Newsnet Leverages Licensed Broadcast Spectrum Assets for Reliable Bi-directional IP Network Transmissions

By: John Payne IV, president of IMT USA

There are several approaches to transmitting live and file-based content from the field to the studio. Traditional microwave Electronic News Gathering (ENG) provides high bandwidth, high-quality transmission with low latency. Using the secure dedicated BAS spectrum keeps control in the broadcaster’s hands.

While the internet, IP technology and bonded cellular networks have radically changed the way ENG is performed, too often broadcasters are connecting field and studio via unsecured, broadband infrastructures that they do not have control over. Current infrastructures often suffer from contested cellular bandwidth, complete lack of cellular access in some locations and high usage costs.

The big disadvantage of bonded cellular is that the digital link most organizations are relying on, can vary widely in performance and reliability. As demand for bandwidth increases, commercial users of public frequencies have even less control and are more at the mercy of the cellular carriers’ business strategies.

There is a direct correlation between the demand for unlimited cellular data and decreased mobile speeds. Unlimited data plans are slowing down mobile speeds for Verizon and AT&T customers, according to data released by mobile network measurement company OpenSignal. The more users and plans offered, the greater the congestion will be for networks.

 By contrast, IMT-Vislink’s newsnet solution leverages licensed broadcast spectrum assets while also adding cutting-edge IP-based features, supplying the best of both worlds. With newsnet, we have pioneered an alternative IP-centric technology, which preserves the security of the licensed BAS 2GHz frequency band while maximizing its efficiency and spectrum usage. As ENG becomes more reliant on the Internet, broadcasters must depend heavily on unsecured broadband infrastructures as the main corridor connecting field and studio.

We leveraged Vislink’s history in the wireless capture, delivery and management of high-quality live video to develop newsnet as a way of completely transforming traditional ENG workflows. It incorporates a high-speed and reliable bi-directional IP network that utilizes the exclusive and highly coveted 2GHz BAS-licensed spectrum, thereby increasing the number of live ENG transmissions and workflows that can be performed from the field.

The newsnet system consists of one or more mobile high-speed IP network nodes that easily connect with a base station, typically located at existing ENG receive sites. Each mobile node not only offers high-quality video transmission capability, but also a private and reliable ingress point for other IP-centric edge devices — allowing users to control their own private high-speed IP licensed wireless network and ensuring that their content and intellectual property are never at risk.

With an intuitive user interface that is accessible to many skill levels, newsnet allows for multiple access points to operate simultaneously on the same BAS channel, all while enabling a high bandwidth IP connection with the newsroom computer system (NRCS). This IP connection can further be leveraged to enhance news production values through high-speed file sharing, as well as enabling all other IP-centric tools in remote locations, phone systems, Closed Captioning, automation and remote asset management. Newsnet is compatible with MOS protocol-based news automation systems such as Ross, Octopus, Dalet and Video Inception.

A mobile app allows a crew to easily set up microwave links and assess connection strength without contacting the studio. The system manages the radio network to provide dependable links and prioritize video and data bandwidth based on studio systems feedback, with dedicated screens for monitoring and control for the gallery. An intuitive drill-down map based user interface shows deployed assets and infrastructure, with graphical control and monitoring of the whole system.

The newsnet solution recently won the 2017 Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) Technology Award. The SBE Technology Award recognizes the best new or innovative technology or idea that furthers the science of broadcast engineering. It is an honor to be recognized by the Society of Broadcast Engineers. We will continue to provide industry professionals with dependable and high-quality transmissions that make their jobs easier and produce great results. We have implemented newsnet within select prominent broadcast stations and have seen superb results thus far. It has the potential to be a key tool for broadcasters seeking to maximize their coverage while fully leveraging studio assets—thus delivering a more engaging and immersive experience for their viewers.

For more information on the newsnet solution, visit