Our LTE Live project is underway and we’re excited to share with you some actual project details as we build this private LTE network. Redline is currently working on several iLTE™ projects, so we’re able to show you real data as we go.
Follow the posts below to track our progress and learn what it takes to build an LTE network. We won’t give away all our secrets, or who the customer is, but because it’s a Redline network you know it’s rugged and reliable.
Don’t forget to follow us on social media to see more pictures of the day-to-day build.
Watch our webinar presented on November 29th to see the details of this iLTE project.Watch Now
Video - Project Overview |Dec 4th, 2017
Watch this video of our LTE Live staging environment as our Director of Systems Engineering, Andrew Spurgeon, walks us through the set-up of this industrial LTE network.
EPC, PTT, Staging & Configuration |Nov 23, 2017
And we’re back! In the previous installments we covered the Project Plan, Network Architecture & RF Planning, Training, and now in this installment we are focused on the Staging & Configuration of the LTE network.
With our Network Architecture and RF Planning work completed, the staging to test the actual implementation of the equipment in our lab environment. This project is particularly challenging as the location in which we are deploying is very remote, and the transportation of the equipment had to be planned and coordinated perfectly to meet certain logistical constraints. In addition, the objective was to ensure that everything is 100% configured prior to installing on-site, as any mistakes or rework will be costly. Also, depending on any error or oversights we could delay the project significantly given the logistical challenges.
To this end, all the network equipment was staged in our lab and fully configured. The staging mirrored the following planned physical architecture deployment:
The below documents are an example from one single location – keep in mind that each individual site’s details were considered and planned for. All locations were staged in our lab to provide a full network deployment:
With the physical equipment fully staged, we and our partners were able to verify every detail right down to the mounting brackets, cabinets, cables, connectors, tie wraps, etc.
EPC & Radio Configuration Details
A complete network IP address and VLAN allocation design document was created and presented to the customer before beginning the staging exercise. This ensured seamless integration of the backhaul, RAN, and UE networks into the customer’s existing core network infrastructure.
By leveraging the network design document and the RF design document prepared by Redline’s Cell Planning group, configuration and provisioning of the RAN was a very straightforward process. All of the necessary parameters were derived ahead of time as part of the design process. The provisioning team needed only to refer to the appropriate table in the document to fill in the fields in the device’s GUI.
Challenges & Lessons Learned
- The eNodeBs, mobile routers, and backhaul microwave radios all required software upgrades post-delivery. This was a time intensive process not in the original project plan, which added more than three days to the schedule.
- Network switch configuration for link aggregation.
- The backhaul radios do not natively implement link aggregation at the rates that were required by the project. Aggregation had to be implemented in the switches themselves, requiring careful configuration in order to account for all possible outage/failover corner cases.
Changes Requested Mid-Staging:
- Changes are typical for a network of this size, but managing these changes is key. It’s much easier to implement while staging in a controlled environment rather than after the fact while out in the field.
- There was a change in network topology in order to geographically separate redundant EPC and PTT servers. Requested post network design sign-off, this required an updated design package, new software feature, and additional testing.
- Change in power system, from DC to AC input. This required an updated design package, specifications, new equipment purchase, and additional testing.
- Additional eNodeB and antennas in order to increase coverage area. Requested post design sign-off, required updated design package, procurement, configuration, additional testing.
- Mobile routers did not ship with GPS and required working with manufacturer to procure, configure and test.
- Handsets required additional configuration.
- Changes to rack layout required additional cabling which meant updating the design package, specifications, procurement and testing
Factory Acceptance Testing:
With the staging complete, the final stage is of course FAT with our partners and customer. The following document shows the FAT procedures followed and customer acceptance.
We are delighted to say that the FAT was a success and we are off to ship, deploy, and conduct the final SAT!
