Google, CommScope get official OK for CBRS Environmental Sensing Capability system

The joint CommScope/Google ESC network is expected to be completed by the end of the year. (FierceWireless)

In yet another sign that the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band is inching toward commercialization, Google and CommScope reported that they have received official notification from the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) that their shared Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) system has passed testing to support CBRS.

Google and CommScope are each providing their own separate Spectrum Access System (SAS) administration services, but last year announced they were combining resources to jointly operate an ESC network for the CBRS 3.5 GHz band.

CBRS provides 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band in the U.S. under a unique spectrum sharing scheme. The General Authorized Access (GAA) portion of the band is expected to launch this year—it’s the part of the band that doesn’t require licenses. The Priority Access Licenses (PALs) portion of the band will become available through an auction process, and it increasingly looks as though that might not happen until 2020.


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The SAS administrators will rely on an ESC network to sense radar operation. The ESC will alert the SASs of naval radar operations, so the connected SAS systems can reconfigure spectrum allocations for nearby CBRS devices to operate without interfering with naval activity.

RELATED: CommScope further cements role in CBRS with Google ESC collaboration

ITS, which is part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is the official test lab that has been tasked with confirming the performance of ESCs.

“Our ESC sensor has passed all required testing for certificationdemonstrating that we can detect all current and future radar waveforms and our respective SASs can protect incumbent users,” said Mat Varghese, senior product manager, Wireless Services, Google, in a press release. “This is an important milestone and we are looking ahead toward commercial operations in CBRS.”

The joint CommScope/Google ESC network is currently being deployed and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. CommScope and Google will each own and operate independent SAS systems which will provide service using the jointly operated ESC network.

“We are pleased that our ESC sensor, as expected, has passed all testing from the lab and is on track for the next phase,” said Mike Guerin, vice president of Integrated Solutions, CommScope. “We look forward to initial commercial deployment and working with customers and federal agencies to ensure success.”

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