Cisco used its Cisco Live U.S. event in Las Vegas this week to showcase a bolt-on 3.5 GHz module that it developed with SpiderCloud Wireless for Cisco’s outdoor AP1572.
Previously, the module was shown to selected customers and partners at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona earlier this year.
Cisco joined the CBRS Alliance last year and recently declared in a blog post that “5G is now a reality” with the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the U.S.
"We have been talking about 5G for what seems forever, but it has only been a few years and happy to say we are finally moving forward," wrote Jim O'Leary, senior manager of Mobile Solutions Marketing at Cisco. "Now with the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service, 5G is now a reality."
O'Leary noted in the same blog that Cisco and SpiderCloud are participating in an outdoor CBRS trial for a large telecommunication provider, but they aren’t identifying the operator.
A Cisco spokesperson said as far as supplying CBRS gear goes, Cisco's partner SpiderCloud is developing expansion modules that work with Cisco high-end indoor and outdoor APs. “These will be supplied and supported direct to our customers by SpiderCloud,” the spokesperson said.
SpiderCloud, a much smaller company than Cisco, has managed to strike partnerships with the likes of Cisco and Qualcomm and was an early mover in the 3.5 GHz space. Last year, the company introduced the industry’s first enterprise small cell system that simultaneously offers LTE services on licensed spectrum and on the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.
SpiderCloud’s dual-mode (licensed and CBRS) system was designed to enable mobile operators and neutral host operators to build a footprint of CBRS small cells before CBRS-capable connected devices are widely available. SpiderCloud’s dual-mode small cells will offer LTE service in the licensed band on day one, and CBRS radios can be turned on via software when the business case permits.
SpiderCloud said its Enterprise RAN architecture is uniquely suited for buildings where the capacity provided by CBRS is essential—offices, university campuses, hospitals, hotels and shopping centers that have thousands of LTE subscribers but limited LTE service.
While some entities have been pushing the FCC to move ahead with certification efforts for the 3.5 GHz band—its unique sharing setup requires Spectrum Access System (SAS) and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) administrators approved by the FCC—others have been lobbying for the FCC to change the rules they approved last year. CTIA and T-Mobile are recommending longer licensing terms and closer alignment of the 3.5 GHz with the rest of the world for 5G.