Airspan Networks says that it has won a contract from Multisource Telecoms, a South African wireless communications provider, for a live pilot radio broadcast. Multisource worked with Siemens and the South African Broadcasting Corp. (SABC), the state-owned broadcaster in South Africa, to cover the event.
The Airspan WiMAX equipment is being trialed with the intention of offering live broadcast for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa next year. The WiMAX equipment was set up to deliver connectivity, allowing the broadcast-quality audio of a soccer game between Manchester City and the Kaiser Chiefs in Durban, South Africa.
Johannes von Weyssenhoff, Siemens' Programme Portfolio Manager for Radio, said, "The SABC had decided to upgrade the equipment in its radio broadcast vehicles from analogue to digital. At present, a broadcast crew runs large, heavy, copper analogue cables from the stadium to the vehicle positioned outside. This enables the commentator, who sits inside the venue, to transmit back to the SABC for broadcasting."
"Airspan's WiMAX technology provides the capacity, security and efficiency to facilitate this kind of application. A high speed data connection was used for the audio link -- compared to the 64kbit/s offered by ISDN lines -- and this provided a high-quality audio performance that was clearly noticeable when monitored off-air," von Weyssenhoff continued.
In addition to the enhanced audio quality, the WiMAX link eliminates the use of cables, improves security and saves costs. For example, a sporting event in South Africa typically involves 11 radio stations, each using an ISDN line to provide commentary. By using WiMAX, all 11 stations can transmit to the SABC on one shared link.
"This has been a very exciting project," said Jacques Jordaan, Manager, Technical Services of Multisource Telecoms. "After the successful trial at the Durban game, we are confident that Airspan's WiMAX is the technology best suited for the broadcast at the FIFA games. The country is extremely proud and excited to host next year's FIFA World Cup and we are committed to improving visitors' and locals' experiences in any way we can, including by offering a quality broadcast of the game for those who are not fortunate enough to attend in person."
Airspan's MicroMAXd, a micro-cell base station with all-in-one outdoor packaging of RF and base-band components, was used for this application.