Boingo Wireless will launch initial commercial deployment (ICD) of the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, expanding wireless coverage and capacity at large venues to accommodate mobile demands and deliver a seamless and secure connected experience.
Boingo deployed the first known CBRS network at a major airport when it launched a private LTE cellular network on the 3.5 GHz band at Dallas Love Field Airport, which services more than 15 million passengers annually. CBRS is part of Boingo’s wireless convergence portfolio that leverages licensed, unlicensed and shared spectrum.
Boingo partners with airports, stadiums, office buildings, military bases, multifamily communities and other commercial properties to power networks that meet current connectivity demands and can scale to support content consumption in the 5G era.
The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and the Office of Engineering and Technology have certified the spectrum access systems (SAS) operated by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google and Sony to begin initial commercial deployments (ICD) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) at 3.5 GHz.
In order to use the CBRS, which represents 150 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, a network must employ a SAS and dynamically manage that spectrum use through an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network to avoid interfering with incumbent Navy radar users.
In November 2018, ITS Labs began testing the systems submitted by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated, Google, and Sony. ITS completed its laboratory testing on May 3, 2019, and subsequently provided the respective SAS Administrators with SAS laboratory test reports, which Amdocs, CommScope, Federated, Google, and Sony submitted for the Commission’s review in July 2019.
ICD is the final step in the development of the OnGo ecosystem and launch of commercial services in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.
“ICD realizes the vision for the innovative shared spectrum model, introducing new commercial services while protecting existing federal users,” according to press release by the CBRS Alliance “The success of this model is being closely monitored by regulatory and industry players across the globe, as it promises the availability of valuable wireless spectrum that is often underutilized.”
In 2015, the FCC adopted rules for shared commercial use of the 3.5 GHz band and directed the WTB/OET—in consultation with the Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) — to oversee the review, certification, and approval of SAS in the 3.5 GHz band.
“It can take decades for new spectrum to become available for commercial use using traditional methods, but the 150 MHz that make up the CBRS band has become commercially available in only six years, due in part to the close public-private partnership between industry players and government agencies,” the CBRS Alliance said.
JMA Wireless has received FCC certification of its XRAN virtual baseband and Cell Hub radio product line as a multiple radio system for the new Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Certification covers Category A and B Citizen Broadband Service Device (CBSD) equipment classes, allowing for full commercial deployment of CBRS networks. JMA’s high capacity, scalable radio systems are ideal for deployment into buildings, campuses, metro areas and entertainment venues in both enterprise private networks or for mobile operator use.
XRAN and Cell Hub formally received CBRS Alliance OnGo certification, assuring interoperability and access to a broad selection of end user devices, customer premise equipment, spectrum access systems (SAS) and public-private network services. With over 140 companies in the OnGo ecosystem, end users and system integrators can build a shared spectrum network immediately around JMA’s software based XRAN baseband and CellHub distributed radio system.
“JMA’s completion of OnGo certification goes beyond being ready for shared, controlled and secure spectrum. It brings interoperability and assurances of a growing ecosystem around them, ultimately giving choice and opportunity for innovation to customers using OnGo solutions,” said Alan Ewing, executive director of the CBRS Alliance.
Cell Hub radios go beyond a typical access point or small cell architecture, providing an unmatched level of flexibility, scale, and versatility. Cell Hubs paired with XRAN are uniquely positioned to provide key end user benefits:
*High capacity, multi-use stadiums and arenas can adapt use of the spectrum by area, event type, and for many different constituencies of the venue. Campus or metro transportation systems can utilize the maximum amount of spectrum for multiple systems from mobile user or IT infrastructure. Buildings can integrate multiple network slices to empower varied use cases, including IT operations, IoT systems, private mobile staff communications, and mobile offload.
OnGo Service to Launch Sept. 18
The CBRS Alliance will hold “OnGo Commercial Service Launch: Share. Connect. Innovate.,” on Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C., celebrating the launch of commercial activity in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.
Known as “The Innovation Band”, the 3.5 GHz CBRS band is valued at $15.6 billion and opens the door to a huge market opportunity for enterprises and the broader U.S. economy. FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly will attend the event. As the CBRS ecosystem nears FCC authorization of commercial activity, attendees of this event will be among the first to hear some of the most compelling uses of OnGo in the market, including network densification, IoT, neutral host networks, private LTE networks, and by 2020, 5G.
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.
SBA Communications joined a group of existing investors, which includes American Tower, in funding CBRS pioneer Federated Wireless. The $51 million in Series C funding will enable the company to further accelerate availability and adoption of shared spectrum CBRS services by wireless carriers, cable companies, utilities and enterprises seeking to augment existing and 5G wireless services and private LTE.
Other existing investors include Allied Minds, GIC (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund), in addition to new investor Pennant Investors.
“We are extremely pleased with the way Federated Wireless’ momentum in the CBRS industry has accelerated since our initial investment and are proud to have been able to contribute to it in a material way,” said Joe Pignato, co-CEO of Allied Minds. “The contributions that Federated Wireless has made in bringing CBRS to this point are significant and demonstrate its leadership in the space.”
Federated’s Spectrum Access System (SAS) Cloud protects the existing Navy radar users from interference, which allows dynamic and secure access to the 3.5 GHz band by commercial users. SAS, which is also provided by Google and CommScope, is the bedrock of the CBRS.