Planned as a proof of concept of the capabilities of a Mesh Network – a group of devices that act as a single Wi-Fi network – serving wireless cameras providing live coverage of the recent Blue Ribbon Round-the-lake Balaton Race in Hungary, delivered on its promise of stable signal connections for the live broadcast for the Hungarian national broadcasters with M4 Sport channel.

Blue RibbonBlue Ribbon, the longest inland regatta in the world, is an approximately 155km long sailing race around the lake with hundreds (600-plus) boats, and it has been held each year since 1934.

This year, Broadcast Solutions Hungary was on site to test and show national broadcaster the benefits of a Mesh Network but ended up rescuing the live broadcast – underpinning the power of Mesh Networks independent of legacy infrastructures in live broadcast on a real production.

Covering the action on the vast lake is akin working at sea with cameras installed on boats, helicopters and at different places ashore. Standard wireless transmission solutions depend on the infrastructure of an existing mobile network (3G/4G/5G), which is difficult to find in some locations, and often becomes congested at critical moments. Mesh Networks with Silvus radios offer some significant benefits in terms of bandwidth and coverage by establishing a dedicated and proprietary network.

During preparation and field-testing prior to the race, it became clear that even if there is Line of Sight (LOS) between the wireless units, most of the radio waves are absorbed by the water. Because of this physical fact the Broadcast Solutions team installed radios on hills and watchtowers located around the lake. In doing so, the engineers installed a network that reached more than 43km with a UDP link capacity of 5Mbps using four bBi Omni antennas on Silvus Streamcaster 4200 radios, from Alsóörs lookout-tower to Fonyód belvedere spot.

Cellular bonding networkThe main aim of the demonstration was proof that the system could cover the whole lake (600km2 with a maximum length of 80km) using a Silvus Mesh Network with just six radios ashore – two afloat on boats and one overhead in a helicopter – and succeded flawlessly.

At race start it quickly became apparent, that the common network used by the broadcaster reached its limits and failed due to congested networks, with a large number of spectators and the long distances that needed coverage. The race started, mobile networks went down, and there was no sufficient cellular connection not even with eight SIM card bonding units, and the live feed failed.

This was the point the Broadcast Solutions GovCom team raised the bar. With some fine-tuning on the parameters, installing two additional sector antennse, one further radio, and finally injecting the internet to the network, they established stable and running Silvus Mesh network.

Across the lake, every cellular bonding unit combined with a Silvus radio got an additional internet feed regardless of their weak cellular network connection. All bonding units attached to a Silvus radio were able to broadcast live pictures no matter they were up in the air or on the lake. The entire race and live broadcast went well, and the show was saved.

More: www.broadcast-solutions.de

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