Ice Wireless deploys Parallel Wireless gear to connect unconnected Canadians

An operator in Northern Canada is connecting the unconnected thanks to technology provided by Parallel Wireless, the same company that has supported public safety communications at high-profile events like the Super Bowl.

Ice Wireless, a provider of wireless and wireline IP services, said it successfully deployed a multitechnology macro solution based on Parallel Wireless’ all-IP virtualized RAN (vRAN). That means residents in far-flung regions like north of the Arctic Circle have an opportunity to get connected. 

Ice sites
Stars represent the four sites where equipment
was deployed.

And by remote, they’re talking about a very harsh environment where this was done in the middle of winter—“We are talking -50,” said Tore Stenbock, director of Wireless Core Networks for Ice Wireless.

The whole project took about two months, including travel, site acquisition, site preparation and delivery to some of very remote sites via Ski-Doo—that includes any other base station could not be delivered by snowmobile due to their size. 

“Unheard of,” Stenbock said of the time it took. “Ice Wireless knows how to innovate in such tough environments.”

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Specifically, the initial four locations (with multiple sites) are major Arctic locations for Ice: Whitehorse, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Iqaluit. Many of these markets have limited backhaul availability and limited access to power. Parallel Wireless’ Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS)-based network solution enabled Ice Wireless to deploy on an accelerated timeline.

Obviously, covering such a harsh region is difficult as operators typically don't want to spend a lot of money to serve a very small number of users (114,000 residents and 93,000 visitors per year). However, Parallel says it is constantly updating its portfolio to help deliver internet to places that want the full experience and not just a sliver of it. Its products came preconfigured and all that needed to be done was to plug backhaul and power in at the four locations. 

The self-configuring and self-optimizing technology combines Parallel Wireless HetNet Gateway with Parallel Wireless’ Converged Wireless System (CWS) base stations. The sites use the software-defined radio (SDR) capability of the technology to incorporate both 3G and 4G LTE into a single integrated solution that delivers the smallest site footprint, according to Parallel. The whole thing is designed so that changes can be done remotely—no need to fire up the snowmobile to change configurations on site.

The deployment at 850 MHz typically, in ideal network conditions, yields throughput at 10 MHz, 115 Mbps uplink and 30-40 Mbps downlink.

Ice Wireless is a facilities-based operator that delivers 3G and 4G/LTE-A technology to rural and remote communities across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec.