Vendors from across the wireless industry have come together at Verizon’s facility in Irving, Texas to accelerate using 4G LTE technology over the CBRS (Citizen Band Radio Spectrum) spectrum.
After the successful initial trials last year, Corning, Ericsson, Federated Wireless, Google, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, are all collaborating in end-to-end system testing to further develop the use of this new spectrum.
The CBRS band is made up of 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz shared spectrum which until now has been primarily used by the federal government for radar systems. The FCC authorized shared use of the spectrum with wireless small cells in 2016. By using LTE Advanced technology and carrier aggregation, Verizon will be able to use this shared spectrum to add capacity to its network. Verizon customers will benefit from more capacity, higher peak speeds and faster throughput when accessing the network.
The end-to-end system tests are designed to accomplish several goals on the path to widespread commercial deployment:
•To test and verify the Spectrum Access System algorithms from Google and Federated Wireless are consistently providing the best channel match from the SAS database.
•To test data rates, modulations and the customer experience using CBRS spectrum.
•To test interoperability between infrastructure providers to ensure seamless handoffs between CBRS spectrum and licensed spectrum for customers.
•To test mobility handoffs on the CBRS spectrum.
•To evaluate performance and data from LTE over CBRS spectrum.
For the end-to-end system testing, Federated Wireless and Google are providing prioritization through the Spectrum Access System (SAS) that dynamically prioritizes traffic within the FCC’s spectrum sharing framework for this band. Qualcomm Technologies is providing the Qualcomm ® Snapdragon TM LTE modem needed to access LTE on CBRS on mobile devices. Corning, Ericsson and Nokia have provided indoor and outdoor radio solutions which can run on the CBRS Spectrum.
•Corning provided a SpiderCloud Enterprise RAN composed of a Services Node and SCRN-330 Radio Nodes.
•Ericsson’s Radio System solution is comprised of 4×4 MIMO, 4x20MHz Carrier Aggregation, including CBRS spectrum delivered over infrastructure aggregating Ericsson’s outdoor micro base station (Radio 2208 units) with the indoor B48 Radio Dot System in the same baseband (5216 units).
•Nokia provided FlexiZone Multiband Indoor (MBI) BTS, FlexiZone Multiband Outdoor (MBO) BTS and FlexiZone Controller (FZC).
In addition, participants in this ecosystem have set up private LTE sites which are using CBRS spectrum. Private LTE networks are being engineered to meet the needs of enterprise customers who want greater control over their LTE solutions including private on-site servers, control over access to their designated LTE network, as well as increased throughput and reduced latency through dedicated backhaul.
The end-to-end system testing, which began in February and will continue over the next several weeks, has provided actionable insights and have significantly advanced CBRS spectrum deployment feasibility.
“The promise of the CBRS band and enabling the use of wider swaths of spectrum will make a big impact on carrying wireless data in the future. These trials are critical to stress test the full system,” said Bill Stone, VP Technology Development and Planning for Verizon. “There are many players in the CBRS ecosystem and these successful trials ensure all the various parts perform together as an end-to-end system for our customers’ benefit. We want to ensure devices efficiently use CBRS spectrum and that the new components effectively interact with the rest of the network.”
At the conclusion of this testing, equipment will be submitted for certification through the FCC following which deployment can begin. Both commercial deployment of LTE on CBRS spectrum and devices that can access the CBRS spectrum are expected to begin in 2018.