Verizon, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Federated team for carrier aggregation in CBRS band 48

U.S. carriers are looking to CBRS spectrum to help increase network capacity

Verizon has teamed with Ericsson, Qualcomm and Federated Wireless to announce what it claims is the first use of CBRS band 48 spectrum in an LTE Advanced carrier aggregation demonstration.

The CBRS band comprises 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz shared spectrum that historically has primarily been used by the U.S. government for radar systems. The FCC has authorized shared use of the airwaves with small cells, and Verizon and its partners demonstrated LTE with carrier aggregation on the band to carry wireless traffic.

Federated Wireless provided its Spectrum Access System “to dynamically prioritize traffic” within the FCC’s spectrum-sharing framework, the companies said. The demonstration was held in an Ericsson lab in Plano, Texas, and used 2x20 MHz LTE carriers and employed a 256 QAM modulation on the downlink.

“The use of CBRS spectrum greatly advances our work in emerging spectrum bands,” said Nicola Palmer, Verizon’s wireless chief network officer, in a press release. “As industry leaders we work tirelessly to provide the best mobile experience available – that includes always innovating through new technologies and software platforms to better serve our customers.”

Federated Wireless, one of the founding members of the CBRS Alliance, has been involved in dozens of trials, progressing from technology trials to operational, and it still expects to see certification from the FCC for its 3.5 GHz CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) product before the end of this year.

In February, Federated Wireless announced that its spectrum controller was granted conditional certification from the FCC, a significant step that signaled to operators that they could begin trials with the Federated Wireless solution.

Last year, Federated Wireless and Alphabet’s Access team reached a major milestone in demonstrating interoperability between their Spectrum Access System (SAS). Federated Wireless is also working on providing sensors for the Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) that will be required as part of the whole three-pronged sharing system that the FCC created.

U.S. carriers and their partners consider 3.5 GHz spectrum as a core band for 5G deployment around the world; they warn that the U.S. will miss a huge opportunity if it doesn’t create a structure aligned with global 5G requirements. Some industry insiders say the CBRS band could be roughly 10 times more efficient than regular licensed spectrum.