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Published: 25 October 2017

5G solution assures 4K video quality on mobile phones over the internet

Researchers in Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre have developed a novel technique that enables mobile phone users to view 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) video undisrupted, regardless of where the content source is located on the public internet.

The research was recently published at IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and also featured in IEEE Communication Society (ComSoc) Technology News in September.

"The solution we have developed paves the way to realising Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications at minimum 4K quality level which can be consumed by end users located at any corner of the internet.”

- Dr Ning Wang

The new technique, developed by researchers within Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), is based on Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) technology and works by intelligently pre-fetching an optimised number of video segments to a local cache in real time. With this solution, as long as the radio access network has adequate capacity, mobile users can always enjoy assured 4K video quality thanks to the availability of these video segments at the mobile ‘edge’.

The research solves a key technical issue presented by the growing demand for UHD video applications in mobile wireless environments. Currently users need to stream this type of video content and, if the content source is far away in the public internet, the assurance of 4K video quality will become impossible.

Reader Dr Ning Wang, who has been leading the research, commented: “5G is about substantial improvement in network capacity, latency and reliability as well as embedded network intelligence – and this research is a good example of that. The solution we have developed paves the way to realising Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications at minimum 4K quality level which can be consumed by end users located at any corner of the internet.”

The research was carried out by a group of researchers including postdoctoral researcher Dr Chang Ge who has worked on algorithm design, implementation and experimentation. The team has worked in close collaboration with 5GIC’s industry partners including Fujitsu European Labs, BBC, BT and Telefonica.

Having demonstrated the solution to more than 20 visiting groups to 5GIC, the research team now aims to extend this work to support large-scale 4K live streaming and multicasting/broadcasting in 5G environments.

The research paper, ‘Toward QoE-Assured 4K Video-on-Demand Delivery Through Mobile Edge Virtualization With Adaptive Prefetching’ was published at IEEE Transactions on multimedia in October.

Read a feature about the research in IEEE ComSoc Technology News.

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