Generic Stream Encapsulation for DVB-S2

The second generation satellite standard for Digital Video Broadcast – DVB-S2 – was developed in 2003 and ratified in 2005, providing significant performance gains over its predecessor in a number of ways. The standard’s specifications and system operation made the traditional Transport Stream (TS) communications protocol obsolete, meaning a new IP encapsulation protocol was required, taking into account the Generic Stream format of DVB-S2. Therefore, a working group, chaired by Axel Jahn, was set up to develop the Generic Stream Encapsulation (GSE) protocol for DVB-S2. It started work in December 2004 and the DVB Bluebook was published in May 2007.


A key consideration in the design of the GSE protocol was to minimise overheads in order to reduce the significant costs of the satellite segment. The goal was for the overhead for a typical packet length distribution to be less that 3% of the total packet.

When tested in comparison to Multi Protocol Encapsulation (MPE), the standard used with the first generation of DVB-S, GSE reduced the transmission overhead by up to a factor of three and increased capacity by around 10%.

DVB technical guidelines on GSE have been published as a DVB Bluebook, which is available here.

GSE enables the transmission of broadcast, multicast and unicast services. These include:

  • General broadcasting of IPTV
  • Data content distribution/trunking and other professional applications
  • Internet connectivity, using either terrestrial or satellite return channel

GSE Protocol: framing architecture

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