaboration as an opportunity to perform state-of-the-art research in DTV broadcasting and to conduct testing of ATSC Mobile DTV receivers in a real-life SFN situation.

The head-end for the network is located at CRC facilities, with one transmitter located on a communications tower at CRC and others on structures in and around Ottawa. A wireless WAN has been constructed in the city to enable remote communications via Internet (VPN) for the remote labs, or field measurement vehicles for control and monitoring of all equipment in the test bed.

It is anticipated that it will also allow the team to demonstrate the potential of ATSC Mobile DTV technology to broadcasters and government regulators. The results are expected to benefit both the US and Canada, which have adopted the same format for digital television broadcasting.