Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Spectrum & Private LTE

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CBRS & Private LTE

CBRS & Private LTE

LTE is the mobile broadband technology of choice for mobile service providers around the world, powering 1.7 B devices at the end of 2016, and expected to serve over 4.6 B devices by the end of 2022. LTE offers high bandwidth connectivity with predictable latency. It is extremely secure, has a large ecosystem of suppliers and offers a robust roadmap. Yet, enterprises are unable to use LTE for their private wireless networks because LTE requires licensed spectrum.

This is about to change in the United States with the availability of Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) spectrum. Enterprises will be able to use this CBRS spectrum, from 3.55 GHz to 3.70 GHz, to deploy private wireless networks based on LTE without obtaining licenses from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Introduction to CBRS Spectrum

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) occupies LTE bands 48 that has been allocated to low power cellular service in the United States. Spectrum allocation is tiered with two relevant tiers for LTE usage.

  • Priority Access Licenses “PAL” are non-renewable authorization to use a 10 MHz channel within the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the band. Each PAL is awarded in a competitive bid process.
  • General Authorized Access “GAA” are dynamically allocated10 MHz channels within the 3550-3700 MHz portion of the band that do not conflict with any PAL. Any census tract can have from 80-100 MHz available for GAA usage depending on assigned PALs.

What’s different about CBRS is that mobile network infrastructure makes a request for spectrum from a Spectrum Allocation System “SAS” could service that connects to a database that manages overall licensed usage.

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