Traditional Newsgathering 1
Traditionally, the live coverage of outside broadcast events was expensive and logistically cumbersome. For many media outlets, investing in specialist satellite trucks or expensive satellite services, wasn’t feasible, while even the live presentation of a single camera from field-to-studio typically required costly transponder space.
Editorial options and coverage of events were also restricted by the steep cost and complex challenges of deploying a satellite truck and the need to site traditional RF cameras.
While bonded cellular technology changed the game for newsgathering, it could not fully replace satellite links, for example, when cell coverage is poor and available bandwidth limited.
Meanwhile, satellite technology also advanced. And newsgathering itself evolved dramatically.
To cover live news events, camera crews deploy mobile solutions that can transmit more than just video. They require access to multiple applications, including Voice-over-IP (VoIP), video clip transfer, web and archive browsing, email and social media, as well as applications such as Avid iNews or Octopus Newsroom. All these applications require a reliable bi-directional IP “multiservice” communication link of sizeable bandwidth to allow news crews to operate like they are in the studio.
To aggregate enough IP bandwidth to concurrently handle all services a remote location requires, the specialist “cellular bonding” industry now bonds all available IP networks at a given point in time – whether it is 3G/4G, microwave, Wi-Fi, fiber, Ka- or Ku-band satellite.
Modern mobile newsgathering kits can accommodate this aggregation. In the race to be first-to-air, flexibility, agility, efficiency, reliability, compactness or portability and ease of use are critical.
As well as having the breadth of IP-supported media available, an intelligent connection management system handles bandwidth fluctuations over each media, taking into account the different Quality of Service (QoS) these applications require per terminal. Additionally, this system can flexibly address re-distribution of available satellite bandwidth over the concurrently communicating remote terminals.
When Would Newsgathering Crews Rely on an IP Satellite Connection?
When terrestrial links are unavailable, for example, in war zones or following a natural disaster. When terrestrial links don’t provide enough bandwidth or when bandwidth becomes contended over time, as more news crews arrive on site to cover an event. When cellular connections suffer from too much jitter, affecting the video quality. When terrestrial links are not cost-effective, for example, for unplanned events outside of the standard coverage footprint.
Satellite Transmission Challenges and Overcoming them
SCPC vs MF-TDMA
Current satellite technologies (MF-TDMA and SCPC) either do not adequately support on-demand bandwidth or high efficiency/high bit rate transmissions.
Switching between the two can cause considerable satellite link outage, packet loss and space segment fragmentation. Newtec Mx-DMA® addresses these challenges, combining MF-TDMA flexibility at SCPC-like efficiencies on either Ka-band and Kuband infrastructures.
Deterministic QoS Behavior
A next-generation VSAT platform features a multi-level deterministic QoS model, providing similar flexibility to terrestrial networks. Newtec Dialog® features a multi-level QoS model.
When a satellite operation is intended to work independently of other IP media, a dedicated scheduling software with a customer-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) can be provided. Newtec’s SATLink Manager is one example.
Integration into an Intelligent Connection Management System
More know-how on the satellite network’s status (e.g. congestion levels) and control over QoS configuration parameters (CIR/PIR) enables connection management systems to act intelligently based on their know-how of all-IP networks. This information is retrieved through a rich API of the VSAT platform, like the one provided by Newtec Dialog.
Satellite infrastructure and space segment may be owned, or purchased as a managed service, while hybrid models are also possible.
New pay-per-use business models put broadcasters and news crews in control of their bandwidth management and expenses. Flexible service plans can be accommodated.
Example managed services relying on Newtec Dialog today are IntelsatOne Prism and Network Innovations Maverick.
1. SVG Staff, Whitepaper: Live cellular uplinking for television and the web, http://www.svgeurope.org/blog/news-roundup/whitepaper-live-cellular-uplinking-for-television-and-the-web-liveu/, October 3, 2011.
2. Frusina B., CTO & Founder Dejero, Transport Live Video across bonded IP networks, www.dejero.com, January 2017.
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