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May 09 2017

US opens 3.5 GHz “innovation band”; let the automation era begin!

Twitter: @nokianetworks

Welcome to the era of “Total Automation”. My garage and thermostat just got smart, so from anywhere in the world I now know if my garage is open and if it’s hotter than usual in Dallas. This new automation era is developing rapidly and we need more spectrum to provide optimum wireless network coverage and capacity.

Although spectrum is limited, there is an answer - 3.5 GHz US Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Covering 3550 to 3700 MHz, I think of CBRS as the “Automation of Spectrum” as it automatically provides bandwidth using an efficient and unique three tier shared spectrum mechanism. These three tiers safeguard incumbent users such as the government, while licensing other users to benefit from different bandwidth within the overall spectrum.

CBRS and shared spectrum access provides the most efficient way of using spectrum. Spectrum that was previously partially used will be fully available to mobile operators, industries, cable operators and enterprises - while ensuring defense organizations still have access.

Access to the CBRS band is managed by a Spectrum Access System (SAS) and devices operating in the band are called Citizens Broadband Radio Service Devices (CBSDs). Our demonstrations of CBRS, including one at Globalcomm – 2016, show clearly how it automatically shares spectrum.

The CBRS concept gives everyone permission to innovate. The extent to which this innovation takes place is open and this strengthens concepts such as private or dedicated LTE for enterprises, such as automation of manufacturing plant or healthcare facility. LTE-based CBRS will use TD-LTE, which Nokia has 19 years of  experience with and many recognized firsts since 2009.

Seeing is believing; CBRS in action

Nokia recently joined forces with Alphabet's Access Group and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to demonstrate the first live demo of a private LTE network over CBRS shared spectrum to provide a 360° race car experience.  This was followed up with a joint demo by GE Digital, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. showing how a private LTE network for the Industrial IoT market works and while successfully meshing together each party's platforms and technologies

For mobile operators there is the advantage of not only extra spectrum for capacity but an opportunity for higher throughput. For example, if you aggregate FDD LTE with CBRS spectrum, you can get 1 Gbps peak throughput over mobile. Nokia proved the point at MWC-2017, which you can see here:

CBRS based LTE roll out planned for 2017

Nokia has been leading the regulatory and standardization efforts to enable 3.5 GHz in the United States, as one of the founding members of the CBRS Alliance, dedicated to delivering LTE-based solutions for the US CBRS band.

A recent CBRS Alliance meeting decided on some exciting developments to roll out CBRS based LTE in 2017. The discussion included earlier 3GPP standardized CBRS TD-LTE Band 48 and nine intra-band Carrier Aggregation (CA) combinations, while 3GPP has begun work on a new CBRS LAA/eLAA Band.

Take a deeper dive on CBRS in our executive summary and visit our Nokia CBRS page.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #LTE #IoT #CBRS

About Chris Stark

Chris Stark, head of strategy and business development is a distinguished telecoms executive, having previously held President and CEO positions at Turin Networks, Luminous Networks and Alcatel, as well as working as a management consultant to start-up telecommunications companies, advising on business strategy, marketing, growth strategies, pricing and competitive analysis. He serves as chair for the CBRS Alliance and is based in Dallas, Texas.

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