Streaming Media

Streaming Media on Facebook Streaming Media on Twitter Streaming Media on LinkedIn
 
Upcoming Industry Conferences
Streaming Media West [13-14 November 2018]
Live Streaming Summit [13-14 November 2018]
Streaming Forum [26 February 2019]
Past Conferences
Streaming Media East 2018 [8-9 May 2018]
Content Delivery Summit [7 May 2018] 
Live Streaming Summit [8-9 May 2018]
Video Marketing Power Summit [9 May 2018]

Review: Teradek Link Pro Backpack and Core

Teradek's Link Pro Backpack offers enhanced MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) cellular connectivity, plus the reliability of bonded cellular, connected to Teradek's powerful Link WiFi Access Point, and all rolled together in a backpack powered by your choice of V-Lock or 3-stud battery.

These days, people are streaming from everywhere. At the same time, everyone else also wants to be connected, straining existing cellular infrastructure. Teradek’s Link Pro Backpack offers enhanced MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) cellular connectivity, plus the reliability of bonded cellular, connected to Teradek’s powerful Link WiFi Access Point, and all rolled together in a backpack powered by your choice of V-Lock or 3-stud battery.

The Backpack

Teradek offered to let me test their Link Pro Backpack. As one who uses WiFi fairly regularly now in multicam live production, I was interested. It comes completely packaged and wired up. Normally, end users would then need to activate 1-4 cellular SIM cards in the Node modems, but Teradek has supplied the loaner with a few of their own activated SIM cards.

The backpack consists of Teradek’s Link WiFi Access Point (WAP) and multiple Node modems (Figure 1, below). These modems each feature two large, external antennas so the modems can send and receive data on multiple bands simultaneously. These large antennas also do a far, far better job of reaching out than the tiny little antennas in your cell phone.

Figure 1. The Teradek Link Pro Backpack

The Link is powered by an external battery and also supplies power to each of the connected Node modems (Figure 2, below). The Link spreads the uplink to the web across all connected internet devices, whether they be Link modems, USB stick modems, or ethernet cable.

Figure 2. The Teradek Node modem

I was initially skeptical of the use of a backpack for such a solution, because in sports or news, I was thinking that a mountable kit, or a small rugged plastic case would be more appropriate. But opening the case up, I can see several benefits to Teradek’s design. Not only is it considerably lighter than I expected because of the materials used, but the internal design is tight, with a spot for everything, and space between each thing, so the RF from one device isn’t overloading the other.

There are pockets for each Node modem and the long antennas. Cables from each Node snake back through the backpack to the Link to pass cellular data, and power to the Nodes from the Link. The Link's four external antennas are spaced evenly around the case to avoid nulls. And there’s space enough for a really big battery to run it all day. In the video that accompanies 

There are several mesh vents to let air pass through to cool the gear, and the top flap protects the gear while offering a window to see the status of everything at a glance on the Link. Plus, the fact that it’s a backpack makes it easy to carry from the car to the site. It just makes it very ungainly to put on top of a stand and hoist high in the air.

One way Teradek could definitely improve the product is by flipping the Link around. With all the Node modems already plugged in, there’s no reason to unplug them. They’ll stay this way. But with multiple Node modems plugged in, accessing the ethernet ports under the Node plugs is very difficult. I’d rather the hardwired stuff that I’m not going to mess with be below what I do need to access. I connected a PC to the Link directly to access the menus and create the connection to... The Core!

Related Articles
Two leading multicam webcasting iOS apps compared
The Teradek Live:Air accepts multiple streams from different sources, and enables you mix an event, then send it to Livestream, Ustream, or any RTMP-compatible server, using only your iPad.
Live:Air gives the user the ability to switch among up to four cameras while mixing in titles, graphics, and pre-recorded b-roll. While the theoretical capabilities of such a setup are very exciting, the technological limitations of current iPad models are keeping the system from reaching its full potential.
Teradek VP Sales Jon Landsman discusses live streaming problem-solving and new announcements at Streaming Media East 2018.