Narrowband Data Standard Drives New Mission-Critical Data Network
Tuesday, May 02, 2017 | Comments
A new standard for narrowband data for mission-critical communications companies has backing from an industry association and is behind a new service launch. Full Spectrum announced plans to establish a network service for mission-critical internet of things (IoT) based on 802.16s, scheduled to be finalized later this year.

The IEEE 802.16s draft was developed with input from the WiMAX Forum, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), and industry users and suppliers. The IEEE 802.16s/D2 draft amendment entered the first IEEE sponsor ballot in mid-April 2017. If the ballot is approved by votes and comments are properly resolved, the amendment will be forwarded to the IEEE-SA Standards Board for final approval potentially in September.

The IEEE 802 Executive Committee agreed to amend the existing WiMAX standard (IEEE 802.16e) to support channel sizes between 100 kHz and 1.25 MHz for 802.16s. This modifies the WiMAX standard, which only allowed for channels sizes starting at 1.25 megahertz, and will allow for standards-based interoperable WiMAX equipment in multiple nationwide channels between 100 kilohertz and 1.25 megahertz in width.

Full Spectrum plans to launch a 802.16s private network service initially in the New York City metropolitan area, covering portions of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in the third quarter. The network will be available for mission-critical applications where security, reliability and network availability are important.

The service will target electric, gas and nuclear utilities; transportation, including rail and automated vehicles; environmental monitoring including water and air quality; coastal and homeland security; and seismic monitoring. The service will allow for complete digital and physical separation from the public internet over the entire service area.

Along with the 802.16s network infrastructure, Full Spectrum will integrate industrial gateways such as the LoRaWAN low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) specification for last-mile radio connectivity.

In the past, Full Spectrum has provided infrastructure to utilities such as Great River Energy and critical infrastructure industries (CII) that purchased 700 MHz A block spectrum.

“To date our technology has been used exclusively by utilities for their own communications needs spanning hundreds of thousands of square miles,” said Stewart Kantor, Full Spectrum CEO. “Due to increasing demand for networks that can support mission-critical applications, we believe it is time to make the technology available for industries that need similar secure network services but aren’t capable of running their own private networks.”

Full Spectrum plans to use 220 MHz and Part 22 paging frequencies initially but can implement its technology from 50 MHz to 6 GHz depending on what spectrum is available locally. The New York launch will leverage VHF spectrum owned by licensees that will be compensated for its use, Kantor said. The company may acquire Part 22 frequencies in the future.

“Where we think it’s beneficial to own it, we will,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of spectrum out there; it’s just not used or underused.”

The New York launch will include four towers and cover 3,000 square miles, and initial users will be transportation and governmental entities. “We have a couple of preliminary users for different applications,” Kantor said. “Initially it will be a test network for a group of applications, and if it meets their needs, they will become customers, but we haven’t released their names yet.”

The next launch location will likely be the Bay Area in California. Because the towers have a 40-mile radius coverage area, the company estimates it could cover the country with 1,000 towers, he said.

“With very little infrastructure, we can cover a lot of assets,” he said.

Most customers don not want to be on a public cellular network, so for a monthly service fee, they can use Full Spectrum’s RF and infrastructure and then purchase or lease remote radios to extend service to their applications. Full Spectrum will manage network quality of service (QoS), packet protection, redundancy, security and other services based on customer needs.

The company is soliciting customer input on desired coverage areas including underserved rural areas.

“We are getting more demand for providing a service that is independent from the network providers,” Kantor said. “We’re finding the industrial IoT is driving a large interest in having network independence.”



 
 
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Comments
On 5/3/17, C W Rohde said:
Sounds like a perfect use for old TV channel frequencies ‚ 2 through 6 or extended 2 through 13, especially rural.

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