In Kenya, pioneering trials of 5G technology for outdoor TV broadcasts supported by the University of Strathclyde have been carried out. According to media reports, this potentially game-changing technology that reduces the reliance on fixed wire connections between camera crews and outside broadcast vehicles could see a new use case for 5G.

The proof of concept trials aimed to overcome technical and logistical challenges faced by broadcasters, which rely on large, heavy equipment and lengthy cabling.

The technology was designed by the University of Strathclyde’s software-defined radio team, StrathSDR, and engineered by spinout company Neutral Wireless.

In technical terms, the technology relies on ‘shared spectrum’ radio waves, used by mobile phone operators to provide services or private radio waves. However, technicians created a private ‘pop up’ network for the 5G transmission, meaning it was safe, secure and reliable, despite the high usage of the mobile signal by event attendees. They called the project ‘5G Remote Production in the Middle of Nowhere’ and created a portable private 5G ‘Lomond Network in a Box’. (NIB)

A trial four thousand miles away took the team to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Mount Kenya, home to the endangered Grevy’s zebra and Jackson’s hartebeest. The conservancy is also the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and its’ pioneering initiatives include rehabilitating animals rescued from the black market. The technology was tested to live stream to Youtube.

Speaking on the new technology, Professor Bob Stewart of the University of Strathclyde said, “We have built a truly private network using shared spectrum, which broadcasters can have complete control over. Our trials prove that you can be rural and implement the technology to make an untethered 5G network. Furthermore, we’ve shown that a private 5G network can be highly portable and rapidly deployed anywhere – worldwide.”

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