Broadcasting Premiership Rugby over a Pop-up 5GSA Network

  • Post category:News

Last Saturday the Neutral Wireless team deployed a pop-up private 5G Stand Alone network at the Saracens vs Northampton Saints rugby match for BT Sport. In a UK first, the network was used to connect pitch side UHD cameras to BT’s live production suite for live television broadcast.

Last Saturday the Neutral Wireless team deployed a pop-up private 5G Stand Alone network at the Saracens vs Northampton Saints rugby match for BT Sport. In a UK first, the network was used to connect pitch side UHD cameras to BT’s live production suite for live television broadcast.

Our 5GSA Network (left) providing connectivity for pitch side cameras

The Neutral Wireless 5GSA network was operating in the n77 Shared Spectrum band, featuring AMD Xilinx FPGA-enabled radio and compute systems. The 100 MHz cells were configured for high uplink throughput, with an edge user-plane deployed on site to meet tight latency requirements.

This is a truly ‘mobile’ 5G solution – ‘mobile’ because the basestation can be easily wheeled to its location in a medium size equipment case, and the Antenna, Radio Unit, Baseband unit and 5G core can be set up in less than 15 minutes.

Malcolm Brew, Neutral Wireless

Long-time Neutral Wireless partners Vislink connected 5G modems to their video encoders and live streamed from the pitch cameras across the network. The streams broke out the user-plane, were decoded, and headed straight to the BT Sport production suite. The test network build and integration was supported by the BroadcastRF team.

Our collaborators Vislink and BroadcastRF worked with us to deliver the live BT Sport broadcast

BT Sport also demonstrated remote live production facilities. The 5G connected camera feeds were streamed to the cloud with MobileViewpoint equipment, and a remote studio was assembled to show the future of production!

Since our first demonstration with BT Sport, Dorna and Vislink at Silverstone MotoGP last year, we have continued to work with our European partners to custom design and integrate a versatile 5G software defined radio solution that has application in many market verticals and it’s great to see this live to air deployment.

Cameron Speirs, Neutral Wireless (CCO)


A video detailing some aspects of the live broadcast from BT Sport can be viewed below: