Apple made such a large splash with its iPhone 12 announcement hyping the coming of 5G that many people bought one and started evaluating 5G—only to be disappointed that the delta between hype and reality was huge. In this world of marketing hype we’ve lived through for a hundred years, that disappointment should not have happened.

On the other hand, there is great potential for 5G cellular. But there is much work to do. Plenty of technologists point out the obstacles and drawbacks. Plenty of engineers exist who are ready to take up the challenge of overcoming those obstacles. This news points to efforts to secure private 5G networks. The specific instance is warehouse operations (not my specialty), but the applicability will be wide. Consider the possibilities…

Private network pioneer Federated Wireless announced that it has begun deployment of a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)-enabled private 5G wireless network for the U.S. Department of Defense, along with an all-U.S. team of partners including AWS, Cisco, JMA, Vectrus, Perspecta Labs and Capstone Partners. The trial is designed to modernize the Marine Corps Logistics Command warehouse operations in Albany, Ga. The new private enterprise 5G network supports a broad set of smart warehouse use cases, including warehouse robotics, barcode scanning and holographic, augmented and virtual reality applications. 

This multi-year initiative will create a 5G Smart Warehouse reference design to increase the efficiency and dependability of Marine Corps Logistics Command warehouse operations, including improvements to receipt, storage, issuance, inventory control and auditability of material and supplies that directly support Marine Corps global operations. 

5G Private Wireless Network Deployed at Scale
The end-to-end network will support industrial IoT using the latest open-source technology including Open RAN, virtualized Radio Access Network, virtualized 5G packet core and mobile edge compute.  It leverages CBRS shared spectrum along with millimeter wave spectrum to create a robust 5G private wireless network. 

The smart warehousing deployment uses Cisco’s Zero Trust Architecture that consists of virtualized 5G and 4G packet core servers, mobile edge processing and fronthaul and backhaul switching infrastructure.  

Federated Wireless partner JMA is providing a full end-to-end RAN solution using XRAN – its revolutionary all software RAN platform – for both 4G and 5G networks, including advanced millimeter-wave radios. This solution gives the base’s network an unprecedented level of flexibility, enabling it to simply and cost-effectively evolve with software upgrades over time.

Partners Vectrus and Perspecta Labs are helping to ensure that security and risk management have been designed into the system. Vectrus, a DoD partner for logistics and warehouse modernization, is completing an end-end risk assessment of the system and Perspecta Labs is conducting an end-end security assessment.

Capstone Partners, a strategic advisory firm with expertise in 5G and Internet of Things applications has brought IKIN to the project.  IKIN, an innovator in high-resolution 3-D visual technology, is deploying holographic capabilities for locating, identifying and retrieving materials without having to move or open packaging.  

“This is one of the first of several forward-leaning projects that we and our partners are engaged in with the U.S. government, all designed to accelerate the nation’s 5G trajectory,” said Sal D’Itri, vice president and general manager of the federal business unit for Federated Wireless and chairman of the National Spectrum Consortium. “The DoD, often referred to as the first Enterprise, is leading the way for 5G innovation to help stimulate market growth, helping to realize the extensive promises of 5G private networks for work, education, recreation and communication.”

About Federated Wireless
Founded in 2012, Federated Wireless has long led the industry in development of shared spectrum CBRS capabilities. The company’s partner ecosystem includes more than 40 device manufacturers and edge partners, all of which are dedicated to collaboration to advance development and proliferation of CBRS services. Federated Wireless’ customer base includes companies spanning the telecommunications, energy, hospitality, education, retail, office space, municipal and residential verticals, with use cases ranging from network densification and mobile offload to Private 5G and Industrial IoT.

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