Shipping giant UPS to test private wireless network in Montana
UPS, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, is testing a significant private wireless network at its distribution center in Billings, Mont.
Although details about the effort are scarce, the development yet again underscores the growing trend toward private wireless networks operated by enterprises, government agencies and others. Perhaps not surprisingly, the topic has generated quite a bit of interest among wireless networking equipment vendors like Ericsson and Nokia that are keen to expand their sales beyond public wireless network operators such as AT&T and Verizon.
In a filing with the FCC, UPS offers some tantalizing hints about its private wireless plans. The company said it plans to operate its own 4G LTE network across 900MHz and 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum bands, and to also leverage public wireless network offerings. The goal, the company explained, would be to “provide Internet connectivity to various client devices — smart phones, tablets, push-to-talk (PTT) devices, and edge routers supporting wired connectivity to computers and other network devices within a 10 kilometer radius of the site.”
“We intend to leverage the Anterix spectrum to migrate the user data plane to UPS’s internal data network so testing can continue with production UPS applications,” UPS wrote in its filing with the FCC. “The subject eNodeB [basestation] will then be deployed in a common network with a CBRS LTE infrastructure. The intent is to compare performance across the Anterix and CBRS RF networks, and ultimately demonstrate the ability for client devices to roam between them, as well as commercial LTE networks.”
And in an indication of the size of the test, UPS asked for FCC permission to test equipment from a wide range of suppliers. Listed in the company’s application are basestations and antennas from the likes of Nokia, Ericsson and Air-Lynx, as well as routers from Encore Networks and Cradlepoint, tablets from Apple and Samsung and phones from Cat and Sonim.
“We are certainly optimistic about the benefits private LTE and 5G networks might bring, and we are actively researching and testing a number of solutions in this space. But we do not have any additional comment at this time beyond what is already in the public record,” wrote Tim Totten, chief of global network services for UPS, in response to questions on the topic from Light Reading. Totten is also listed as the main executive in charge of UPS’s efforts in Billings in the company’s filing with the FCC.
To read the full version of this article, visit Light Reading.