How Private 5G Networks Allow for Remote Video Backhaul

Posted October 3, 2022

Innovative solutions to enable dynamic, flexible and high performance live video production were recently showcased at the IBC show in Amsterdam. The IBC Accelerator project, “5G Remote Production… In the Middle of Nowhere!” highlighted how private 5G networks unlock truly untethered live remote production. Working closely with ecosystem partners, including Neutral Wireless and Open Broadcast Systems, Zixi was able to successfully manage live video backhaul, securely and error free, in support of the Pitlochery Scottish Highland Games!

Private 5G networks offer a reliable and secure wireless backhaul solution without suffering issues encountered on public networks, like degraded performance when large crowds and high traffic levels are present.

Delivering mezzanine quality live video to the production switcher over the private 5G network requires a high performance encoding solution to maximize available bandwidth.  Additionally, precise latency management across the backhaul chain must be ensured while also guaranteeing uninterrupted, highly resilient streams that can overcome periodic signal degradation without impacting video quality.

Live remote production and offsite contribution is becoming increasingly popular, but it can be expensive and difficult to set up. Traditional RF networks are often prone to public interference, especially as crowds gather and tie up local mobile networks, and require multiple dedicated networks for video backhaul, comms, control, and operations per connected device. Wired SDI or IP networks can mitigate this problem, but they present staging and deployment issues and reduce production flexibility. Venue egress bandwidth also requires long lead times to provision and can be prohibitively expensive for remote productions.

Leveraging a Private 5G radio network for live camera feed backhaul greatly simplifies operations.  Private 5G networks (also called ‘Non-Public Networks’ or NPNs) can be tuned to prioritize uplink bandwidth for video backhaul while providing an ultra-low latency two-way connection, consolidating the ancillary communications and control paths to a single network.  For these projects, the Neutral Wireless Network-in-a-Box solution was providing up to 350Mbps of dedicated bandwidth on a single uplink, providing the throughput to host many concurrent broadcast-quality live camera feeds.

OBE encoder performance optimizations in the video backhaul path provided pristine quality live audio/video backhaul while significantly reducing the inherent latency of video compression.  Zixi Broadcaster is able to dial in ultra-low latency reliable transmission that is continuously optimized to ensure the lowest possible connection latency while preserving uninterrupted throughput from the camera to the live video production systems.

Live production backhaul over unmanaged internet can be reliably delivered by bonding diverse network paths.  Combining 5G, 4G LTE and now Starlink internet connections into a coherent high throughput bonded Zixi enabled network supports live contribution from even the most remote locations.  Zixi was able to tune the bonded networks to maximize the performance characteristics of the available networks.  Once received in ZaaS, the feeds were conditioned and normalized for the unique delivery requirements of many concurrent target destinations.  ZaaS includes ZEN Master, which provided global live monitoring dashboard views of the end-to-end distribution, including presenting on-prem operations teams an ultra-low latency live video confidence monitor WebRTC connection. 

The flexibility of untethered operations, simplified production workflows and ubiquitous availability of video optimized network egress should unlock new live event production capabilities and novel audience experiences that traditionally would have been too costly or complex to produce.  Zixi is very excited to participate in these cutting-edge projects that are reshaping how live programming is captured, produced and delivered!

For more information on the contribution from the event, including leveraging bonded public 4G/LTE and Starlink Satellite IP networks to Zixi’s cloud ZaaS solution, check out the Zixi Solutions Brief.