Ruckus Wireless, an early player in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service space, this week announced the immediate availability of its CBRS portfolio ahead of an expected summer deployment of initial CBRS gear in the U.S.
It’s been a long haul—the FCC first approved a three-pronged sharing paradigm for the 3.5 GHz band in the U.S. in 2015 and the industry was working on the technology leading up to that—but Ruckus has stuck through thick and thin. Known for its Wi-Fi access points (APs), Ruckus sees big potential for CBRS; one of its trio of products is a plug-in LTE and Wi-Fi combination APs for indoor use; the other two are indoor and outdoor LTE APs.
The current thinking is the initial commercial deployment phase will begin in July, with full commercial deployments to follow soon after. Although, timing depends on the government’s testing and certification processes, so that could change, according to Joel Lindholm, vice president, LTE Business at Ruckus Networks.
Knowing that initial deployments are around the corner, “we thought it was appropriate to get ahead of that and get our portfolio out there,” he said, noting that Ruckus is building up its channel and device partners. “We want customers to know that, hey, this thing’s real.”
Ruckus equipment has been deployed in nearly 50 trials across a variety of enterprise verticals as well as with mobile network operators (MNOs), multiple system operators (MSOs), mobile virtual network operator (MVNOs) and neutral-host operators. “We are working with some mobile operators to augment their capabilities into enterprises,” Lindholm told FierceWirelessTech.
Is CBRS going to compete with Wi-Fi? “It complements Wi-Fi,” he said, noting the company’s interest in protecting the Wi-Fi business. But pragmatically speaking, mobility, for example, is a one of the native things that LTE does a better job of providing.
“At the end of the day, Wi-Fi is cheaper. It’s always going to be cheaper," from the chips to the end product, and it’s pervasive across everything, he said. If Wi-Fi works, people are going to stick with Wi-Fi, but if they need LTE, “now we have the ability to bring them something that they can take advantage of,” he said.
Once the FCC finalizes commercial CBRS spectrum availability, organizations across a variety of verticals will be able deploy their own private LTE networks. Here are some use cases, according to Ruckus:
- Secure, wide-area, high-definition video surveillance
- Critical communications for security and operations teams
- Remote vehicle and equipment control
- Automated guided vehicle (AGV) connectivity
- Mobile point-of-sale (POS) and mobile kiosk connectivity
- Mobile high-volume data transfer for imagery, video, diagnostics
- Mobile connectivity for utility, public safety and passenger transfer vehicles
- Low-latency connectivity for industrial automation (Industry 4.0)