Mushroom Networks Advances Technology for Live Field Broadcasts

4/11/11Follow @bvbigelow

When I profiled San Diego’s Mushroom Networks last June, the venture-backed developer of “broadband bonding” technology had just introduced Teleporter, a hardware package that enables a broadcast journalist to send high-quality digital video over local cellular networks. One year later, the company says its Teleporter technology is now available with HD capability. Mushroom Networks says that makes Teleporter the first cellular-based high-definition live video streaming technology with the ability to transmit high-quality and low-latency video suitable for television broadcasting.

Mushroom Networks says it’s also a breakthrough for video content providers because it eliminates the need for TV news crews to use expensive satellite or microwave connections. Using a Teleporter device, a TV crew can instead deliver real-time HD video from any location where cellular broadband service is available.

In a statement from the company, Mushroom Networks co-founder and CEO Cahit Akin says, “Teleporter is the technological answer broadcasters have been waiting for.” But is it technology that station managers are willing to buy? I can’t think of too many news operations that aren’t hurting and looking for ways to cut costs. Still, trying to displace established technology can be challenging unless the innovation can be easily adopted and poses obvious advantages.

But Akin points out that broadcasters aren’t the only prospective customers. The company says a cost-effective means for transmitting live HD video opens the door for anyone who wants to create and distribute live video content—from bloggers to Homeland Security officers along the U.S. border.

The company’s core technology involves something called “broadband bonding,” and enables a customer to connect all of the Internet sources that might be available—DSL, cable, T1, wireless, satellite, and MPLS-and combine them into a single, virtual broadband pipe.

Teleporter allows the transmission of live video by utilizing the combined throughput of multiple cellular data cards from a combination of carriers. So for example, the technology can utilize the full bandwidth of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint “bonded” together to broadcast live news from the field using any video camera. The company says its technique is superior to load-balancing and similar solutions, which can have long delays, high latency or not enough total bandwidth.

I’m interested in what people think about this technology, so let me know in the comment section below.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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