Bond from Teradek – a low cost cellular bonding solution for live streaming solution for broadcasters and webcasters alike

By Dan Chung

In their secret Calfornia base a team of experts have been busy covertly developing an innovative solution for streaming wireless video on the go – It’s called Bond, Teradek Bond…

The Bond is a small camera top device which enables live video to be streamed over up to five 3G or 4G cellular modems. It looks to be designed as a much smaller and lower cost competitor to the popular LiveU backpack used by broadcasters like NBC and BBC. Teradek’s unit should offer a similar performance in a camera top package when combined with the company’s popular Cube video encoder. The package gives traditional broadcasters another option to supplement their existing Sat trucks and backpack solutions as well as giving freelancers and small companies a way to ‘go live’ wirelessly from previously impossible locations.

For the technically minded this Bond/Cube combination offers low-power hardware H.264 HD video compression, advanced streaming options like RTMP and MPEG-TS, and Teradek’s Adaptive Internet Streaming (AI Streaming) technology, which adjusts bit rate and buffering in real time to handle volatile network conditions. Cubes are available in HDMI and HD-SDI versions to handle the outputs from different cameras.

To manage Bond’s multiple data streams back at base Teradek has also developed Sputnik, a free proprietary de-bonding software solution that runs on any Linux server or is hosted in the cloud to reassemble data into a single RTMP or MPEG-TS stream.

To quote Teradek’s Nicol Verheem “The connectivity landscape has changed for good with the roll out of HDSPA+ and now LTE networks by Verizon, AT&T, Rogers, T-Mobile, Telstra and many more across the globe.  We have measure sustained data rates of 10Mbps with peaks of 20Mbps with low latency and acceptable jitter on a single Verizon modem.  Think about that for a second, 20Mbps on one USB gumstick !  This is more than enough bandwidth to achieve broadcast quality when using a High Profile H.264 encoder like Cube.  But we found we still had that one challenge: dropped calls.  Even with all that bandwidth, the connection might pause or even drop out even momentarily, breaking the feed and taking an unacceptably long time to reconnect.  And in some cases we found that even with state of the art modems like Verizon’s LTE, we still had slow or dead spots in more rural areas. 

Enter Bond, Teradek’s revolutionary cellular bonding solution.  Bond extends Cube’s connectivity options by allowing 5 USB cellular modems, including many popular models from many carriers worldwide.  When using multiple modems from multiple carriers, the reliability basically becomes perfect.  Even if you have a 10% change of dropping a call per modem per hour, using two modems makes than 1%, using three 0.1%, or one failure per 1,000 hours of broadcasting.   With Bond, even completely unplugging a modem carrying the bulk of the video payload results in only a single video frame being dropped.  Plus Bond is capable of sustaining up to 12Mbps High Profile H.264, which is easily broadcast quality 1080i or 720p.  With the built in Adaptive Internet Streaming, when paired with Sputnik, our de-bonding software, Cube will automatically adjust the encoder’s bitrate to the maximum your channel can reliably handle.  

Bond is also by far the smallest cellular bonding solution available.  Just like Cube, Bond is machined from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminum, and given the size of a deck of cards, it only weighs in at around 5oz. By itself Bond only takes 1.5W, ensuring that you can run your camera, Cube encoder, Bond and even five modems of a single battery for hours and hours.”  

The Bond will ship in volume in December 2011 and is priced at $2490 US (Cube convertor extra) – after which there are no recurring charges apart from your data tariffs. Hop over to the Teradek site for a list of recommended cellular modems and more information about the product.

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