Engineers from the University of Strathclyde built a custom private shared spectrum 5G standalone network which helped enable a new BT showcase of the powerful benefits that 5G can bring to broadcasters.
As part of an industry first collaboration, matchday cameras were connected to the 5G network, custom built for London’s StoneX stadium, during a match between Saracens and Northampton last weekend.
BT and the University of Strathclyde collaborated to enable a number of the matchday cameras to be connected via a standalone private 5G network it had installed at the ground. These cameras’ output then formed part of the live BT Sport coverage of the match in a UK first - never before have key matchday cameras, as part of a customer broadcast, been enabled in this way
The 5G demonstration network featured a 5G radio and 5G core from University spin-out firm Neutral Wireless Ltd, installed at the stadium by StrathSDR, the University of Strathclyde team. Pitch side cameras and user equipment (UE) radio technology was set up by visual communications firm Vislink and the 5G test network build and integration was supported by Broadcast RF.
Traditionally, broadcast cameras connect to the Outside Broadcast solely using radio (RF) signals which rely on proprietary equipment. 5G-enables potentially a range of cameras and other devices, in a wider range of locations to be used, opening up new creative and operational benefits to broadcasters.
Malcolm Brew, Principal Fellow at StrathSDR, University of Strathclyde, said:
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.
Matt Stagg, Mobile and Immersive Strategy Director at BT Sport, said: “Private networks provide the capability to configure the network in any way we want to support all types of productions and are going to revolutionise the production of live events.”
Dr Cameron Speirs, Chief Commercial Officer at, Neutral Wireless Ltd, said: “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.”
Paul Coffey, CEO at the Scotland 5G Centre added: “The urban and rural 5G Research & Development testbeds deployed with our support in Scotland, have not only aimed to demonstrate 5G technologies, but also helped stimulate and encourage the growth of tech and engineering companies contributing to the wider UK technology base for the 5G supply chain, and contribute to the UK Government 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy.
“It’s excellent to see StrathSDR and Neutral Wireless integrating and engineering their own custom, ‘software defined radio’ 5G base station technology for this 5G live sports event.
“This technology also has excellent application for more provincial and rural sports and events, like for shinty, mountain biking or the Highland Games.”
The BT demonstration of the trial is available on its YouTube page.