both components, while the company’s Signal
Extender 2.0 lacks the amplifier.
Teradek’s new Node product (Figure 2) also
combines larger antennas than are available
on most cellular modem cards with a signal
amplifier for an extra boost. Significantly, this
is the first Teradek product that accepts SIM
cards directly into the unit, which simplifies
transport and usage, and presents a more ruggedized and weather-proof exterior. While the
first versions of Node will be region-specific
for North and South America and other areas,
Teradek plans to introduce a worldwide unit at
some point in the future.
Similarly, the LiveU Xtender integrated
antenna-only solution can increase network
reception for additional resiliency for live vid-
eo transmission in heavily crowded areas. The
bottom line is that whichever cellular bond-
ing system you choose, you can increase your
chances of successful transmissions by using
two to four modems and signal extenders.
What’s New in 2017?
Potential buyers sorting through new models from these vendors will find plenty of new
features, including HEVC encoding from LiveU
and Teradek, which should deliver quality comparable to existing H.264-based products at 40–
50% bandwidth savings. This is obviously significant when you’re vying for bandwidth, or if
you’d like to cut costs by using fewer modems
or lower bandwidth.
LiveU’s product is a new HEVC Pro Card,
which is available as a user-installable upgrade
to LiveU’s LU600 unit, as shown in Figure 3. The
card supports both HEVC and H.264, which is
important for backward compatibility with most
CDNs or live-streaming services.
Teradek’s product is the Cube 755, a standalone HEVC/H.264 encoder that can transmit
directly via Wi-Fi and GigE support. Alternatively, you can transmit via Teradek Share-Link, a service that bonds signals from multiple
iPhones (but not Android phones), along with
the Wi-Fi or GigE from the Cube unit itself. Or,
you can pair the Cube with a Teradek Bond
cellular bonding unit.
Despite the obvious benefits of HEVC, note
that you’ll find few direct use cases. That is, few,
if any, live-streaming services or CDNs accept
HEVC input—yet another result of the devastatingly poor royalty strategy pursued by HEVC IP
owners. If your ultimate target is a CDN or live-streaming service, you’ll have to transmit through
each company’s cloud service, transcode to H.264
in the cloud, and route the transcoded signal to
the desired service or services.
Some services, like Teradek’s Core (see
Figure 4 on page 74), will charge extra for this,
while others, like LiveU, don’t plan to, at least
for sub-4K streams. If you’re buying into HEVC
to save money, be sure to factor the costs of
these transcoding services into the equation.
Alternatively, for point-to-point transmissions,
you can transmit directly to an HEVC decoder,
which both companies offer.
New from Mushroom Networks are the
Streamer 2000i, 4000i, and 8000i devices (see
Figure 5 on page 74), which have been ruggedized and run through certifications for deployment on trains, or with first responders or law
enforcement. These units feature embedded
Teradek Node, a
unit for HEVC