Customer and Partner Training |Oct 06, 2017
Our LTE Live project is well underway; we’ve completed the schedule, RF Plan, and overall network design. We still have much to do, but the highlights of what remain include:
- Configuration & FAT
- Installation & SAT
- Signoff & network hand over
Training is important on any system, but it is even more vital to the success of an industrial iLTE™ mobility deployment. As a solutions-focused company, we are pleased to be working on this project with a key partner, as well as the end customer. Almost all of the customers and partners we’ve engaged have never deployed a full LTE network from end-to-end. LTE is more involved than a typical broadband wireless network, as it includes an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) which is the “brain” that manages authentication, mobility handoff of the User Equipment (UE’s) between eNodeB’s, routing, and much more. In addition, LTE is a Layer 3 network, whereas typical broadband networks are Layer 2. This difference requires a slightly different approach to planning out the overall wireless network architecture.
At this point in the project we have provided two training courses:
1. The first course, RSCA RDL-6000, was primarily focused on proper installation practices and alignment procedures. The training was delivered to our partner and customer, responsible for the installation of the radios.
2. The second course, RSCP RDL-6000, was a comprehensive training on the installation, configuration, and maintenance of the overall solution including the EPC, ENodeB’s, and LTE User Equipment.
The training was divided into two modules as the riggers and people responsible for the tower gear do not necessarily need to be aware of all the configuration and network software architecture details. The division of the two courses made the most efficient use of everyone’s time on the project.
To learn more about each training course please download the following training syllabiRSCA RDL-6000 RSCP RDL-6000
Network Architecture and RF Planning |Sep 25, 2017
This is the second installment in our LTE Live email series. Feel free to forward this message to any associates you think may be interested.
We’ve kicked off our project and we have our schedule, which provides you with an overview of the scope without compromising the privacy of our customer. Redline, and one of our key partners,are delivering this LTE network for mobile assets that travel anywhere from a few miles per hour to 60 miles per hour. Likewise, the network is also going to be used for personal devices, such as tablets, handsets, etc.
We’ve completed the RF plan and, as in any wireless project, it is essential this is done properly or the reliability, throughput, capacity, and tower locations and device performance can all be impacted. It is even more critical when LTE true mobility is required as the handoffs of the devices must occur seamlessly. At a very high-level, the following approach was used with the RF planning process:
- Application capacity and throughput was analyzed for average and peak data rates
- Based on application requirements, a 10+10 MHz UL/DL channel size was determined to provide sufficient throughput capacity
- Tower heights and optimal locations were calculated based on the Redline eNB and ntenna characteristics, 1 meter LIDAR data, and the antenna height of each vehicle and devices people may be
- Fade margins for the Redline LTE coverage was designed for 99.99% availability and based on the ITU-R P.530-13 model
- Tower location was determined based on tower location possibilities, optimal RF coverage, and validating the coverage and MCS for each vehicle antenna type and height
- With the optimal tower locations the RF plan for the Mircowave Backhaul was completed
- A 60% Fresnel Zone clearance was used and the ITU-R P.530-13 model to ensure a link availability of 99.99%
Click here to download a more detailed overview of the RF plan and architecture for our LTE Live project.
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Project Kick Off - Time to Plan |Sep 14, 2017
In our LTE Live project series we started by telling you a bit about Redline’s LTE products and services. We are excited to have started this iLTE™ project and to share actual project details with you as we build this private LTE network. This is one of several LTE projects we are currently working on, and to respect our customer’s privacy, we will be using actual project data, but we will be removing any identifying customer information. This is the real deal.
Download our Project Plan
The embedded image shows the high-level project phases. Some key differences we want to highlight in the LTE project plan vs. a typical PTP or PMP broadband project are:
- LTE is a layer 3 technology, instead of layer 2, and therefore network integration planning at the IP level is necessary
- LTE is mobility and the RF plan needs to overlap accordingly and drive tests are required to test the mobility
- Staging requires an EPC core (the LTE network brain) and rather than just getting a network up and running the LTE EPC core must authenticate wireless users, control handoff, handle security, and ultimately routes the network traffic and integrates it into the plant network
- Instead of installing PTP or PTMP radios we are of course installing eNodeB’s which are radios that enable LTE user equipment to connect to the network and do so while moving
- And of course SIM cards must be programmed by Redline, interoperable LTE devices must be tested on the network against our eNodeBs