NASCTN launches first spectrum-sharing project with Federated Wireless

The National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network (NASCTN) has launched its first spectrum-sharing project, focusing on the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), with Federated Wireless.

The CBRS was created by the FCC earlier this year to promote a three-tiered, spectrum-sharing environment that will eventually allow federal and commercial wireless communications systems to operate in frequency bands primarily used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for radar systems. 

The project will focus on the development of test methods to validate the performance of an environmental sensing capability, which is a network of sensors that can monitor the spectrum environment. That data is provided to spectrum access systems, which coordinate the use of the frequency band.

According to the NASCTN, a key aspect of the project will be the development of a suite of waveforms for radars that operate in the CBRS frequency band. "With a NASCTN-validated library of radar waveforms and test procedures, developers of spectrum access systems will be able to validate the performance of their environmental sensing capability," the NASCTN said in a release.

According to Federated Wireless, the pilot test with NASCTN represents a major step toward certification of its Spectrum Access System (SAS) and puts Federated in a leadership position. Federated is a subsidiary of Boston-based Allied Minds.

"We need to test our sensors through NASCTN in order to get certified," Ravi Pimplaskar, director of marketing and communications at Federated Wireless, told FierceWirelessTech. "This is one of the first steps toward certification, and the cool part for us is we're the first to initiate any sort of pilot test with NASCTN. It's a big moment in the sense that we've been talking about how we're a first mover in spectrum sharing and this shows that we truly are, at least in terms of making this 3.5 band available."  

Federated Wireless' technology is a dynamic three-tiered SAS, which will enable carriers and other industry participants to share licensed spectrum. Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi, who used to work at Sprint (NYSE: S), told FierceWirelessTech last year that the company was developing a product that would allow entities to dynamically manage spectrum on the fly. 

The FCC's 3.5 GHz Report and Order approved earlier this year set forth the three-tiered sharing paradigm, whereby the lowest tier, dubbed General Authorized Access (GAA), is open to anyone with an FCC-certified device. At that level, it will cost nothing for commercial broadband users to access. At the Priority Access License (PAL) tier, users of the band can acquire targeted, short-term licenses that provide interference protection from GAA users. At the top of the hierarchy are incumbent federal and commercial radar, satellite and other users that receive protection from all Citizen Broadband Service users and get the highest priority.

NASCTN was established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the DoD to accelerate the development, evaluation and deployment of spectrum sharing technologies.

For more:
- see this release and this release

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