Anterix has taken a step toward facilitating and accelerating the delivery, deployment and application of transformative private broadband for the U.S. electric grid. Anterix has been joined by 37 technology companies to launch the Anterix Active Ecosystem Program. This launch, combined with the 11 FCC-granted experimental licenses at 900 MHz and contracts signed with Ameren and San Diego Gas & Electric, highlight the growing utility industry momentum toward deploying private LTE at 900 MHz.
The Anterix Active Ecosystem Program will foster, strengthen and expand the landscape of 900 MHz devices, services and solutions. Participation from a broad range of technology innovators will bring extensive value to utilities and other critical infrastructure providers that deploy private LTE at 900 MHz. Members will share technical insights, advance solutions for 900 MHz private LTE and collaborate on opportunities to support the utility sector. Those with 900 MHz certified devices and commercial solutions will be recognized with the Anterix Active badge.
“We’ve regularly talked about the scale and scope benefits to the utility sector of collective action at 900 MHz,” said Anterix president and CEO Rob Schwartz. “The launch of this program is key to driving those benefits, and it highlights what we view as momentum toward private LTE throughout the entire utility ecosystem. Our Anterix Active Ecosystem Program will provide members with the collaborative environment needed to further develop secure and resilient private wireless broadband solutions, fully under the utility’s control, to address current and future energy needs.”
Communication Technology Services, a provider of in-building and campus wireless solutions, has acquired ClearSky Technologies, based out of Orlando, Florida.
ClearSky offers managed services that enable the planning, deploying, and managing of wireless communications and was an early entrant into the private wireless network space with a number of deployments in industries such as warehousing and hospitality.
The acquisition provides Communication Technology Services with foundation of network solutions and expertise that is critical to the deployment of private LTE and 5G networks.
In addition, ClearSky’s Forte product provides a ability to accelerate the integration of DAS deployments into carrier networks.
“ClearSky’s managed services portfolio coupled with CTS’ national scale and long history of engineering, designing, constructing and servicing in-building wireless networks positions us to provide a valuable and inclusive suite of services to the private wireless network marketplace,” said CTS CEO John Tegan, III.
The wireless industry is seeing two significant shifts – the need for greater indoor cellular coverage for mission critical applications and the ability for enterprises to deploy their own private LTE and 5G networks. ClearSky’s unique managed service solutions coupled with CTS’ world class wireless network design and construction capabilities makes it possible for CTS to bring both public and private wireless services into any building in the U.S.
“The ClearSky team is very excited to join the CTS family. Combining ClearSky’s product offerings with CTS’ nationwide footprint and deployment expertise will give us a massive competitive advantage in the emerging private wireless network markets,” said ClearSky Chief Executive Officer Mike Roudi. Mike will join the CTS management team and lead its managed services business.
Back in 1995 when the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe first opened the 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, Washington few people had cell phones and customers used pay phones to make calls from the casino. Times have definitely changed. Today, tech-savvy customers from the Seattle area always want to be connected. This is a problem for the casino resort that currently has limited wireless coverage.
For the 7 Cedars Casino, the timing of the FCC recent approval of the deployment of Citizens Band Radio Services (CBRS) was perfect. Concurrently with the FCC announcement, 7 Cedars signed a contract with Geoverse for a Private LTE solution for the casino, three restaurants and the new $40 million luxury hotel that will open in May 2020. The network will provide up to 5-bars of connectivity and support a wide range of new applications and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
“Geoverse has extensive industry experience installing and maintaining carrier-grade wireless networks,” says Glenn Smithson, General Manager of 7 Cedars Casino. “They also understand our vision of providing personalized services focused on improving the end-to-end customer experience. Our customers will be connected to guest services via iPads provided in their rooms or by using apps on their own devices. We will offer services such as digital reservations, mobile check-in, wireless keys using the customers’ own cell phone and a personal mobile concierge in addition to ubiquitous wireless service throughout the casino and hotel. Our goal is to provide the best guest experience in the Olympic Peninsula and the Geoverse solution is key to our strategy.”
