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Cal Poly, Federated Wireless unveil public-private network interoperability

Federated Wireless, Inc., a shared spectrum and private wireless leader, and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), today announced the expansion of Cal Poly’s private wireless network along with a new neutral host capability enabling the private wireless network to support T-Mobile customers.

Cal Poly’s converged 4G and 5G private wireless technology operating in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, combined with the neutral host capability and T-Mobile service will not only improve connectivity and safety for the campus community, but also unlock new opportunities for academic innovation with global impact in critical industries such as construction, agriculture, and energy.

The first deployments of this CBRS neutral host solution at Cal Poly will be outdoors in remote hiking areas as well as inside the new William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation. Much like three colleges – the College of Science and Mathematics, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, and the College of Liberal Arts – coming together in the Frost Center to collaborate in a shared space, the revolutionary private wireless network is a convergence of technologies working together to support cutting-edge wireless capabilities and research projects.

The solution is implemented with Federated Wireless’ Neutral Host 2.0™, which uses a communication hub that leverages AWS Snowball Edge and AWS Snowcone services to support a multi-use private wireless network. The multi-use network simultaneously supports private connectivity services provided by the university and connectivity for T-Mobile subscribers. The public-private converged network enables a wide range of advanced wireless use cases, including:

  • Enhanced Connectivity and Safety Across Campus – T-Mobile service can be accessed using the 4G neutral host over CBRS to enhance the coverage experience in places where it’s hard for cell signal to reach, including indoor areas like the Frost building and outdoor areas on remote hiking trails, ensuring students have mobile connectivity and can make a 911 call if they encounter danger.
  • Unmetered Broadband Streaming – For unmetered use of data-intensive applications, students can easily self-provision their mobile devices with an embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) to securely stream class videos and other content on a mobile device over the private wireless network.
  • 5G Innovation – With high-speed, ultra-low-latency 5G connectivity on Cal Poly’s private wireless network, advanced research can be supported for innovative next generation use cases such as 3D image capture and augmented reality to manage the progress of site construction projects.

“At T-Mobile, we want to make sure all our customers – both business and consumer — have the best experience possible,” said Mark McDiarmid, SVP, Technology Innovation and Industry Partnerships at T-Mobile. “To help Cal Poly enhance coverage, we were able to use neutral host capability from our partner Federated Wireless to quickly layer T-Mobile service onto Cal Poly’s existing private wireless network, providing our subscribers with an optimal, game-changing network experience on campus.”

Unlike legacy neutral host technologies such as Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) that require differing configurations for each Mobile Network Operator (MNO), Federated Wireless Neutral Host 2.0™ uses an open, shared solution approach. It offers a private wireless network built using components from an open ecosystem of software and equipment providers to take advantage of CBRS shared spectrum and achieve a radio network that can be shared by multiple public MNOs.

“Many buildings, such as those that are built with metal or concrete, or are LEED-certified, leverage building materials that can block cell signal inside the building. Signal can also be blocked by geographical landscapes, which impacts coverage and creates dead zones,” said Sameer Vuyyuru, Director and Head of Worldwide Telecommunications Business Development at AWS. “Federated Wireless Neutral Host 2.0 solution runs along with the private network on AWS edge compute, while their CBRS Spectrum Access System runs on AWS, providing an innovative, versatile, scalable, and low-capex approach for building owners, campuses, and facilities to work with wireless providers to enhance coverage.”

The resulting solution provides a cost-effective, multi-purpose, 4G and 5G network with neutral host capability, offering institutions and enterprises a scalable blueprint for addressing multiple complex business challenges with one integrated public-private network.

“This CBRS converged private wireless network with neutral host capability demonstrates the wireless network of the future, and the power that a shared spectrum and open ecosystem model brings to higher education and private enterprise,” said Iyad Tarazi, CEO of Federated Wireless. “It is an important milestone in public and private network interoperability.”

“The wireless communications world is on the edge of exciting and beneficial advancements, and the innovative capabilities around private 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and commercial 4G/5G are expansive,” said Bill Britton, Cal Poly’s vice president for IT services and CIO. “Through our partnership with experts in the 5G space, the Cal Poly 5G Innovation Lab will answer questions about reducing wireless access points, providing wireless coverage in hard-to-reach areas, keeping secure transactions on a private network, designing and operating digital twins, and improving remote search and rescue as just a few of the examples to be explored.”

CT Bureau

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