U.S. satellite communications service provider Ligado Networks plans to offer a private LTE network using advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) from Taiwan based Ubiik. Using Band 54 spectrum at 1670-1675 MHz, the private LTE network is intended for the utilities sector and other mission-critical customers. Band 54 is standardized for 3GPP-based cellular technologies; it is available contiguously across the US.
Ubiik gained considerable success in Taiwan, including a $17 million tender from Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) at the start of 2023. The company has developed a private LTE base station for Band 54 spectrum, under the brand goRAN; the 5MHz chunk at 1670-1675 MHz, affording time-division (rather than frequency division) duplexing (TDD), is presented as a useful private network addition for low-power IoT projects.
On October 6th, Ubiik partnered with Electricity Canada with the aim of contributing to Canada’s clean energy future through developments in wireless connectivity. Ubiik will collaborate with Electricity Canada’s members and partners to deliver pLTE networks for utilities in Canada, using its innovative goRAN™ LTE Base Station and LTE-M end devices that support the 1.8GHz, 900MHz, and 1.4GHz spectrum.
The goRAN™ base station integrates a full-software 3GPP Release 15 Radio Access Network (RAN) optimized for private networks, with multi-carrier standalone NB-IoT support as well as standalone LTE-M in 1.4MHz, 3MHz and 5MHz bandwidths, including VoLTE. It can operate as a Base Station connecting to an external Evolved Packet Core (EPC) via the S1 interface, as well as an Access Point with its built-in EPC and integrated HSS (external HSS via S6a is also supported).
It is a “golden opportunity” for critical industries, said Ubiik. TDD separates the uplink and downlink signals by allocating different time slots in the same frequency band, allowing for asymmetric flow for uplink and downlink transmission. Ligado Networks said: “[It] equips utility users with significant flexibility, as different ratios of uplink versus downlink slots may be used to address requirements of mission-critical applications.”
A news release said: “The Band 54 goRAN™ LTE Base Station will be particularly useful for utilities deploying private networks which is why the companies plan to showcase a demonstration version of the device during the 2023 Utility Broadband Alliance (UBBA) Summit & Plugfest Event in Minneapolis next week from October 10-12, 2023.”
Sachin Chhibber, chief technology officer at Ligado Networks emphasized how the announcement represents another building block in the expansion of the ecosystem which utilizes Band 54 frequencies. He stated: “Ubiik’s goRAN base station is a significant enhancement to the opportunities the band affords to the critical infrastructure industry – especially utility and other enterprise organisations planning private networks… By eliminating the requirement to pair channels for uplink and downlink, we will be able to offer partners the flexibility to use the spectrum exactly how they need, and with greater efficiencies.”
Chhibber reiterated how specific attributes of Band 54 – particularly its Time Division Duplex (TDD) capabilities – equip utility users with significant flexibility, as different ratios of uplink versus downlink slots may be used to address requirements of mission-critical applications. “By eliminating the requirement to pair channels for uplink and downlink, we will be able to offer our partners the flexibility necessary to use the spectrum exactly how they need, and with greater efficiencies,” Chhibber noted. He added that uplink-heavy users such as utilities – for monitoring purposes, as an example – will be able to deploy tailormade networks to achieve their priorities.
Tienhaw Peng, chief executive at Ubiik, said: “Given the scarcity of spectrum, being able to secure an optimal 5 MHz slice to build out a private network is a golden opportunity for critical infrastructure customers. Our goRAN base station offers the perfect mix of affordability and ease of deployment combined with the spectral efficiency, interoperability and security brought by LTE. With Ligado, we look forward to providing a solution-in-a-box for building an LTE network – by either utilising a user’s specified core network or one directly built into the base station.”
Peng also explained that the goRAN™ Base Station will integrate with chipsets supporting Band 54 and with a utility-hardened LTE endpoint module currently in development. Ubiik’s recent acquisition of utility networks provider Mimomax Wireless will provide North American utilities with additional expertise in the deployment of multiple large-scale wireless networks.
Ubiik’s recent acquisition of utility networks provider Mimomax Wireless will provide North American utilities with additional expertise in the deployment of multiple large-scale wireless networks, the company said.