John Deere to use CBRS for private 5G networks in its factories
When the FCC revealed the winners of its recent 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum auction, nestled among the usual names of wireless operators and cable companies was Moline, Illinois-based tractor company John Deere.
While John Deere may seem like an unlikely builder of wireless networks, last spring the company used experimental licenses in the 3.5GHz CBRS band to deploy private LTE networks and see whether the company could use the networks to streamline its manufacturing processes as well as develop farming applications.
Now the company is ready to fulfill its wireless vision: It plans to build private 5G networks using the CBRS licenses that it won. John Deere paid $545,999 for five CBRS licenses in five counties including Rock Island County in Illinois and Black Hawk County, Scott County, Dubuque County and Des Moines County in Iowa.
According to Tami Hedgren, manufacturing lead for tractors and combines at John Deere, the company is currently working on a request for proposal (RFP) for the project to find vendors to help it build these networks. “We want to understand what our options are,” Hedgren said.
The company plans to roll out these 5G private networks in 2022.
Short-term goals vs. long-term aspirations
John Deere has both a short-term and long-term vision for how it will use its CBRS licenses, Hedgren added. In the short-term, the company will simplify its manufacturing facilities.
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