A team from Strathclyde and a University spin-out are part of a team which won two innovation awards for deploying a stand-alone pop up 5G network to support the live broadcast of the Coronation of King Charles III.

A team of engineers from Strathclyde’s Software Defined Radio team (StrathSDR) and spin out Neutral Wireless, won the Content Creation Award at this year’s International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), in collaboration with the BBC.

Historic event

Neutral Wireless and StrathSDR worked with the BBC and other key partners to deliver the world’s largest temporary private 5G standalone network, supporting international broadcasters, for the historic event in May.

The network was used by 20 leading broadcasters, including the BBC, CBS, Sky and CNN. Eight 5G cells were set up along The Mall, providing reliable and uncontested coverage from Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch. It delivered 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) of wireless connectivity, carrying high definition (HD) video from wireless cameras to production facilities around the world.

The kit was deployed after successful network testing in Loch Lomond-side at the Scotland 5G Centre supported Wave 1 Rural testbed earlier in 2023.

Best paper

The team was also awarded the best technical paper award at the IBC convention in Amsterdam.

The paper details how the private network was deployed along The Mall, a project that drew on years of collaborative work and demonstrated the viability of 5G technology for media production.

It was praised by the IBC committee and the Institution of Engineering & Technology, as ‘exceptionally well-written and materially relevant to the media industry, sharing valuable technical insight.’

The potentially game-changing technology reduces the reliance on fixed wire connections between camera crews and outside broadcast vehicles, heralding a new use case for 5G.

Exciting outputs

Professor Bob Stewart, from the Strathclyde Software Defined Radio team, said: “5G technology was previously used on a smaller scale to connect cameras for international news broadcast coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Scotland. 

“Following the Coronation network success, we are now driving forward our research and development for private networks and together with our spinout have some exciting outputs lined up over the next twelve months.”