Advice on a project: man on the street powered streaming event


#1

Hi all-

I am looking for some advice on a project I am working on:

We are doing a livestream Periscope event, on the street. We want to be able to have a person walk around, and be the power supply and wifi hotspot for a cell phone that will be streaming over Periscope (ie, we need a data connection that is fast enough to stream video). It will be a 15-20 minute stream, so not super long.
If I understand this correctly, we need a bonded LTE device that has hotspots connected to it for each carrier, as well as a a power supply.

So I think this will include the following:

One of these devices:

  • AX BR1 ENT
  • MAX HD4
  • (or possibly another device?)

Wifi hotspot devices for that connect to the LTE device:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • We would get pay-as-you-go setups for these hotspots; we are only doing this for 2 months

Power:

  • Battery (possibly a marine deep cycle)
  • 110V Power converter

Am I on the right track? Am I missing anything? Is this even going to work?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!


#2

Hi,

The first big question is where are you doing this? Is it in a metro city/urban setting or in a town in the countryside? The reason for the question is one of cellular coverage / bandwidth availability. For a single video HD stream you’ll be needing in the region of 2Mbps upload which is normally achievable on a single LTE/HDPDA network in my experience (here in the UK). If you can do an on site (or desk based) cellular survey to see which two providers have the best coverage that would help with your planning.

Assuming coverage is good and bandwidth is available, I would suggest a BR1 Slim. This has a single cellular module (with two slim slots in an active/standby configuration so you can use two sims from different operators - one at a time, for better coverage / more capacity) and an inbuilt AP, plus its small and can be powered using a USB Power bank quite easily. I regularily use these from Ravpower http://www.ravpower.com/ravpower-23000mah-portable-charger-external-battery-charger.html and it will run a BR1 all day under normal usage. The whole rig will fit into a laptop bag.

If cellular bandwidth availability is poor, then you move into the requirement for cellular bonding. This becomes a two ended solution in that you need not only a body worn device but also a cloud based endpoint that can receive the SpeedFusion bonded traffic from the multiple remote WAN links on the body worn device and put the original stream back together before forwarding it on to Periscope. My preference for the cloud based endpoint is FusionHub our virtual SpeedFusion appliance, you can run that on a cloud server (like Amazon Web Services or another cloud server provider) and get a short term demo up and running very quickly to test against. Otherwise you will need a physical appliance - something from our Balance range of routers would work great for this role, but it needs to be a Balance 210 or up so that SpeedFusion bandwidth bonding is supported.

When it comes to the multi-cellular body worn device I would probably start with the HD2 Mini. This is a small form factor dual cellular module router (2 x sims per module), that supports SpeedFusion Bonding. It doesn’t come with an inbuilt access point, so I would suggest you add an AP One AC Mini on its LAN for WiFi. Both devices can be powered using a 12V source, and if it was me I would likely use the Ravpower battery pack again as it has a 12V output so you could knock up a cable with a splitter (or buy a cctv power splitter cable) to power both the HD2 mini and the AP One AC Mini from it.

If you need more than dual active cellular connections to achieve the upload bandwidth for the video stream then the next step up with everything fully integrated is the MAX HD4 which has four internal cellular modules and support SpeedFusion Bonding (2 x sims per module) and has an integrated AP, although it might be a little overkill for your application and is a much bigger device physically. Instead I would suggest combining a MAX HD2 Mini and put a BR1 Slim on its WAN port. That combination will give you 3 x active cellular WANs with SpeedFusion support, and the the two routers will happily fit inside a laptop bag. This daisy chain configuration also leaves you with option of using the gear as two completely separate systems at the end of your project (the HD2 Mini and the AP One AC Mini as one set, the BR1 Slim as the other), which is nice.

The other thing to mention is antennas. Our routers come with screw in stick antennas which work fine, but you would probably benefit from extending the cellular antennas out of the bag away from the metal enclosures of the MAX routers and the battery pack. You could either look at 3rd party additional/replacement higher gain antennas or buy a couple of antenna extension leads and mount the stick antennas on the shoulder straps of your bag to reduce interference.

Hope that helps,

Martin


#3

Morning Martin

Link to ravpower comes up with the website but says “Oops, That Page Doesn’t Exist”

http://www.ravpower.com/ravpower-23000mah-portable-charger-external-battery-charger.html

Thanks


#4

Its actually their website, you can’t view any individual product pages at the moment.


#5

Amazon link for that bettery pack here: http://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-23000mAh-Portable-Charger-External/dp/B00HFMUBYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445243609&sr=8-1&keywords=ravpower+xtreme


#6

Thanks Martin, this is a HUGE help!
This will be taking place in Los Angeles, so coverage/bandwidth shouldn’t be a problem.
The power supply sounds great: since our streams will be 30 mins tops, that sounds like a great solution that will more than cover our power needs- and be a LOT lighter!

Everything else makes sense: I just need to review with the team: if I have any other questions, I will post here.

Thanks again for the great advice!

