MSP Picks CTS to Test CBRS-based Private Wireless Network-as-a-Service


Communication Technology Services (CTS), an in-building and campus connectivity solution provider, announced the successful completion of a trial of a CTS CBRS-based Private Wireless Network (PWN) with Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

The Private Wireless Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) was commissioned by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), who provides aviation services to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. CTS deployed a turnkey managed Private LTE NaaS to demonstrate the benefits for six MSP applications.

For each application, the CTS PWN trial met or exceeded the performance of current networking technologies while also identifying opportunities to increase operational flexibility, reduce time to deploy/relocate services and applications, and decrease operational costs.

Communication Technology Services (CTS)

MSP tested the functionality of a CTS private LTE network using CBRS spectrum for airport operations
The PWN PoC study was performed in both laboratory and production environments at MSP. The use cases tested included general-purpose mobile device data connectivity, high-definition moving maps for workforce automation and industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors for infrastructure monitoring and maintenance.

Connectivity requirements varied from low bit rate (e.g. sensors), to high throughput (video surveillance, HD mapping), to ultra-reliable performance for mission-critical applications (e.g. infrastructure IoT), to highly secure operations (e.g. gate agent passenger processing).

Specific applications that were tested during the trial were:

Airside Maintenance Tracking- MSP ensures FAA Part 139 Airside Maintenance Tracking compliance and workflow management through a GIS application. The high-density (HD) maps that underlay the application require high throughput and latency for optimal performance. The PWN delivered a superior HD mapping experience across the designated coverage area.

Common Use System Equipment (CUSE) carts- MSP employs CUSE carts for shared airline passenger processing. The PWN featured an onsite packet gateway connected to the MAC IT LAN that securely tunneled traffic to the CUSE cart to leverage the existing PCI-compliant processing platform. The PWN delivered LTE authentication, access control, and over-the-air encryption to ensure data security.

Digital signage- MSP operates digital signs throughout the airport, assisting passengers with wayfinding, flight and entertainment services and advertising. The content consists of scrolling text, images and video that changes throughout the day. The PWN delivered predictable connectivity and opens new opportunities for MSP to introduce additional display locations, as well as pop-up displays, to optimize advertising placement and increase revenues.

Video surveillance- The airport’s CCTV system provides indoor and outdoor monitoring. The PWN enabled the test video camera to wirelessly connect to the central security system, The result was no discernable difference to the fiber optic connectivity in use today and significant cost savings over the existing wired connection.

Critical infrastructure monitoring- Intelligent Monitoring and Control System (IMACS) is the core component of MAC’s energy conservation program; it connects all energy-related systems and equipment. A dedicated network slice was provisioned on the PWN and mapped to the IMACS IP subnet. The PWN enabled the test controller to wirelessly connect to the IMACS platform with no discernable difference to the wired connectivity in use today.

Mobile enterprise applications- MSP employees use a variety of mobile devices to access MAC IT services. The PWN provided access to enterprise mobile applications with a more secure connection than Wi-Fi at a lower cost per bit than public network cellular.

Eduardo Valencia, Chief Information Officer, Metropolitan Airports Commission, said “At MAC, we are always looking for ways to leverage technology to provide innovative solutions and improve both operational efficiency and the customer experience.”

Robert Cerbone, CTS VP of Product Management and Marketing, said, “MAC’s history of innovation made MSP the perfect place to demonstrate the functionality of an LTE network for the delivery of mission-critical airport applications. The network designed and delivered by CTS performed well under pressure and illustrated some real world use cases that could benefit from the adoption of private cellular technology in the enterprise.”

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) owns and operates one of the nation’s largest airport systems, including Minneapolis-St Paul International (MSP) and six general aviation airports. The MAC’s airports connect the region to the world and showcase Minnesota’s extraordinary culture to millions of passengers from around the globe who arrive or depart through MAC airports each year. Though a public corporation of the state of Minnesota, the organization is not funded by income or property taxes. Instead, the MAC’s operations are funded by rents and fees generated by users of its airports.

CTS (Communication Technology Services) provides custom, carrier-grade connectivity solutions for enterprises and mobile network operators, solving and managing the most complex networking challenges.