In another sign that the 3.5 GHz shared spectrum is moving closer to commercial deployment, Nokia said it is partnering with Federated Wireless to create an LTE solution based on the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) spectrum, while Ericsson has successfully tested its Radio System Architecture with Federated Wireless’ Spectrum Access System (SAS).
Nokia and Ericsson also were among the first batch of successful pre-testers to use Alphabet’s Access SAS, ensuring their equipment works with that SAS as well. ZTE, Ruckus Wireless, Juni and Sercomm were also part of that first batch working with the Access SAS.
Federated Wireless and Google have been working closely throughout the process to make sure their systems are interoperable, demonstrating back in December that their independently developed cloud systems work together over the air. The 3.5 GHz CBRS band was officially created last year when the FCC voted to make 150 MHz of spectrum available through a secure sharing mechanism that requires SAS protection of military and satellite incumbents while freeing up large swaths of spectrum for commercial use.
With Nokia (PDF) and Ericsson—Federated Wireless made separate announcements with each of them—the company noted that Nokia is providing indoor and outdoor CBRS small cells through its FlexiZone solution. With Ericsson, they successfully tested the vendor’s Radio System Architecture with Federated Wireless’ SAS.
Federated Wireless has also been busy doing trials and demos with a number of other companies, including Ruckus Wireless, SpiderCloud Wireless, Siemens, Telrad and Airspan, among others. Its spectrum controller, which recently received conditional certification from the FCC, is currently undergoing trials for a variety of applications with more than two dozen operators and equipment vendors. The company said it’s on track to reach full regulatory approval from the FCC in the first half of 2017 and plans to have commercial customers by the end of 2017.
Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi told FierceWirelessTech that a lot of new entrants and various models are being evaluated for using the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, and he noted that all four major U.S. operators are part of the CBRS Alliance, whose mission is to evangelize LTE-based CBRS technology.
Nokia, Qualcomm and GE Digital recently demonstrated a private LTE network at 3.5 GHz aimed at the industrial IoT market. The trio is targeting industrial companies that operate businesses in remote locations or temporary sites where connectivity can be difficult to access.
The three companies hope to help industrial businesses to own and manage their own LTE network, providing 4G performance and laying the foundation for 5G without requiring licensed spectrum. Private LTE also allows users to customize a dedicated LTE network for specific applications such as optimizing for capacity.