Ericsson and PAWR Launch 5G SA Network to Revolutionize Rural Agriculture Research

Ericsson, in collaboration with the US National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program, has introduced a cutting-edge 5G Standalone (SA) network at Iowa State University (ISU) to advance precision agriculture research and address rural connectivity challenges. This groundbreaking network, powered by Ericsson, is set to drive innovation in rural farming, with a primary focus on increasing productivity and agricultural efficiency.

Key Focus Areas for Applications and Research

The 5G network will serve as a catalyst for research in precision agriculture, with a range of applications designed to revolutionize farming practices:

  1. Connected Robots (PhenoBots): These robots, equipped with stereoscopic cameras, will collect valuable plant phenotyping data, allowing for more precise and data-driven farming practices.
  2. Livestock Monitoring: High-resolution cameras will enable efficient monitoring of livestock, ensuring their well-being and health.
  3. Agriculture Automation: The network will support various automation processes in agriculture, streamlining tasks and boosting productivity.

Extending Broadband Access to Rural Farms

One of the primary objectives of this initiative is to provide broadband connectivity to local crop and livestock farms that have historically faced limited or no access to high-speed internet services. Bridging the digital divide in rural areas is critical for modern agriculture and the well-being of rural communities.

5G Technology Components

Ericsson’s 5G SA network encompasses a 5G core operating in SA mode and NR (New Radio) radios operating across mid-band and millimeter-wave spectrum bands. This setup enables high aggregate throughput, reaching up to 3 Gbps, and offers several key advantages, including ultra-low latency, expanded coverage, increased capacity, and support for network slicing. These capabilities make it ideal for various agricultural use cases.

Supporting Bipartisan Legislation and Addressing Connectivity Challenges

This collaborative effort with PAWR and the Agriculture and Rural Communities (ARA) team at ISU aligns with bipartisan legislation aimed at expanding broadband access for underserved rural farms. By conducting applied research and developing innovative use cases, ARA and Ericsson aim to provide practical solutions for farmers and rural communities grappling with connectivity challenges.

This partnership between Ericsson, PAWR, and ARA leverages the power of 5G technology to revolutionize agriculture, enhance productivity, and bridge the digital gap in rural areas. Through ongoing research and practical solutions, this initiative holds the potential to reshape the future of farming while ensuring that rural communities thrive in a connected world.

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