Geoverse is a licensed mobile network operator that is creating and managing the end-to-end Private LTE solution for 7 Cedars Casino. The solution provides highly reliable and secure communication services as well as robust application capabilities for online gaming, smart building applications and IoT devices. Geoverse also has the scalability and flexibility to expand as new buildings are added and to upgrade to next generation functionality such as 5G.
“7 Cedars Casino is a forward-thinking, innovative organization that has a 25-year track record of embracing change to enhance its customer experience and optimize its business, says Rod Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Geoverse. “Many companies take a wait and see attitude towards new opportunities or technologies but not 7 Cedars. They understand their customers and jumped at the opportunity to provide carrier-grade wireless service in their casino and restaurants. And next summer they are adding an entirely new customer experience with the opening of their luxury hotel.”
The Besen Group, a Washington, DC-based international mobile data industry management consulting practice, has launched a Private LTE seminar.
The Besen Group estimates that the U.S. private LTE market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent between 2019 and 2023 due to the availability of new licensed spectrum, shared spectrum and unlicensed spectrum bands. This growth accounts for more than $3 Billion by the end of 2023.
The Besen Group defines private LTE as a dedicated network for consumers, businesses, and Internet of Things. Private LTE network can be based on licensed, unlicensed, and shared spectrum.
Session I: Private LTE Fundamentals
Private LTE Business Models
– Identifying private LTE business models and available spectrum options
– Determining key advantages of private LTE networks over Wi-Fi networks
– Evaluating EPC vendors, small cell vendors and managed service providers
Private LTE Network Technical Architecture
– Defining the role of Radio Access Network (RAN) and Evolved Packet Core (EPC)
– Establishing the integration of EPC with current enterprise management systems
– Configuring private LTE network as neutral host for public LTE networks
Mobile Edge Computing & Network Slicing
– Developing mobile edge computing architecture that enables low-latency and efficient use of servers
– Designing flexible and adaptable mobile edge computing applications at the network edge
– Creating step-by-step network slice to generate new revenue generating services
– Configuring business support systems to support network slicing and new services
Private LTE Business Plan
– Performing market and competitive analysis
– Determining optimal go-to-market strategy and a comprehensive business plan with financial indicators
– Developing RFI/RFP to selected partners and vendors based on the SWOT analysis and pricing proposals
– Determining in-house processes, designing implementation roadmap and system integration architecture
Session II: Private LTE Use Cases
Transportation & Racetrack: Airbus, Fedex, ISM Raceway, UPS
Airport & Commercial Real Estate & Drone: Dallas Love Field, CBRE, GE
Cable Operator: Altice, Comcast, Charter
Public Safety: BDBOS, ESPOS, FirstNet
Energy & Oil & Gas: Beach Energy, Chevron, Enel, Duke Energy, RigNet
Hotel & Venues: Hyatt, Marriott, NFL, DC United Stadium, University of Virginia
Theme Park & Sports Organizer: Walt Disney World Resort, PGA Tour
Mining: Agnico Eagles Mines, Rio Tinto
Manufacturing: BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen
Smart Cities & Smart Ports: San Jose, San Francisco, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Kokkola
Workshop I: Private LTE Business Plan Strategy
Workshop II: Private LTE Business Case Development
For more information, please send an email to [email protected] or download the brochure: www.thebesengroup.com/downloads/Private.LTE.Seminar.pdf
Private LTE has received a fair amount of interest of late, particularly in the citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) frequencies. Moreover, there is talk that private LTE being looked at as a replacement for public Wi-Fi, again, particularly in the CBRS spectrum. It is interesting what is being discussed around this.
In one of my feeds, there was a discussion about a company called Cradlepoint, a company that is championing the CBRS band as an opportunity to provide private LTE to enterprises. An excerpt from the company missive states its wireless routers can be used in conjunction with the CBRS spectrum to provide enterprises with a way to escape from Wi-Fi.
That is a slightly slanted perspective, IMHO. Wi-Fi has done a fairly decent job, in many cases. However, it was never intended as the be-all and end-all of public or private networks. However, upcoming Wi-Fi 6 is a “whole ‘nother animal” and is going to change the Wi-Fi landscape, as we know it.
