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Future third generation wireless network operators, such as those holding UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) licenses will be able to deliver higher bandwidth content rich services over new infrastructure to end-users of innovative new terminal equipment. In order to reduce the risk of potential network overload, it is envisaged that in future, multimedia of mass interest will be multicast simultaneously to multiple users in the network. Applications such as those becoming more widely deployed on the Internet, (video/audio streaming) will provide the revenue pull to compel UMTS operators to consider re-using them in their networks. The Internet Engineering Task Force, (IETF) has accounted for these traffic requirements by introducing optional protocols that would avoid the replication of packets so that applications could be transported in a more cost effective way, (IP Multicast). In order to allow similar one-to-many services to be used in UMTS, the Third Generation Partnership Project, (3GPP) has begun optimising the future global standards for UMTS. In future UMTS networks, high bit rate services could be transported over bearers in a more resource efficient manner, (broadcast/multicast applications) addressing the issues that are unique to wide area wireless environment. This paper provides an overview of the potential architectural design challenges that would allow more efficient distribution of unidirectional point-to-multipoint multimedia to multiple subscribers, whilst conserving network resources both in the core-network and the radio access network.
Date of Conference: 8-10 May 2002