Tilson, JMA drive 4G/5G CBRS wireless install at CO military base for US Ignite

Dec. 7, 2020
New 4G/5G network will support smart transportation testbed; offer opportunities for expansion into nearby smart community Colorado Springs.

US Ignite, a high-tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate smart communities, announced it has finalized plans and will shortly begin construction on a dedicated 4G/5G network for IoT research at Fort Carson, Colorado, a United States Army installation. The new network will be part of the Fort Carson Smart Transportation Testbed, a $4 million project run by US Ignite, with funding and management from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).

Partners in deployment include network design firm Tilson, and communications technology provider JMA Wireless (JMA). Also, Federated Wireless is contributing its Spectrum Controller product, which the network will use to access shared Citizens Broadband Radio Spectrum (CBRS). 

“Building smart bases and smart communities requires advanced network infrastructure. This network is foundational for the early IoT use cases we’re testing at Fort Carson, but it’s also an asset for future research and development efforts targeted at improving public safety, services, and quality of life,” explains Scott Turnbull, Director of Technology for US Ignite. “We’re very lucky to partner with Tilson, JMA, and Federated Wireless for deployment, and look forward to the connectivity and new capabilities this network will enable.” 

The new network at Fort Carson will initially support the upload of vehicle data from the Army installation’s Mountain Express Automated Shuttle, as well as video traffic from route-monitoring cameras.  

“We’re thrilled to partner with US Ignite, JMA Wireless, and Federated Wireless to bring cutting edge 5G to Fort Carson,” says Joshua Broder, Tilson CEO. “This is where the rubber meets the road in our efforts to innovate in 5G, autonomous transportation, and smart cities. We all expect to learn a great deal through this pilot that we can apply on bigger projects to come.” 

Longer term, the network is designed for broader IoT research – including environmental analysis with air quality and weather sensors – that is planned as part of a collaborative initiative among Fort Carson, the city of Colorado Springs, and the University of Colorado Boulder. 

“JMA is honored to be part of the team working with ERDC to deploy the most advanced dedicated wireless network available,” says John Mezzalingua, CEO of JMA. “Designed, developed, and manufactured in the United States, XRAN is the first and only carrier-grade software RAN solution in the world. Fully virtualized, XRAN not only provides the performance, flexibility, and security to meet Fort Carson’s current IoT needs, but it can also easily expand to support future smart city applications with Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Boulder.” 

The Fort Carson research network will support 4G and 5G traffic over the CBRS band. Specifically, this will include: 

  • At least 250 Megabits per second (Mbps) throughput 
  • Support for over 1,000 simultaneous device connections
  • 5G and 4G powered by JMA’s software-based, ORAN-compliant XRAN solution
  • CBRS access supported by the Federated Wireless Spectrum Controller

“It’s exciting to be part of this cutting-edge team coming together to create a reality-based vision for the future of smart transportation and smart communities,” concludes Iyad Tarazi, President and CEO at Federated Wireless. “We are grateful for the opportunity, and proud to show what can be done when experts in their fields combine to apply the latest advancements in communication technology to deliver automation and efficiency for mission-critical applications. I personally find it satisfying that the DoD had the vision to share their midband spectrum through the dynamic CBRS framework, and they are now able to take advantage of the spectrum for their own private use.” 

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