Qualcomm seeks FCC permission to conduct 3.5 GHz tests in California

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is seeking permission from the FCC to conduct tests in the 3560-3650 MHz frequency range in California over the course of 12 months.

Specifically, the intent is to operate the LTE downlink 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, according to the application. The testing, to be done in El Centro, California, would consist of up to five small cell base stations and up to 10 mobile devices that will operate in the areas of the small cell equipment. All equipment is prototype hardware controlled by Qualcomm or authorized individuals.  

The company says that a single downlink RF channel with a maximum transmission bandwidth of 20 MHz will be operated within the requested frequency range at any one time. The fixed sites and small cells also support MIMO.

Qualcomm is just one of the companies in a coalition called the CBRS Alliance, named after the FCC's Citizens Broadband Radio Service moniker, which is working on sharing spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. Six technology companies, including Google, are working on trial projects in multiple U.S. cities to test out shared 3.5 GHz spectrum wireless communications under the model recently adopted by the FCC.

Kansas City, Mo., last month approved a Google test of 3.5 GHz shared wireless in more than eight locations for up to 18 months. Ruckus Wireless, one of the other six alliance members, is in talks to join with Google in the KC tests, Steve Martin, general manager of emerging technology at Ruckus, told ComputerWorld. He said there will be multiple trials of the technology in other U.S. cities by the end of 2016, but did not disclose which cities are involved.

Other alliance members are Nokia, Intel and Federated Wireless. Both Google and Federated Wireless are working on the Spectrum Allocation Server (SAS) portion of the CBRS service. SAS machines will use algorithms to detect when a priority transmission by the U.S. Navy is on a certain channel, then divert other users already on that channel to another.

Ruckus plans to provide a family of 3.5 GHz products that enterprises could buy to improve cellular connections in-building, including antennas to snap onto Wi-Fi access points, ComputerWorld reports. The purpose of the trial projects will be to make sure products from various vendors interoperate and to ensure that the SAS devices reliably switch channels away from the priority Navy signals.

For more:
- see this STA application
- see this ComputerWorld story

Related articles:
FCC puts final rules in place for spectrum sharing in 3.5 GHz band
Google, Intel, Nokia and more partner to advance U.S. 3.5 GHz CBRS
Ruckus tackles in-building coverage, capacity problems with OpenG
Google seeks clarification on SAS rules for 3.5 GHz band