CP Communications Turns To IP, Bonded Cellular For NYC Marathon Race

NEW YORK—CP Communications and its Red House Streaming business delivered end-to-end acquisition services for the TCS New York City Marathon Nov. 4, relying on a full complement of IP and bonded cellular technology for the first time to provide coverage from all five boroughs of the 26.2-mile race.

Four Smart cars, four motorcycles and other special motorized platforms, such as two POV wheelchairs, were equipped with cameras and Mobile Viewpoint bonded cellular systems, according to CP Communications. Their signals were routed to the company’s flagship HD-21 RF truck, where they were received, processed and passed on to NEP ESU broadcast trucks at the finish line. Those trucks provided the world feed uplink as well as local and national feeds.

In all, CP Communications carried bidirectional video and audio from 11 cameras and 240 intercom ports over its bonded cellular network, said Kurt Heitmann, company CEO. The Mobile Viewpoint solution provided the robust compression needed to optimize bandwidth and maintain video quality.

In preparing for the marathon, CP Communications took into consideration areas of the race course where cellular coverage would be challenging, particularly spots where large numbers of spectators could overwhelm cell circuits, he said. Those places included areas around the starting line and along the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge heading into Brooklyn — spots that required special attention to maintain video and audio signals.

“The core of our operation comprised three main sites: at the starting line in Bay Ridge, near the Millennium Hotel in Manhattan and at the finish line. In addition we had three highly robust unilateral IP streaming sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan,” said Heitmann.

The company relied on nearly 600 unique IP addresses from Brooklyn through the Bronx. It also deployed a MIMO mesh network across the Verrazano Bridge to feed internet to the Smart cars as well as intercom and other services, said Heitmann.

“We added COFDM traditional microwave receivers to get the coverage we needed off of the bridge, due to the limited cellular coverage, and deployed COFDM near the finish line for the same reason. That safeguarded our operation for the first and last mile of the race, in the event that limited cellular coverage caused the signals to drop,” he said.

However, the strength of the network architecture allowed CP Communications “to stay purely IP through to the finish line” once the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was crossed, said Heitmann.

“This was a first for the New York City Marathon, and a big step up from our past coverage strategies,” said Heitmann.

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Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.