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Monetise 5G: Blend private 5G networks & best-in-class RF antennas to offer ultra-dependable low-latency connectivity

By Shaun Lim

At a time when investment in 5G is beginning to grow exponentially in the Asia-Pacific region, latency and throughput are the two major benefits offered by wireless technology.

Speaking with APB+, Cameron Smith, CTO of Dejero, explained, “Lower latency unlocks real efficiencies for broadcasters, including switching capability in the cloud and other traditionally on-prem tasks. Low latency will also help with virtual reality (VR) for production purposes.

“With increased throughput or more bandwidth, 5G means that more content in higher resolutions can be brought into production. Augmented reality (AR) and the transfer of holographic images could be the norm in a few years’ time. That’s exciting.”

According to the GSMA, between 2022 and 2025, mobile operators in the Asia-Pacific region are set to invest US$227 billion in 5G deployments. This access to 5G networks, Smith said, will make it easier for broadcasters to transmit video and transfer files from locations where they previously struggled with coverage and bandwidth. 

It would also represent a natural transition from 4G as optimising connectivity becomes a priority. He maintained, “If we look back to when 4G started to become widespread — and broadcasters were excited about moving HD streams over cellular — the industry figured that 4G would be all they ever needed. Whether that was when we began moving SD video, or in the future when we’ll be moving 4K video, we’re going to see an evolution in terms of what can be transferred.”

Besides distributing content to the consumer, 5G networks can also support station distribution, according to Smith. Instead of routing video across the broadcast station over SDI or Ethernet, the cost of wired installations can be removed if the 5G infrastructure is reliable enough to move video around.

For those in the field, 5G is also likely to open up more possibilities for live production.

“5G is fuelled by the exponential growth of video over IP and the growing consumption of high-quality video through traditional channels and new media,” said Smith. “Its benefits go beyond resolution and will transform field and mobile broadcasting, making scenarios which were previously reserved for wired environments, possible. For example, 5G’s lower latency for all communication and applications between the station and the field crew will enable more to be done remotely in live broadcasts.”

Most critically, 5G offers live remote production teams more bandwidth to deploy multi-camera setups with more powerful capabilities, and to create Remote Integration Model (REMI) kits that improve workflows significantly.

For instance, Dejero recently partnered with broadcast facilities supplier Prolink TV for a golf tournament project that saw the development of an alternative to traditional event rigging.

Rather than laying a physical infrastructure, Dejero blended private 5G networks with a range of network paths for ultra-dependable low-latency connectivity. The geography of a golf course can cover up to 200 acres of land, with substantial cabling and rigging costs. Utilising up to 30 km of cabling, typical setup time is seven days and four days to de-rig.

Smith reviewed, “In this scenario, blending public connectivity with private 5G networks significantly lowered production costs. It drove down installation, reduced setup and derig times, minimised the number of staff onsite, cut travel and accommodation, removed the need for cabling, and sped up the production process for the creation of onsite highlight packages.

“Creating 5G private networks 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 monetised.”

5G: The next wireless IP connectivity evolution

With its asymmetric architecture, 5G is poised to meet the demand for more bandwidth and improve the user experience, if the infrastructure can catch up, said Smith.

He illustrated, “5G could be likened to premium gas for your car: it sounds amazing in theory, but it won’t perform as it should if your car is old or if the engine is not prepared for it. It’s not just the fuel (or the 5G), it’s all the components that make the difference. Hence why the right hardware, antennas, security and other design considerations are imperative.”

In the meantime, Dejero’s focus is to help bridge the gap between the carrier’s speed to build and the broadcaster’s desire to push investment in future-proof technologies. By enabling blending of multiple 5G, 4G LTE and satellite connections, Dejero transparently ties all of these connections together.

For Dejero, 5G is the next evolution of wireless IP connections, offering an ultra-fast connection path that can be aggregated with any other IP connections available to reliably deliver the bandwidth that broadcasters and media organisations need when operating remotely.

Smith added, “For the demanding nature of live news and sports coverage, it is imperative to have mobile network operator diversity, and support a diversity of cellular technologies (3G/4G/5G). The 4G LTE infrastructure will still be relied on for many years to achieve the bandwidth required for broadcast quality video, broader availability of cellular signals — since individual operators have coverage gaps — low latency, and the high reliability that broadcasters need.” 

When it comes to product development, Dejero is driven by its mission to provide resilient connectivity for all broadcast applications, including video or apps in the field, file transfers or remote workflows.

For instance, the EnGo 3 and 3x mobile video transmitters are built from the ground-up to help users optimise 5G. Using 16 antennas in total (4×4 MIMO antennas), these transmitters have built-in modems that support a broad range of cellular bands in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, China, South Korea, and Latin America.

IBC 2023, which is taking place from 15 to 18 September at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, will also see Dejero introducing the EnGo 3s at booth 2.B51. Built with native 5G modems and built-in GateWay Mode for wireless internet broadband connectivity, the EnGo 3s also offers 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 connectors, providing users with the ability to handle high frame rate and 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) signals over a single cable.

In addition, the EnGo family’s new ‘Gateway Mode’ provides wireless broadband internet connectivity in the field to enable mobile teams to reliably, securely and quickly transfer large files, access media asset management (MAM) and newsroom systems, and publish content to social media.

GateWay Mode also provides general internet access to resources for field research, access to cloud-based services and also serves as a high-bandwidth access point for devices.

It is essentially about providing the best equipment to not only be 5G compatible but also leverage the technology’s full potential. “Dejero’s 5G implementation takes the best of our high-performing Smart Blending Technology and combines it with best-in-class RF and antenna design to drive the most resilient connectivity on the EnGo 3, EnGo 3x, and EnGo 3s mobile video transmitters,” Smith explained.

The next step, he revealed, is to take the best from what is available, including 5G, and combine it with low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite services such as Starlink, as well as the existing 4G links that Dejero’s customers have been relying on to deliver their content for many years. “Our Smart Blending Technology allows our customers to use all the available tools in the right capacity depending on what type of signal is being transmitted,” Smith concluded.

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