Raising your game with private 5G networks

By Kevin Fernandes, Dejero

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Getting a live multi-camera event-based production to air is a tangle of logistics, whatever and wherever an event is taking place. Planning can take months; the coordination of getting people and equipment onsite is challenging; setup and test times are laborious; bottom line is getting everything to connect reliably onsite is demanding.

And then things can get even more complicated. Factor in distance, multiple roving cameras, quick turnaround times for content, uneven terrain and hundreds or thousands of spectators, and the challenges ramp up fast.

Hole-in-one scalability

So, how do broadcasters overcome these well-documented issues, and how can scalable private 5G networks provide a robust wireless backbone at a fraction of the cost?

Recently broadcast facilities supplier Prolink TV partnered with critical-connectivity company Dejero in a project that saw the development of an alternative to traditional event rigging. Rather than laying a physical infrastructure, they blended private 5G networks with a range of network paths for ultra-dependable low-latency connectivity.

A golf tournament: The geography can cover up to 200 acres of land, with substantial cabling and rigging costs. Utilizing up to 30 km of cabling, typical setup time is seven days and four days to de-rig. Long cable runs not only pose health and safety risks but attract a series of natural hazards; electrical cables are irresistible to squirrels and other rodents, which means that each cable must be manually checked every day. Coupled with the transportation of cabling, generators, hoists, and buggies, wired connectivity across open spaces is hugely labor and cost intensive. It’s no surprise that only the biggest events can justify this level of resources.

Reliable wireless connectivity for live productions can be difficult to secure in outdoor spaces. Location is paramount, and large events like presidential inaugurations, music festivals or state occasions can be some distance from cellular towers. Meanwhile, thousands of visitors competing for the same bandwidth can put any of the available cellular networks under significant pressure, and wireless bandwidth which looked sufficient during setup can quickly be oversubscribed.

This makes trying to wirelessly move HD video signals tricky.

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No event size limits

Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology not only provides reliable wireless connectivity. It also opens the door to cover more niche events, such as second tier sports or specialist festivals, flower shows, community events or small music concerts. It also enables broadcasters to maintain the same professional levels of coverage at a much lower cost. Dejero Smart Blending Technology guarantees dependable onsite backhaul by aggregating multiple IP networks across cellular, satellite and fiber connections, and dynamically managing bandwidth, packet loss, and latency differences in real-time. It creates a “network of networks” to enable content producers a more robust bandwidth than a single provider can deliver.

Blending private 5G mesh networks with public 5G networks provides an additional guaranteed layer of connectivity. Dejero has been working with private data networks for multi-camera streaming for many years.

A broader spectrum

4G LTE private networks are notoriously difficult to manage due to multiple international standards and non-standard technologies, but 5G has a broader common spectrum for international use as well as an agreed hardware infrastructure.

While access to private frequency bands must be applied for from the relevant communications regulator in advance, Dejero already has relationships with multiple international licensing partners, and a local 5G mast is quick and easy to set up.

A single portable mast operating at 12 feet can cover a wide range ─ in the tournament example it can easily cover an entire golf course ─ and Dejero can also create private point-to-point networks which are independent of regulatory approval using point-to-point access to create a secure LAN.

A single mast will support site-wide connectivity for twelve simultaneous 10Mbps cameras at as low as 500ms latency, and with no dropouts. With this in place, scalability is simply a mathematical exercise, and the same model can be applied to any broadcast model which operates over a wide area and features hostile geographical elements, such as motor cross, inaugurations and press scrums, and cultural festivals.

This system enables the 4×4 MIMO antenna architecture on connected Dejero EnGo video mobile transmitters to achieve guaranteed connectivity, independent of public networks. The added security of Smart Blending Technology to combine public and private connections guards against unexpected surges in traffic, delivering camera feeds in real time to an onsite Dejero GateWay network aggregation solution for backhaul.

Ultra low-latency with Starlink Satellite

Meanwhile, offsite delivery can utilize the same technologies, seamlessly blending networks across cellular, LEO, GEO and MEO satellite connections, and fiber lines, into one data pipe. Dejero’s partnership with Starlink helps deliver low latency streaming with a latency of around 25ms. Starlink operates the world’s largest low-orbit satellite constellation with over 1,000 satellites in low Earth orbit to provide low latency coverage from even the most remote venues.

The ace: private 5G networks

Blending public connectivity with private 5G networks can significantly lower production costs. It drives down installation, reduces setup and derig times, minimizes the number of staff onsite, cuts travel and accommodation, removes the need for tonnes of cabling, and speeds up the production process for the creation of onsite highlight packages.

Above all, it enables smaller, more niche events to provide the same professional coverage as top tier events.

This opens up new horizons for many – and horizons that can be monetized.

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Kevin Fernandes, DejeroKevin Fernandes joined Dejero in 2017 and leads the global sales team as Chief Revenue Officer. He brings 15 years of experience working with audio and video customers to develop and support equipment for broadcast, medical, and industrial markets. Prior to Dejero, Kevin held various senior level B2B sales roles with a focus on connecting clients with the right solutions to fulfil their business needs. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and a Masters of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University, located in Hamilton, Ontario.

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