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Naval Station Norfolk to get 5G as part of testing at a dozen US bases

Naval Station Norfolk is seen from an aerial view Thursday evening June 27, 2019. (Jonathon Gruenke / Daily Press/TNS)

Naval Station Norfolk will be one of a dozen U.S. military installations to conduct 5G experimentation and testing, according to the Department of Defense.

The base is one of seven selected in the second round of installations.

“The bases were selected for their ability to provide streamlined access to site spectrum bands, mature fiber and wireless infrastructure, access to key facilities, support for new or improved infrastructure requirements and the ability to conduct controlled experimentation with dynamic spectrum sharing,” according to a news release from the Defense Department.

The Defense Department will solicit prototype proposals this summer and the goal is to have them working by the end of fall, Joseph Evans, the Defense Department’s technical director for 5G said in a media briefing last week.

At Naval Station Norfolk, the testing will focus on ship-wide and pier connectivity.

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“Connecting ships wirelessly to piers for rapid ship-shore data transport, integration with force protection operations, and interior shipboard communications represents a leap forward in the ability to maintain and operate the fleet in pier-side environments,” said Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a Defense Department spokesman, in an email. “This use case will focus on pier operations such as maintenance and resupply and will experiment with employing 5G cellular network throughout the ship and gateways for ship-pier connectivity.”

The other bases in the second round are Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Hood, Texas; Camp Pendleton, California; and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

“5G technology is vital to maintaining America’s military and economic advantages,” Evans said. “5G will be the advent of ubiquitous connectivity — that is the connectivity of everything and — and everyone everywhere through wireless communications. It is a transformational technology.”

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