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In this paper we investigate the potential gain that can be obtained in DVB-H using application layer forward error correction (AL-FEC) to perform a multi-burst protection of the transmission for improving the reception of streaming services for mobile terminals. Compared to the conventional approach with link layer multi protocol encapsulation FEC (MPE-FEC), this technique allows to increase the robustness of the DVB-H transmission not only as a function of the capacity devoted for error repair (FEC overhead), but also as a function of the number of bursts jointly encoded. The main drawback of this approach is an increase of the network latency, that can be translated into a larger service access time, and, in the case of mobile TV, a larger zapping time between channels, which is currently seen as a crucial parameter for DVB-H usability. In this paper the performance of the proposed approach is evaluated using field measurements. We evaluate the gain compared to MPE-FEC in terms of reduced IP packet error rate of the streaming service as a function of the FEC overhead and the latency introduced. Moreover, simulations have been performed to quantify feasible link margin gains. We also discuss techniques to reduce and hide the zapping time from the perception of the users.
Date of Publication: June 2009