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Advancing Mission Critical and Quality of Life Communications on U.S. Military Bases

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Coast to coast and around the world, base commands are adopting base-wide wireless networks that keep troops seamlessly connected in their living quarters, training areas, classrooms and command centers.

Ensuring reliable, secure, flexible communication networks that support mission-critical programs and quality of life on base is complicated. Demand for real-time data, faster speeds and advanced training applications require next generation technology. The solution is integrating seamless 5G and Wi-Fi networks on military bases.

“Military training and education are evolving with new technologies and exercises, including virtual training drills, interactive simulations and advanced online coursework. These advanced digital training programs require strong, secure network infrastructure throughout the base,” said Rebecca Gray, senior vice president of military at Boingo Wireless, a leading provider of connectivity solutions for the U.S. military. Col. Gray also serves as vice wing commander, 111th Attack Wing at Biddle Air National Guard Base. 

Sheppard Air Force Base, the largest and most diverse training base in air education and training command, recently installed an advanced Wi-Fi network throughout its training facilities, classrooms and dormitories to provide immersive learning experiences for both technical and flying training. Launching fast Wi-Fi connectivity enhances the professional military education the base provides for pilots and the airmen overseeing avionics maintenance, flight equipment, fuels, aerospace ground equipment, civil and electrical engineering, and telecommunications.

At Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, 5G is powering critical operational use cases. A new private 5G network connects aviation hangars, warehouses, flight line operations, AR/VR operations and training, asset tracking and advanced supply chain management. Private 5G networks are designed with dedicated wireless bandwidth to provide enhanced security, coverage, capacity and speed—key elements for securely connecting next generation military communications and base operations. Private networks operate independently of public cellular networks to connect more devices and run data-heavy applications.

Beyond mission critical communications, 5G and Wi-Fi can create significant improvements in the quality of life for service members and their families. With high-speed internet access, troops can stay connected with family and friends and enjoy everyday things many of us take for granted like streaming a football game, sending an email or playing the latest video game. 

More than 80 Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Homeland Security Training Center locations have equipped their bases with Boingo Wi-Fi to give troops instant internet service and support quality of life programs.

Due to the mobility of troops, wireless networks must transcend geographical limitations. Troops who sign up for Boingo Wi-Fi at one base can use the same account as they move to other Boingo-connected bases around the world. The service also works in common areas and recreational facilities. Whether a relocation, deployment or training in an austere environment, where troops go Boingo Wi-Fi follows.

“At Boingo, we believe it should be a basic requirement that troops have access to high-quality Wi-Fi where they live on base. It should also be a basic requirement that the wireless service moves with them. No hassle, no geographical limits,” said Gray.

With base-wide 5G and Wi-Fi, military installations are becoming smart cities of their own. By ensuring connectivity across the entire base, military personnel can fulfill their missions and maintain the U.S. military’s technological advantage.