RF Connect’s strategy of expanding its portfolio to include CBRS-enabled Private LTE offerings was highlighted this month when the company joined the CBRS Alliance.
“Given RF Connect’s market outlook, joining the Alliance and expanding the portfolio works well for those sweet spots in the industrial and enterprise sectors, both of which where we have strong relationships,” Jeff Hipchen, executive vice president at RF Connect, told AGL eDigest. “This is an opportunity to join a group of recognized innovators, disruptors and forward-thinking companies in the CBRS marketplace to advance widescale adoption.”
Involvement with the Alliance has led to opportunities for RF Connect to partner with the likes of Ruckus Networks (now part of CommScope), Geoverse, Cradlepoint and other ecosystem participants, and to promote the new service.
“The Alliance has helped tighten up some relationships that we had through attending some of their membership meetings,” Hipchen said. “As an ecosystem, we are all collectively out there in the market promoting CBRS. As with any new solution, there is a lot of market education involved. Many of our customer discussions center around how CBRS solutions make their lives better. It is an exciting time to be one of the proponents of CBRS.”
CBRS provides many of the advantages of 5G, if not more, including tremendous bandwidth and low latency, according to Hipchen.
“If you design an in-building system for private use, in theory, you could use the whole band of frequencies, because you are not at risk of interfering with anyone. That is what makes the CBRS opportunity so compelling,” he said.
Like other Alliance members, RF Connect is involved in CBRS deployment trials. So far, its trials include a school, gaming casino and an office building.
“Most people are looking at CBRS for mobility applications, but there are also compelling fixed wireless use cases, such as campuses where it is not cost-appropriate to run fiber, and for surveillance or building access. This is an application where there is keen interest,” Hipchen said.
RF Connect is in the proof of concept stage working with a school district in Florida that wants to provide broadband service to underprivilege students in their district.
“The school district received a grant to give the students access to laptops and a wireless broadband signal so they can do their homework,” Hipchen said. “Wi-Fi was not cost-effective for them, and the signal-to-noise ratio caused coverage issues. So we are designing, deploying and managing a fixed CBRS point-to-point hook up to a tower, where a point-to-multipoint signal is sent out.”
Additionally, as the FCC sets the CBRS standards and the government spectrum auctions move forward, the Alliance is providing companies such as RF Connect a voice in influencing what the final radio service will look like.
“The CBRS Alliance has been very active in helping the FCC develop the 3.5 GHz spectrum auctions,” Hipchen added. “Some of the lobbying by the CBRS Alliance has led the FCC to limit licenses to a countywide area, as opposed to a nationwide license. That makes it less likely for monopolization of these frequencies and instead possible for more localized ownership of these frequencies.”
CBRS Alliance President Dave Wright will join RF Connect and other subject matter experts to discuss Private LTE and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications and use cases during a livestream presentation on September 11th at 8:30am ET. Learn more here: https://members.automationalley.com/events/details/tech-takeover-jump-start-your-private-lte-journey-11487.