There is no doubt that private LTE networks are a platform that has potential. There is also no doubt that there are applications, with a large number of devices that require ample bandwidth, where Wi-Fi struggles. However, it is unlikely that CBRS will replace public or private Wi-Fi, as some are suggesting.
Why? For a number of reasons. Building a core-based network is not practical for such contained applications (say, a warehouse with tons of production monitoring cameras), because the delay in and out of the core is too lengthy (there is also the economic issue). A multi-access edge computing network (MEC) is also too expensive, as is licensed LTE. Both are overkill for such applications.
Moreover, except for private LTE in the shared spectrum, other private LTE services are too expensive, as well. Finally, while some iterations of pre-Wi-Fi 6 have decent specifications, most are simply too bandwidth, and speed constrained, or too little flexibility and device counts, even with its updates.
However, with the emergence of Wi-Fi 6, this may all become a bit cloudier. How Wi-Fi 6 will challenge this will be discussed in an upcoming dialog.
LTE does have advantages over current Wi-Fi iterations. For one, there is better security and reliability and the choice among licensed, shared, and unlicensed spectrum. In addition, it is ubiquitous and well established. Therefore, private LTE has the potential to emerge as an economical, and technically capable, platform for applications such as warehouses or manufacturing facilities, as a primary vertical.
However, the CBRS band is filled with incumbents. CBRS-based private LTE has the potential for large, multi-device installations, but there a possibility that certain incumbent applications, both on land and on the sea, can become compromised by new CBRS players if the spectrum is not precisely managed.
With private LTE in shared spectrum, management is much more complex. It relies on a process called the spectrum allocation system (SAS). SAS is a complex, three-tier, spectrum authorization framework, designed to accommodate a variety of commercial uses, on a shared basis, with incumbent federal and non-federal users of the band.
Access and operations will be managed by a dynamic SAS, conceptually similar to the databases used to manage television white space (TVWS) devices. Essentially, it is a priority system that allows unused spectrum to be used by multiple players when available. Depending upon which type of license, users can have access to bands from 5 megahertz to, hopefully, 150 megahertz.
However, if TVWS history is any indication of how this kind of spectrum sharing is going to fare, we are in a bit of trouble. TVWS has not been successful. Why that is, is up for some debate, but essentially, it was positioned as an alternative to Wi-Fi and a panacea for rural connectivity – some similar use cases for private LTE.
Moreover, the FCC’s TVWS space policy, to date, has been a flop. There has just been no market adoption for several reasons. One example is that the maximum data rates for TVWS devices range from 3.25-16 Mbps, which is below the FCC’s new threshold for what constitutes broadband. Other challenges include a 4-watt power limit and the risk of interference from short-range devices.
It is unlikely that the CBRS shared private LTE project will have identical issues. The FCC is much wiser about CBRS, but still, it has some bandwidth constraints. Furthermore, it has a similar, complex spectrum management policy that has not been a success in TVWS.
All that aside, there is a lot of optimism for private LTE. Not just in the CBRS band, but overall in 5G. However, the money seems to be in CBRS, for the moment, for a couple of emerging applications.
That being said, however, there is one serious specter that looms over the CBRS band – bandwidth. There is only a 100- to 150-megahertz swath being made available. While that is much better than many bandwidth slices from, 450 MHz to, 2 GHz, even 5 GHz, it is not the “unlimited” chunks that are being anticipated at the higher mmWave frequencies. The FCC has indicated there may be some additional spectrum that can be made available here, but that is only speculation for the time being.
Bandwidths, of 500 megahertz to 2 gigahertz for 5G mmWave, are what the industry has been touting for that elusive 1 < and > 1 µs/Gbps goal. Therefore, one must not lose sight of that and promise beyond what the realities of CBRS are.
Another potential obstacle to CBRS is Wi-Fi 6. In addition, how well SAS will actually function among all the players has not been proven. From a pragmatic perspective, I am a bit concerned that the early excitement of CBRS-based private LTE may be premature.
However, if it turns out that all the challenges can be overcome, private LTE does have the potential to enable a number of different verticals, across a number of wireless segments. Let us hope it lives up to its potential.