Rural Cloud Initiative Will Provide Edge Computing for Rural Wireless, Precision Agriculture

Published on 22.04.2020 at 12:34 PM (MST) by Trilogy Team

4/21/20 at 9:00 AM by Joan Engebretson

Edge computing isn’t just for metro areas, as the Rural Cloud Initiative from Trilogy Networks and Chat Mobility illustrates. Chat Mobility is a wireless carrier serving rural Iowa and Trilogy networks is a network-as-a-service provider that has a specialty in edge computing. Trilogy now plans to install its edge computing infrastructure in Chat Mobility’s network with the goal of supporting precision agriculture.

Moving cloud infrastructure closer to the network edge helps minimize latency, which is critical for certain types of applications. The ones we hear about most often include autonomous cars, as well as augmented and virtual reality. But precision agriculture also falls into that category.

Trilogy and Chat Mobility announced the Rural Cloud Initiative last month. Since then, rural wireless carrier Inland Cellular and RINA Wireless Networks, an alliance of rural wireless carriers, have joined the initiative as well.

Trilogy Network executives told Light Reading this week that the company has similar deals with several other wireless network operators as well, which will enable the Rural Cloud Initiative to cover 50,000 square miles in rural parts of the country. Trilogy hopes to double that coverage area soon and ultimately wants to cover two million square miles, according to the Light Reading blog post.

  • Before the Rural Cloud Initiative
  • Trilogy isn’t a stranger to rural wireless. Telecompetitor talked to Trilogy CEO George Woodward back in 2013 when the company launched an LTE roaming option for rural carriers. The company also was part of a 40-carrier 2017 partnership that included RINA Wireless, NewCore Wireless and others aimed at enabling rural providers to share wireless network infrastructure, including an IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) core.
  • Developing connectivity and infrastructure to support precision agriculture would seem to be a natural extension of Trilogy’s business – and the company appears quite serious about it, as Woodward has joined the FCC precision agriculture connectivity task force.

    Edge computing infrastructure is often seen as an offshoot of 5G wireless, which is designed to provide lower latency in comparison with earlier generation technology. And while large nationwide carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have been competing fiercely in deploying 5G, some smaller, more rural providers also are gearing up to deploy the technology.

    Rural Cloud Initiative participant Inland Cellular, for example, has been preparing its network to support 5G. And just last week, Nex-Tech Wireless said it plans to launch 5G by third quarter.

    Trilogy Networks also sees opportunities for the Rural Cloud Initiative to support digital oilfield applications.