Live footage of the Silverstone British Grand Prix MotoGP was beamed to a global audience, on the world's first private standalone 5G network for sports broadcasting as part of a ground-breaking collaboration.Global motorcycle racing MotoGP showcased using a private 5G standalone network using shared spectrum in collaboration with UK TV broadcaster BT Sport, Vislink, the University of Strathclyde and series promoter Dorna Sports.
“Operating on Ofcom’s shared spectrum band, which are radio frequencies set aside for public use, we have demonstrated viability and performance of a 5G standalone network at Silverstone,” said Malcolm Brew, 5G Engineering lead in the StrathSDR software defined radio and 5G team.
Onboard 5G camera
Live pictures at the Silverstone British Grand Prix MotoGP were broadcast live to a global audience from a 5G handheld camera positioned on the starting grid. Meanwhile, an onboard 5G camera was used to display video images from the back of a test motorcycle.
Global technology company, Vislink, supplied a 5G wireless camera transmitter and a 5G motorcycle onboard transmitter, which linked to a standalone 5G shared spectrum network created by the Strathclyde team. This covered the pit lane, paddock and a section of the iconic Silverstone circuit.
Following this the images were supplied to Dorna Sports’ production department who then shared them with their broadcast partners, including BT Sport in the UK and went live to air globally, allowing the 5G technology to make a true world’s first.
“This was a successful collaboration between partners showcasing the power of a standalone 5G network to enhance sports production,” said Andy Beale, chief engineer at BT Sport.
Remote production using 5G
StrathSDR worked with partners AW2S and Amarisoft, both based in France, who respectively manufacture the 5G software stack running on the baseband units and the remote radio heads built on Xilinx FPGA technology. System design and engineering integration was carried out by the StrathSDR start-up company Neutral Wireless Ltd
Remote production using 5G, as seen at the MotoGP, can allow a more efficient method of producing live sports, news and events coverage than traditional outside broadcasts. Remote production using 5G requires fewer camera operators, although many more cameras, and can be deployed to events so staff are able to work on multiple events from a centralised studio.
“This is a great example of engineering expertise from SME partners in France and UK collaborating to build and rapidly deploy 5G networks, in popup locations to serve high performance and demanding applications,” said Cameron Speirs, Chief Commercial Officer at Neutral Wireless Ltd.