3G Shutdown Has Pig Farmers Squealing

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UPDATE Michael Hansen, co-founder of BarnTools, sounded the alarm that pig and poultry operations are heading for a cliff in their barn-monitoring communications recently at a swine conference in Minnesota, according to The Pig Site, as the carriers shut down their 3G networks in the coming months. 

“Pig and poultry operations … who are dependent on landlines and certain cellular networks, are going to face future challenges,” Michael Hansen, co-founder of BarnTools, told The Pig Site. “What I mean by that is the large mobile carriers are making upgrades to their network, which is going to take old tech like barn alarms and push them off the network. Essentially you will have an alarm system that dies. You won’t know it; it won’t tell you. These are changes that we’re seeing happening now – today.” 

BarnTools offers a carrier-agnostic wireless system that monitors sensor changes in temperature, water and humidity in barns, also known as hog confinements. Alarms can be set for readings that exceed certain parameters. All data collected by the system is uploaded to the cloud and viewable in BarnTalk’s dedicated mobile app.

Others in the industry have been vocal about delaying the 3G network shutdowns,  Inside Towers reported. The Rural Wireless Association urged the FCC to require the three major nationwide carriers — AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile — to delay the shutdown in an October filing. The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) of The Monitoring Association petitioned the FCC to delay AT&T’s 3G shutdown, because the alarm industry will not have the security, fire, and personal medical alert systems upgraded to a new network by the deadline. 

The alarm industry has been slow to replace many of the 6 million 3G radio alarm systems that will need to be switched out because of the pandemic, according to the AICC.

By J. Sharpe Smith Inside Towers Technology Editor

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