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Cellular Bonding for Broadcast Explained

Curious about cellular bonding, what it is, the benefits it has to offer, and its applications? Look no further!  

We love a good explainer post here at Haivision. In fact, we have a whole series of them dedicated to sharing some of the fundamental principles behind the latest video encoding and transmission technologies. In this blog, we’ll be sharing the fundamentals of cellular bonding and how it can support your upcoming live broadcasts. So, without further ado, let’s get started.  

What is Cellular Bonding and Why Do I Need it?

Cellular bonding is when two or more cellular data connections are combined to provide increased bandwidth, reliability, and redundancy in situations where there’s either cellular network congestion or unreliable reception in remote areas. The key concept here (and a core tenet of all Haivision solutions) is reliability. While it’s entirely possible to stream video from a single cellular connection, bandwidth fluctuations and network coverage issues caused by location, traffic on the network, weather conditions, and even obstructions (such as buildings and hills), means that relying on a single connection, especially if you’re on the move, poses a significant risk of failure or poor quality. For this reason, streaming over a single cellular network is not well-suited for use cases when clear, consistent communication is deemed critical. 

Network aggregation is a technique used in cellular bonding to combine multiple cellular connections to achieve higher data transfer speeds and better reliability. Network aggregation is the process wherein the bandwidth of multiple cellular connections is combined to create a single virtual connection with higher capacity. This can then be used for high-speed data transfer and real-time applications. Cellular bonding can also provide two-way video streaming for returns feeds during a live broadcast.  

Whether you’re covering a live sports event or you’re on the move for newsgathering, a dependable, robust connection is critical. Cellular bonding can mitigate several risks associated with data transfer over a single cellular connection, including network congestion, network outage, unstable network connectivity, and security risks. By combining multiple cellular connections, cellular bonding can achieve a more reliable and faster connection for data transmission. 

What Benefits Does Cellular Bonding Offer Broadcasters?

Cellular bonding is a technique that enables video and audio streaming, live broadcasting, and other data-intensive applications to ultimately achieve higher levels of reliability and quality of service

Benefits bonded cellular can provide for broadcasters: 

  • The ability to broadcast from almost anywhere, even where there’s no available internet. 
    In other words, cellular bonding provides enhanced coverage. By using multiple cellular networks from multiple communication service providers (CSP), the bonded cellular technology expands the coverage area, which can be particularly helpful in rural or remote areas where signal strength may be weak. 
     
  • Less expensive and more versatile than satellite 
    Cellular bonding can be more cost-effective and easier to set up compared with traditional satellite or wired solutions, making it a viable option for live broadcasting and other data-intensive applications. 
     
  • Greater bandwidth and a more robust connection  
    By combining multiple cellular networks, the available bandwidth is increased, which can lead to faster download and upload speeds. 
     
  • Redundancy and reliability thanks to carrier diversity  
    If one cellular network goes down or experiences poor signal strength, the other bonded networks can pick up the slack, leading to a more reliable connection overall. What’s more, cellular bonding provides redundancy in case one of the cellular networks fails, which ensures that your connection remains uninterrupted, especially in time-sensitive circumstances. 
     
  • Lower latency 
    Latency is always important in the case of live broadcasts. Cellular bonding technology can significantly reduce latency, especially when including newer 5G networks, generating a faster response time and improved user experience as a result. 

Overall, cellular bonding can provide a reliable, high-bandwidth, and cost-effective solution for broadcasters. 

Video Transmitters & Mobile Encoders

Mobile video technology for newsgathering, live events and sports broadcast streaming over 5G.

When is Cellular Bonding a Good Choice for Broadcasters?

In the broadcast industry, cellular bonding is increasingly used for live video streaming and remote broadcasting applications. 

Some scenarios when cellular bonding for live broadcast can be useful: 

  • Live events: Bonded cellular can be used to provide dependable live streaming of events, such as sports, concerts, and news coverage. By combining multiple cellular connections, cellular bonding can ensure a consistently stable and high-quality transmission of the live video feed, even in areas with poor network coverage. 
     
  • Remote locations: When broadcasting from remote locations where traditional wired connections are not available, cellular bonding offers a reliable and cost-effective solution, allowing broadcasters to transmit live video feeds from virtually anywhere with cellular coverage. 
     
  • Breaking news: In the case of breaking news, journalists and reporters can use cellular bonding to transmit live video feeds and forward recorded video from the scene of the event, providing real-time coverage to viewers regardless of location. 

To summarize, cellular bonding can be an effective solution for broadcasters who transmit live video feeds or deliver on site recordings from remote locations or in situations where traditional wired connections are not available. In contrast to more complex and expensive satellite transmission, bonded cellular provides a more reliable and cost-effective alternative. 

SST and Cellular Bonding 
Haivision’s Safe Streams Transport (SST) is a double Emmy award-winning protocol that offers reliable and high-quality video quality transmission over 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular networks as well as LAN, WiFi, satellite, and the public internet. 

SST is the cornerstone of Haivision’s mobile transmitters and receiver solutions because of its many features: 

  • Forward Error Correction (FEC): SST uses FEC to reduce packet loss and mitigate the impact of network congestion. FEC allows the receiver to reconstruct lost packets by using redundant information contained in other packets. 
     
  • Adaptive Bitrate Control: SST adjusts the bitrate of the video stream based on the available network bandwidth. This helps to prevent buffering and ensures smooth playback of video. 
     
  • Low Latency: SST is designed to minimize latency to ensure real-time delivery of the video stream. This is achieved by optimizing the packet size and using advanced packet prioritization techniques. 
     
  • Encryption: SST uses encryption to secure the video stream from unauthorized access or interception.  
     
  • Resilience: SST is designed to be resilient to network disruptions, including packet loss and out-of-order delivery. The protocol includes mechanisms to retransmit lost packets and reorder packets that are received out of order. 

The SST protocol is designed to address some of the challenges associated with cellular bonding, such as network congestion, network instability, and security risks. By using a combination of FEC, adaptive bitrate control, low latency, encryption, and resilience mechanisms, SST can deliver high-quality video over a range of networks while ensuring security, reliability, and low latency. 

Get Started with Bonded Cellular

Harness low latency transmission of live contribution over cellular networks with confidence.

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