WORLD CUP - HDTV soccer games need plenty of bits to run

T-Systems has built one of the biggest and most secure private broadcast transmission networks in Germany to support the World Cup soccer tournament.

So far, nothing major has gone wrong. But engineers at T-Systems International GmbH, which is operating the huge transmission network carrying high-definition signals from 12 stadiums hosting the World Cup soccer tournament in Germany, aren't kicking back because, as the saying goes, "the game isn't over until it's over."

T-Systems, a unit of German telco Deutsche Telekom, is in charge of a highly robust and reliable network that carries standard TV and HDTV (high-definition television) signals for what media experts say is the most viewed sports events in the world.

For sure, with billions of viewers glued to their tubes, the company's reputation could be quickly ruined by a technical glitch, like a loss of transmission during a decisive game. Not surprisingly, T-Systems has built one of the biggest, most reliable and secure private broadcast transmission networks ever to operate in Germany, let alone Europe.

The fiber optic network uses dedicated WDM (wavelength division multiplexer) at the lowest level, SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy ) in the middle and IP (Internet Protocol) on top of the stack.

"What we have, essentially, is a packet over SDH network, which provides point-to-point IP connections," said Carsten Winterberg, head engineer of the FIFA World Cup broadcast project at T-Systems. "We need this type of connectivity to provide uncompressed signals."

Host Broadcast Services (HBS), which has been hired by the World Cup tournament organizer Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to provide production services, has required all signals to be delivered in an uncompressed format. Uncompressed HDTV signals require transmission connections of around 1.5G bps (bits per second), according to Winterberg.

To play it safe, T-Systems has two fiber optic cables running into the stadiums, each capable of transmitting data at speeds up to 20G bps. A satellite link is held in reserve, should both cable connections fail.

The stadium cables connect to a meshed backbone, boasting 480G bps of capacity.

"HDTV puts special demands on data transmission, such as packet delivery times and packet loss," said Walter Zornek, head of the FIFA World Cup engineering project at T-Systems. "We've had to design the network to meet these broadcast-specific demands."

All cables, nodes and other network components are monitored by an advanced network monitoring system.

The network is tough, if not almost impossible, for hackers to crack, according to Winterberg. "It's totally self-contained; the signals are completely separated from all other networks," he said. "I suppose you could try to cut a cable somewhere, but even that won't bring the network down because we have a lot of redundancy built into it."

For the World Cup, T-Systems has also amassed a satellite farm, consisting of 25 dishes to beam signals around the globe.

"The World Cup has helped us learn how to work with HDTV on a very large scale," Zornek said. "We'll be able to put this experience to good use for the German professional soccer league where HDTV is to play a big role in future."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Blau

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?