Wisconsin university selects US Cellular for 5G private network

The private network will be deployed at the Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Connected Systems Institute manufacturing research facility

US Cellular has announced its partnership with Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s (UWM) Connected Systems Institute (CSI) manufacturing research facility to deploy a 5G private cellular network solution to support next-generation IoT sensors and controls. Ericsson and Rockwell Automation are also involved in the project, with the former providing its 4G and 5G radio and dual mode core technology, while the latter invested $1.7 million to help launch the UW facility itself in 2017.

The private network, said US Cellular, will allow students, faculty and industry partners to securely develop, test and ideate on innovative Industry 4.0 manufacturing solutions around applications like drive automation, intelligence and control. “Initial use cases include connecting manufacturing facilities with sensors, Digital Twin, 5G ‘infrastructure as a service’ with security overlays, AR/VR and autonomous robotics,” said US Cellular.

“This is an initial step toward maintaining Wisconsin’s leadership in manufacturing. We’re looking forward to seeing how our private cellular network can support additional growth and learning from the near real-time automation within the CSI lab,” commented Kim Kerr, senior vice president, enterprise sales and operations for US Cellular.

In addition to the network itself, US Cellular is also providing educational content to the Digital Manufacturing Leadership learning pathway course developed by CSI, a curriculum that includes in-person training and classroom education around concepts of supply chain, industrial internet of things (IIoT) and smart manufacturing.

“The Connected Systems Institute is a powerful partnership linking industry and academia. CSI plays a critical role in Wisconsin and beyond to accelerate innovation, develop a highly-skilled workforce and drive economic growth. UScellular’s technology and investment in CSI allows us to advance research and business use cases while helping our students develop skillsets needed for Industry 4.0,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone.

In 2019, US Cellular announced that it will build out its 5G network using Ericsson equipment. At the time, that pair said they had already conducted joint 5G testing in real-world environments, encompassing both rural and suburban settings in Madison, Wisconsin.

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