Ericsson, in conjunction with the US National Science Foundation's (NSF) Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program, has launched a 5G Standalone (SA) network to bolster research in precision agriculture and rural connectivity in partnership with the Agriculture and Rural Communities (ARA) team at Iowa State University (ISU). As per the statement, the network, powered by Ericsson, is set to transform rural farming and connectivity, with a primary focus on enhancing productivity and innovation.
Applications and Research Focus
According to the statement, the 5G network will facilitate research in precision agriculture, including the use of connected robots (PhenoBots) with stereoscopic cameras to collect plant phenotyping data, livestock monitoring using high-resolution cameras, and agriculture automation. These applications aim to enhance agricultural efficiency and productivity.
Broadband Access for Rural Farms
Ericsson stated that the network will extend connectivity to local crop and livestock farms that previously had limited or no access to broadband services. This initiative aligns with efforts to address the issue of broadband access in rural areas, which is crucial for modern agriculture and rural communities.
5G Technology Components
Ericsson's 5G SA network includes a 5G core operating in SA mode and NR (New Radio) radios operating in mid-band and millimeter-wave spectrum bands, providing high aggregate throughput of up to 3 Gbps. It features ultra-low latency, increased capacity, coverage, and support for network slicing, enabling various use cases.
ARA is part of the NSF-funded PAWR program, which aims to create wireless testbeds through public-private partnerships to accelerate advancements in wireless technology.
Support for Bipartisan Legislation
The initiative is positioned to support bipartisan legislation related to broadband access for unserved rural farms. By conducting applied research and developing innovative use cases, ARA and Ericsson aim to assist farmers and rural communities in addressing connectivity challenges.
This partnership between Ericsson, PAWR, and ARA will leverage 5G technology to transform agriculture and bridge the digital divide in rural areas, benefiting both research and the development of practical solutions for farmers and rural communities.