Flexible Connectivity Hits Europe


Yvonne Monterroso TV-Bay Magazine
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The low-latency Dejero CellSat network was launched in Europe in January of 2019, which is excellent news for European broadcasters who can now benefit from the same flexibility CellSat provides North American Dejero customers, such as World Racing Group (WRG).

The production teams at WRG, the premier sanctioning body for dirt track racing in North America, are no longer fully dependent on the local cellular towers in remote locations at peak times during an event. Thanks to Dejero Cellsat, that intelligently blends cellular connectivity from multiple mobile network providers with Ku-band IP satellite connectivity from IntelSat, WRG's production team is now achieving its goal of streaming 100% of its premier racing schedule, saving on resources, cost, and set-up times in the process.

They now have the bandwidth needed to transmit broadcast-quality video in real-time from virtually anywhere. CellSat blends the individual strengths of cellular and satellite networks that has enabled a sharp rise of its social media profile, while it has seen exponential growth in live fan engagement during races. Its live streaming has transformed as a result.

Before such time, the dirt track racing specialist was losing valuable viewer interest because event coverage from remote, congested locations and challenging venues just wasn’t feasible and the group was forced to leave many events out of their streaming schedule. They needed a connectivity boost.

“Thanks to Dejero CellSat, we can now live stream an entire race schedule that has never before been possible,” explained Brian Dunlap, director of broadcast services at WRG. “Up to this point, we were limited by technology, only streaming a maximum of 50 events a year, a number we had been slowly growing since we started streaming content in 2004. We’ve nearly doubled that number, now able to stream each of the 93 races in our schedule reliably—even when cellular networks are congested.”

European first at Royal wedding

CellSat already made its mark in Europe last year, during a soft launch with the Canadian crews from Global TV. Global needed to capture the high-profile Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, while surrounded by nearly a hundred thousand visitors, busy live streaming and posting photos back to their friends and families around the world, congesting cellular networks.

Dejero CellSat enabled Global TV to deliver seven hours of on-location, live coverage of the Royal Wedding by optimizing connectivity sources that were available in the vicinity. The Dejero CellSat blended connectivity solution provided the broadcaster with the confidence they needed to go live in Windsor, where these large crowds and competing media users were likely to cause cellular network congestion, and fibre was not readily available given the temporary locations of the live shots. A vehicle equipped with a satellite antenna was not an option for this event, given the constraints of the Windsor location. With the ability to use a portable fly-away antenna, the CellSat solution demonstrated its versatility to Global TV

This type of event is the key market for CellSat in Europe: “The beauty for us of using Dejero CellSat is that it offers the ability to blend multiple connections and get increased reliability at a big event like the Royal wedding. It’s great that we can use our existing video over IP workflow,” explained Mark Blanchard, manager, network services, Global Television Canada.

What’s in the blend?

The CellSat connectivity service was created in partnership with Intelsat, a world leader in providing integrated satellite communications, who just launched a European satellite hub to support CellSat on European soil. The IS-35e Ku capacity satelite sits at 325.5ºE and its beams reach from Iceland to Saudi Arabia and from West Africa to Russia. Since the service is provided through a single point of contact, Dejero; procurement, management, and billing are greatly simplified. The solution includes hardware, software, and connectivity services to the CellSat network—all managed in the cloud, and backed with industry-leading technical support.

Cellular network connectivity is fast to deploy and cost-effective, but reliant on coverage provided by mobile network providers and subject to congestion from competing production crews and smartphone users vying for the same bandwidth or to weaker coverage in more isolated locations that only allow lower bitrate streams.

Satellite, which is very consistent and often relied upon for critical live coverage of major events, comes with increased costs, complexity, and administration time. Satellite time often needs to be booked in advance and in defined time slots. You also need to consider the location of the satellite in relation to the dish for line of sight—anywhere with high surroundings (buildings, etc) will be trickier. However, in these areas you’re more likely to have better cell coverage so the need for satellite drops.

Microwave technology is also reliable, but a story or event can occur beyond its range, or in a challenging location where line of sight or inclement weather obstructs the signal.

CellSat combines the best attributes of these technologies and provides broadcasters better choices. The multi award-winning Dejero CellSat solution provides enhanced reliability in situations where cellular networks are congested or cellular coverage is limited – ultimately presenting the necessary bandwidth, on demand, to deliver exceptional picture quality and greater reliability while on location.

CellSat users don’t have to book satellite time – it is simply available to boost bandwidth when and as they need, at the push of a button. The system also intelligently manages and blends the satellite connection with the available cellular connections. This enables Dejero to provide the aggregated bandwidth that delivers additional reliability when broadcasting live from the field.

In addition, while a satellite connection need not worry about location on the European continent, being close to a border could mean cellular connection to a foreign cell tower and higher prices. CellSat allows users to turn cellular roaming off to avoid these issues.

A midstream activation feature simplifies switching between cellular-only and CellSat transmission paths, without having to stop and restart the transmission. CellSat midstream activation puts greater cost control in the hands of broadcasters when contributing high-quality video content from the field. In addition to video transport up to 20 Mb/s with Dejero HEVC-capable encoders, the CellSat blended connectivity service also enables data transport for applications such as email and Internet access.


Tags: iss136 | dejero | wrg | cellsat | ku sat | is-35e | cellular | Yvonne Monterroso
Contributing Author Yvonne Monterroso

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