Tieline Technology delivered a world sports first recently by broadcasting live audio over WiMAX IP during a football match in South Africa.
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a telecommunications technology that provides broadband IP wireless transmission. These links act as an outdoor 802.11b/g wireless Ethernet bridge effectively creating a reliable, high speed, long range (2km-100km) private LAN connection between two points or multiple points.
The broadcast was initiated by Siemens and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and conducted with partners Broadcast and Installation Engineering and Multisource Telecoms, who are trialing the technology in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa next year.
"We connected a Tieline Commander G3 IP codec to an Airspan MicroMAXd ProST WiMAX standalone base station and broadcasted flawlessly over 3km between ABSA Stadium in Durban and the SABC Broadcast Centre for the entire game," said Russel Jones, engineer for Broadcast and Installation Engineering. "The SABC was thrilled with the results and they remarked that the connection sounded much clearer than their regular ISDN connections and audio latency was barely noticeable."
Successful tests conducted prior to the live event over the Airspan WiMAX Ethernet links delivered solid audio at over 9kms between transmitter and receiver.
"The potential for using WiMAX technology in broadcast applications is only just being recognised," said Darren Levy, Tieline's international marketing manager. "Using WiMAX technology to obtain higher bandwidth IP connections has implications not only for remote outside broadcasts, but also for low cost permanent studio to transmitter link and network audio distribution applications."
The Tieline codecs facilitated sending 20kHz broadcast quality stereo audio to the SABC Broadcast Centre via the WiMAX link at 256Kbps and received a return feed of the same quality that the commentators used as foldback/IFB. Tieline's unique QoS Performance Engine Technology delivered an extremely reliable IP connection with very low latency by using features such as automated jitter buffering and advanced forward error correction techniques, to replace any lost packets over the wireless network.
The SABC is the largest broadcaster in South Africa and has invested in around 60 Tieline codecs across its extensive radio and television network. The SABC's codecs are used to broadcast over ISDN, POTS/PSTN and IP networks like 3G wireless and they integrate with a range of other broadcast codec brands.