C


#7

Hi Martin-

It sounds like there are 2 options for the router:

  1. Br1 Slim for a single connection that can be switched manually between networks depending on which network has the best connection.
  2. Hd2 Mini, if we want to connect to more than one network simultaneously so we can ensure that we have a fast enough connection for streaming. This will need the addition of the AP One AC mini so we can add more than one network.
  3. MAX HD4 that has 4 network connections (this one seems like overkill, so putting it aside)

Really, it comes down to how much bandwidth we need to ensure unbroken streaming.
Am I missing anything?

Thanks again for the advice!


#8

Hi, Yes I would agree that the two most likely options are either the BR1 slim or the HD2 Mini.
The BR1 will switch automatically between the two SIMs based on coverage / availability.
The HD2 Mini will load balance outbound data at a session level across up to two cellular connections at the same time. These can be from any provider, and because it comes without Wifi you will need to add an AP.

Now the important note here is that using just a HD2 without our SpeeFusion VPN technology will mean that a single session will be limited to the available bandwidth on a single cellular link. Very few applications out there are multi WAN aware - that is to say are capable of running across a network (to the internet) using multiple sessions. The obvious exceptions are things like bittorrent or some download managers that break a transmission up into multiple pieces that can then be transferred by multiple IP sessions at the same time. If you just use a HD2 Mini and you have two active cellular links, both with 1.5Mbps of upload capacity, your video session would likely only ever be able to use 1.5Mbps of bandwidth - not the 3Mbps total upload that is available across both links.

So if you are worried about cellular upload bandwidth capacity then you need to use our SpeedFusion VPN bonding technology in combination with another device (my suggestion would be a FusionHub virtual appliance running in the cloud - we do a 14 day trial which would work great for you and this application). Speedfusion allows you to create a single logical point to point VPN connection between two or more of our devices and supports those devices having multiple WAN links, aggregating bandwidth and providing seamless failover between WANs.

When using Speedfusion VPN, a single video stream (or single IP session) is distributed at a packet level across all of the healthy available links at one location and then when the stream is received at the other location SpeedFusion puts the packets back in order before forwarding them on again to their ultimate destination (in your case the stream would be sent on to periscope). Take a look at this page for more info http://www.peplink.com/technology/speedfusion/

The decision as to whether you go for the BR1 or the HD2 mini will ultimately come down to budget and how much risk you are prepared to take. You can mitigate some of the risk by doing a cellular survey before hand if you know the route you plan to take, but it will be much lower risk to use the HD2 Mini in combination with Fusionhub using sims from two different providers as this will give you the best chance of getting a connection and maintaining connectivity and enough bandwidth for the video stream.

However if budgets are tight, the BR1 Slim is a great value device fully feature packed, and so long as there is good cellular coverage you’ll be fine.

Good luck!

Martin


#9

Great advice once again Martin- thanks!

We will review and decide how much redundancy/backup we need, and go from there.

Thanks for explaining everything in a way that I actually understand. :slight_smile:


#10

HI Martin-

It looks like we are leaning towards the BR1 slim, however it looks like they dont have that in stock yet. So 3gstore.com recommended this one instead, which seems to be the same except its 10V instead of 5V.
http://3gstore.com/product/5618_pepwave_max_br1_3g_4g.html

(and its slightly cheaper).

We should be all set, thanks for the help!


#11

Hi Craig,
Glad you got it sorted. The Rav power battery pack will be fine with this too as it outputs 12V and comes with a DC adapter that fits the BR1’s DC input so you’re good to go.

Do take some photos of your rig and you using it if you get the chance and post pack here - I’m sure the community would like to know how you get on :wink:

Best of luck!

Martin


#12

Absolutely! it will be big part of the case study we create for this project.

Thanks again!


#13

Hi Martin-

So I have the system setup: the Max BR1 LTE, with a T-mobile Sim Card, running off a Ravpower battery.

The problem Im having now is that the connection speed is really slow. Is that something I need to check in with T-mobile on, or is there a setting on the router that I need to change?


#14

Hi,

Normally this is caused by the quality of the cellular connection. You need to check the signal strength, noise level of the cellular (Dashboard > “Details” of cellular > Signal Strength).

If the signal strength and SNR are good, please check on the available bandwidth with www.speedtest.net.

Hope this help.


#15

The signal strength Im getting is:

RSSI: -44dBmSNR: 6dBRSRP: -77dBm

Is that good? Bad?

Also, I am only about 4 feet away from the BR1, and my cellphone is not getting a “full bars” connection. It keeps fluctuating between full bars (4) all the way down to 2 bars. Im in my office, so Im not sure why that would be happening. Any ideas? This happens regardless of whether I am using the battery power supply or the wall power supply.


#16

Hi,

The signal strength and noise level are good. Anyway, may I know it will keep fluctuating like your cell phone? I believe cellular connection there is not stable since you noticed fluctuating happened on your cell phone as well.


#17

Problem solved! They had me on a cell phone data plan, not a broadband data plan. So it was throttling.


#18

Awesome! Thanks for letting us know!