FreedomFi wants to help enterprises build their own private LTE or 5G networks using open source software. The company recently announced that its FreedomFi Gateway is now available in public beta.
The FreedomFi Gateway is a commodity, x86 network appliance that runs open source core network software from Facebook’s Magma project, and it connects with small cell radios. FreedomFi provides its hardened version of the Magma software.
Sponsors contributing at least $300 toward the Magma project will receive a beta FreedomFi Gateway for free along with limited, free access to CBRS spectrum.
Boris Renski, co-founder and CEO at FreedomFi, said it’s important for the private wireless ecosystem for enterprises to build their own networks, remaining vendor-agnostic and staying in control of their network architecture. "Historically, the cellular market revolved around the radio, and it would come with the core software and everything," said Renski. "The problem would be you bought it from a vendor, and you’re stuck with that vendor."
Recently, Renski spoke with Fierce about the steps for setting up an enterprise-grade private cellular network. He also gave a humorous presentation at the Fall Open Infrastructure Summit on the topic.
FreedomFi Co-Founder Joey Padden has also written a detailed blog about the six key components to an open and private LTE network.
In addition to helping enterprises set up private wireless networks, FreedomFi’s technology can be used by carriers to set up private LTE or 5G networks for fixed wireless access or mobile broadband.
The company currently has seven customers, including satellite operators, utilities and a cable operator.
WiConnect Wireless is partnering with FreedomFi to expand its LTE network using open source. “We operate hundreds of towers, providing fixed wireless access in rural areas of Wisconsin,” said WiConnect Wireless President Dave Bangert, in a statement. “We were always keen on expanding our LTE internet service, but weary of lock-in issues associated with using a proprietary network core as well as the monthly recurring costs associated with most LTE platforms.”