From software companies in the heart of Silicon Valley to financial services leaders in New York to hotels and restaurants in the central United States, all have faced a similarly frustrating experience from time to time: poor indoor wireless connectivity.
Facing the breaking point when it comes to complaints from employees and customers, most IT departments are either completely dependent upon mobile operators or struggling to scale quality on their own Wi-Fi networks. High-quality indoor coverage is not always achievable. Or is it?
In fall 2019, the Federal Communications Commission approved the use of shared spectrum through Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS), a groundbreaking wireless technology that delivers the best attributes of traditional wireless and Wi-Fi with lower fixed costs, higher quality, greater efficiency and scale. With CBRS, the game has changed, and newer, more technologically advanced options–including private 5G networks–are available for the enterprise.
New opportunity for deploying communications networks
CBRS offers a new opportunity for enterprises to develop and deploy communications networks with high-speed private LTE and 5G solutions with the cost and simplicity of Wi-Fi and the high performance, reliability and security of a private network.
In addition to enterprises, CBRS also has broad appeal with particular applicability to mobile network operators, cable operators and managed-service providers for specific use cases. CBRS, like Wi-Fi, is not an economic answer to widespread macrocell deployments, but it’s best used in smaller geographical areas–either inside or out–and to fill in much-needed coverage in areas that require additional spectrum such as in rural areas that are particularly challenged to provide connectivity.
Newly available cloud-native shared spectrum solutions let operators and enterprises use open spectrum to deploy economic and scalable private 4G and 5G solutions. While the market is still emerging, a growing number of handsets are now interoperable with CBRS, including the Apple iPhone11, with the number of compatible devices expected to grow in the coming year.
In this eWEEK Data Points article, CTO Kurt Schaubach of Federated Wireless offers five reasons businesses of all types may want to consider deploying shared spectrum as a way to solve the wireless internet connectivity coverage dilemma.
Data Point No. 1: Expansive coverage and capacity
CBRS provides commercial use of 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band through a Spectrum Controller, adding much-needed capacity to meet the ever-increasing demand for high-speed wireless services. In addition, because deployments are based on standardized 4G/5G, shared spectrum solutions do not suffer from interference issues, making them ideal for mission-critical applications.
Data Point No. 2: Strong security
Enterprises using CBRS benefit from stronger security than Wi-Fi because of the way security is built for IT departments are still unsure of what it is and how it can enable more reliable, higher performance wireless connectivity for their organizations and even who provides it–all growing pains evident of an emerging market. In 4G/5G systems, security is integrated into the radio chipset. CBRS simplifies security for all applications because it’s riding on native security within the 4G/5G stack.
Data Point No. 3: Broad range of use cases
From airports to smart cities, there are a number of opportunities for CBRS deployments. Airports can enable a private wireless network with CBRS, and cities can use smart-city sharing solutions to build new IoT applications. Two specific enterprise use-case groups that are arising right now include digitization and automation, as well as deployments at large venues. Just look at whatJMA Wireless did with American Dream Complex orCWS did in Times Square. New innovative use cases are being deployed every day.
Data Point No. 4: Diverse vendor ecosystem
A fast-growing ecosystem of equipment manufacturers includes the largest brands in the wireless industry: Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola Solutions and Samsung. These companies are working to develop integrated private wireless solutions that are frictionless and that will be delivered as a single solution to the enterprise. It’s a very out-of-the-box approach. The enterprise can turn it on and go.
Data Point No. 5: High-performance connectivity
Demand from enterprises for private wireless networks is on the rise because reliable, high-performance connectivity is core to the business. Connectivity has become a part of every organization’s digitization and automation efforts, and they want to be able to build private solutions that they can securely control. CBRS can provide that as a standard part of a business connectivity strategy.
Shared spectrum enables businesses to quickly and easily deploy private 4G and 5G solutions that they control, enhancing their employee and guest networks and generating new revenue streams. The broad range of use cases and growing ecosystem of vendors, carriers, cable companies and managed service providers make implementation easy and cost-effective. With the FCC, the industry and users all having aligned for rapid growth of CBRS services this year, 2020 promises to be a truly revolutionary year for wireless communications in the enterprise.
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