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Federated Wireless uses Ballston HQ to nab contract with Marines

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn.

Federated Wireless is using its proprietary private 5G solution to make a Marine Corps Logistics Base in Georgia smarter.

The company says it was able to make it happen because of its physical location in Arlington, close to the Pentagon. From its Ballston office at 4075 Wilson Blvd, Federated Wireless conducted in-person demonstrations and briefings with Department of Defense leaders during the pandemic, when travel was down.

“Being located in Arlington has really been a benefit to Federated Wireless,” Vice President and General Manager Sal D’Itri said. “We won a huge contract to implement our technology along with some marquee partners at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany because of our headquarter presence close to the Pentagon and its leaders. We’ve been able to cultivate those relationships as we build the business.”

This past January, it deployed its solution at the base. The improved connectivity supports innovations such as precision forklifts, smart sensors and robots, and automated inventory management, making manual inventory and manual work inside the warehouse a thing of the past.

“This is one of the largest smart warehouse deployments of private 5G networks in the United States,” D’Itri said.

Two Marines Corps members push inventory in a warehouse (courtesy photo)

The 5G being used in Georgia provides persistent communication — also known as low latency — to spectrum networks that goes way beyond what’s available to ordinary cellphone users. D’Itri says the warehouse needs this low latency in order to support sensors, robots and machines without the interruptions and network slow-downs cellphone users occasionally experience.

“It’s a technology that’s really geared for enterprises,” he said. “We can have the low-latency that we need for robotics. We have the capacity for things we need, like holographic Internet of Things representations and augmented reality.”

Federated Wireless is growing as governments and enterprises worldwide increasingly focus on harnessing innovative 5G networks.

“5G is on every ad and every commercial now,” D’Itri said. “Our business is growing with that, particularly as we look at 5G networks that are targeting enterprises, school districts and communities that want to have a private, secure network that is more oriented to applications, as opposed to merely a carrier network” such as AT&T or Verizon.

He says Federated Wireless’s private 5G solution is made possible through its “shared spectrum controller.” In the U.S. today, spectrum is either assigned to the federal government or auctioned to carriers like AT&T. Federated Wireless uses its proprietary controller to share unused spectrum with private companies, powering reliable, private 5G networks.

With that kind of power, D’Itri says companies can not only experience greater connectivity without being tied to a specific carrier but can create “next-generation experiences” such as holographs or virtual reality.

Using its ability to share spectrum, Federated Wireless is also looking to tackle another area that large businesses and equipment manufacturers heavily rely on: WiFi.

“When you add spectrum to WiFi, you help relieve congestion and deploy more of it to stay connected,” D’Itri said. “[Consumers] would have better WiFi connectivity and more capacity.”

With these developments, D’Itri says Federated Wireless is having to grow its local presence over the next several years.

“We certainly are planning to continue hiring our Arlington office,” he said. “We have a wonderful facility here, growing the Arlington ecosystem and hiring Arlington folks, and bringing business into Arlington.”

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