September 21, 2022 (CHICAGO) – MxD has released an initial set of Requests for Quotation (RFQs) to strengthen the deployment of 5G cellular technology in manufacturing facilities. Additional RFQs are planned to be released through early 2023 for a total of eight projects funded by previously announced congressional appropriations.
By investigating and testing 5G cellular architecture, 5G cybersecurity, and industrial internet of things (IIoT) applications of 5G wireless technology, MxD and its partners will de-risk and demystify 5G to enable U.S. manufacturers to deploy related technologies efficiently and securely within their operations.
“5G systems overcome many of the limitations of previous wireless technologies, like Wi-Fi and 4G, for industrial settings – but significant barriers to adoption remain,” said Berardino Baratta, CEO of MxD. “Testing, documenting best practices, and securing 5G networks within our own factory floor will answer many basic questions for manufacturers looking to implement these technologies.”
Three RFQs are available on the MxD website with a due date of October 13, 2022:
5G System Configuration Research for Industrial Building Application (21-18-01) will determine an optimal configuration of 5G, in a neutral and objective manner, for use in industrial buildings (specifically for IIoT and digital applications) and make this information publicly available for broad industry use including the Department of Defense (DoD).
Wired to Wireless Change Management Guide (21-18-02) will generate a guidebook that contains detailed steps on how manufacturers can implement wireless network architecture in their industrial facilities. Extra emphasis will be given towards helping existing manufacturers determine the viability and develop the know-how to take the existing wired architecture within their industrial facilities and transition to selected configurations of 5G in a neutral and objective manner.
Cybersecurity Reference Architecture Development (21-18-03) will generate documentation on cybersecurity within 5G networks. Such cybersecurity systems will then be implemented within the MxD 5G testbed and facilities to demonstrate their usage in a 5G connected industrial architecture. Documentation on cybersecurity systems for 5G architectures will be made publicly accessible such that the information may be utilized by manufacturers.
The next RFQ is planned to be released in October 2022, with a deadline for responses in November 2022:
Stand-Alone 5G Private System Design and Implementation (21-18-04) will provide testbed functionality by installing a fully functional, private, standalone 5G system, operating on unlicensed Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum, within the MxD facility. This system will provide the foundation for conducting the tests highlighted in other projects under this program.
The final four RFQs are planned to be released in the first quarter of 2023 with deadlines for responses approximately 30 days after each release:
Factory Connectivity and Performance of a 5G Network (21-18-05) will demonstrate and measure the performance of selected configurations of 5G, in a neutral and objective manner, when utilized in industrial buildings – specifically in IIoT networks where digital applications are performed. It will also compare the performance of such a network to a simple wired counterpart.
Testbed for Client-Side Equipment Testing (21-18-06) will generate a process testbed system within the MxD facilities that is accessible to manufacturers, the DoD, and Federal agencies such that they can test the implementation of varying wireless client-side devices within an industrial network architecture. Such a testbed is to be brand-agnostic, allowing various SIMs to be installed and verified via a registration process. The testbed is also to allow client-side devices that are not yet approved for industrial or Federal use to be installed and tested.
Cybersecurity 5G System Penetration Testing (21-18-07) will determine vulnerabilities in selected cybersecurity architectures for 5G network systems via network penetration testing and generate documentation on the testing and discovered faults in cybersecurity within 5G networks. A neutrally selected white hat service firm will perform the testing on the 5G network system.
Mission Critical Virtual Networking for Cybersecurity (21-18-08) will implement a virtual network containing Network Slice Selection Function (NSSF) functionality and an appropriate Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to protect critical on-network sub-systems from intrusion. This will involve the selection of and implementation of an NSSF and IDS into the network, the creation of experiments to test the effectivity of the NSSF and IDS in network security, and the documentation of the testing results and lessons learned.
All future dates are estimated and subject to change.
Funding for the portfolio of 5G cellular technology projects comes from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL). CERL’s mission is to discover, develop, deliver, and sustain technologies that provide high-quality facilities and realistic training lands to the Army, the Department of Defense, and the Nation while also supporting ERDC’s strategic research and development focus areas of multidomain operations, smart and resilient installations, advanced materials engineering, robotics, and autonomous systems capabilities, military engineering, and civil works.
MxD (Manufacturing x Digital) is where innovative manufacturers go to forge their futures. In partnership with the Department of Defense, MxD equips U.S. factories with the digital tools, cybersecurity, and workforce expertise needed to begin building every part better than the last. As a result, our approximately 300 partners increase their productivity, win more business, and strengthen U.S. manufacturing. MxD is also the National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing as designated by DoD.
Mackie Hill, Marketing and Communications Manager, MxD