Many people are familiar with FLO technology and the delivery of linear television. Not many people are aware of data delivery through FLO technology’s datacasting & file delivery functionality. This functionality can be used for video on demand-like functionality, offloading of data traffic from 3G networks or delivery of other types of data to large audiences.
One approach to data delivery is to break it into two categories, time-sensitive and non-time-sensitive data. Time-sensitive data needs to be delivered within a few minutes – stock quotes and traffic alerts are great examples. Data that is not time-sensitive has a longer “shelf life” and can be delivered over a longer period of time. PDF files and videos are examples of data that do not need to be delivered in real-time.
You could deliver all data as time sensitive data but the trade-off is power consumption on the FLO receiver (i.e. mobile device). The receiver has to monitor the FLO network frequently to detect when there is new data to receive. Time-sensitive data like stock quotes and traffic alerts may be delivered without forward error correction to reduce overhead and latency since the nature of the data implies that it will be resent periodically as the data changes.
Videos and PDFs can be scheduled for delivery over a period of hours or even days. The FLO receiver can monitor the FLO network less frequently based on the file delivery schedule. This type of content needs to be received without errors before it can be used. The use of forward error correction is required to ensure that files are error-free. Therefore, data such as this will need to be resent periodically over a several days to ensure that devices that have missed previous transmissions have a chance to receive the data. Devices that have already received the data will then ignore resent data.
Datacasting and file delivery has the potential to deliver data that is being consumed by millions of users simultaneously. As data usage continues to grow on 3G networks, the ability to deliver data without further loading the 3G networks is increasingly valuable.