IoT Blog
IoT Blog

3 Use Cases for Private CBRS LTE Networks

As discussed in our previous blog post, Four Things You Need to Know About the New CBRS Band, Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is a technology-agnostic band of wireless spectrum that companies can use to create their own private CBRS LTE networks. For some use cases, private CBRS LTE networks offer many potential benefits over Wi-Fi and Mobile Network Operator (MNO) LTE networks, including:

Better performance: CBRS LTE networks deliver better performance than other technologies, like Wi-Fi, especially in remote areas or inside buildings or other facilities. 
Stronger security: In addition to providing better coverage in remote areas, underground and inside buildings, CBRS LTE networks, like all cellular wireless networks, are more secure than Wi-Fi networks.
Faster deployment: To deploy a new device on an MNO’s cellular LTE network, the device has to be tested and certified by the MNO, which can take several months. However, new devices can be immediately used on private CBRS LTE networks as long as the wireless module used by the device has received CBRS certification from the FCC. The ability to more quickly deploy new IoT devices can help companies accelerate development of innovative new IoT applications.
Lower total cost of ownership (TCO): Private CBRS LTE network can cost less to administer and maintain than Wi-Fi networks. In addition, with private CBRS LTE networks, companies can avoid ongoing MNO LTE network data transmission charges.
 
These benefits are the reason that so many companies, such as those in industrial and transportation industries, turn to CBRS networks to provide the network coverage and performance they need. In this blog post, we will discuss three use cases where the use of private CBRS LTE networks can help organizations realize these benefits.

Mines

In order to improve their operational efficiency, many mining companies are rapidly adopting industrial IoT equipment automation, remote monitoring and predictive maintenance applications. These applications require high performance, highly reliable wireless connectivity to drilling equipment, rugged handhelds and other equipment. In addition, the ongoing costs associated with maintaining Wi-Fi networks in challenging environmental conditions is even higher than it is in other locations. It can also be difficult for Wi-Fi to maintain connectivity with equipment that is underground. Meanwhile, mines are often located in extremely remote locations where MNO cellular coverage is often weak or non-existent. 

However, even in remote areas, a private CBRS LTE network can provide the throughput, low latency, reliability and coverage mining operations require. With a private LTE network, mining companies have even been able to ensure reliable connectivity as far as three kilometers underground. They can also spend less on administering the network than they would for a Wi-Fi network. By using a rugged router with CBRS support, like Sierra Wireless’ AirLink® RV55 LTE-A Pro router, mining companies can connect these remote sites and gain greater visibility into and control over operations at the site.

Warehouses

Online retailers are constantly seeking to lower costs and improve customer experiences by improving operational efficiency and employee productivity in their warehouses, so they can get products to their customers faster at a lower cost. This has led them to develop innovative new robotic product picking, product tracking and other IoT warehouse applications. However, using Wi-Fi to provide connectivity to these IoT applications can lead to high maintenance costs. In addition, Wi-Fi can have coverage issues in large warehouses, with dead-zones where it cannot connect to IoT devices. Meanwhile, the need to get certification from their MNO for every new IoT device a retailer wants to connect to the MNO’s LTE network slows testing and deployment of new IoT applications.  

A private CBRS LTE network addresses these problems. It costs less to maintain and can eliminate the dead zones associated with Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, as long as retailers are using a CBRS module certified by the FCC, like the Sierra Wireless AirPrime® EM7565 and EM7511 LTE-A Pro embedded modules, they can immediately deploy new IoT devices using these modules for connectivity. 

For example, take the case of an online retailer that wants to add new IoT devices to robotic forklifts used for its pick-and-pack operation. If the company is relying on an MNO for its cellular connectivity, the MNO would have to certify the new IoT devices on its network, which could delay implementation by several months. With a private CBRS private network, as long as the devices use modules certified by the FCC for CBRS, they can be deployed immediately. These agility, coverage and cost benefits enable online retailers to better use the IoT to streamline their warehouse operations.

Airports

Airports, like other large public venues, present significant cost and bandwidth challenges for Wi-Fi network deployments as employees, concessionaires and passengers all want to connect. For example, an airport can cover thousands of acres, creating connectivity challenges for workers moving from one area of the airport to another. Maintaining such a large Wi-Fi network can also be expensive, and data charges from using an MNO’s LTE network to connect to thousands of IoT devices for baggage handling, freight monitoring and other IoT applications can quickly add up.

A private CBRS LTE network overcomes these challenges, providing excellent coverage both in-building and outdoors across the entire airport, eliminating interference and dead zones while supporting massive capacity expansion as the airport’s IoT application connectivity need grows. The solution also provides better connectivity in high-traffic areas, while reducing the costs and complexity associated with Wi-Fi network management and eliminating ongoing LTE network data transmission charges from MNOs.

Partnering with Sierra

As the company with the industry’s first FCC-certified embedded module for CBRS networks, the Sierra Wireless AirPrime® EM7565 LTE-Advanced Pro embedded module, Sierra Wireless is the perfect partner for mining companies, online retailers, airports and other organizations seeking to benefit from the performance, reliability, agility, security and cost benefits of private CBRS LTE networks. Our FCC-certified solutions, including the RV55 LTE-A Pro router and EM7511 LTE-A Pro embedded module, can help you take advantage of the benefits of private CBRS networks.  

For companies interested in evaluating IoT connectivity options for mine, warehouse, airport or other facility, Start with Sierra to learn more about how Sierra Wireless can help you use a private CBRS LTE network to reimagine your future.