Google, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm, Federated Wireless & Ruckus Sign Deal to Improve LTE Broadband for Densely-packed Locations

– Aimed at Universities, Schools, Airports, Stadiums & Corporate Campuses

– What’s a Cellco to Do? 80% of Data Is Consumed Indoors But 95% of Cellular Capex Is Allocated to Outdoors

Wireless broadband is becoming very important as shown by an agreement that Google (via Alphabet’s Access Technologies), Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Brocade’s Ruckus Wireless made this week with Federated Wireless, a subsidiary of UK-based Allied Minds. Google, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless are major players in the wireless broadband industry so when they agree on a new technology, the rest of the industry should sit up and pay attention.

Federated Wireless develops cloud-based wireless infrastructure solutions that extend the range of wireless cellular networks for high user density locations, particularly indoor ones, such as universities, schools, airports, stadiums and corporate campuses. The agreement is intended to develop, market and promote solutions using the 3.5 GHZ Citizens Radio Broadband Service (CBRS). The deal officially creates the CBRS Alliance, of which Federated Wireless’ SVP of corporate development and strategic alliances Sarosh Vesuna is treasurer board member. The Alliance’s headquarters are in Beaverton, Oregon where Intel has major operations.

CBSR Alliance aims to improve indoor LTE broadband for busy areas.

CBSR Alliance aims to improve indoor LTE broadband for busy areas.

Intel said the CBRS band “creates one of many paths that will make it possible to help meet challenges associated with the coming data capacity crunch, which experts predict will reach over 30 exabytes per month by 2020. For example, a single smart hospital might use up to three terabytes of data per day.”

Last April the US’s FCC adopted rules for CBRS, which makes 150 MHz of spectrum (3550-3700 MHz) available for commercial use. The FCC can make previously allocated spectrum available to new entrants and services while providing necessary protections for incumbent users of the band. To use the 3.5GHz spectrum, smartphones and other wireless devices will have to be updated.

“Some players have argued that the 3.5 GHz band is a better target for in-building and flexibly licensed LTE than pushing LTE-U into the 5 GHz band, with the accompanying conflicts with well-established Wi-Fi interests,” said Wireless Watch. “Like 5 GHz, 3.5 GHz is well suited to a separate, largely indoor network of small cells – if it is fully controlled within an enterprise it can even get round the QoS concerns of the GAA approach and it can be anchored by the conventional macro network.”

The CBRS Alliance’s goal is to build a “robust” group of industry participants and make shared spectrum solutions as widely available as possible. Enterprises, venues and wireline broadband services can deploy high-quality in-building LTE networks in which all cellular subscribers can roam. It provides a greatly expanded footprint and increased bandwidth, which provides users a consistent wireless broadband experience.

The CBRS Alliance and its members have supported the Wireless Innovation Forum’s efforts to develop standards around the unique aspects of operation in the CBRS band. They are working towards LTE-based field trials in the second half of this year and a few of them showcased 3.5 GHz-ready technologies at Mobile World Congress in February 2016. Steve Martin, general manager of emerging technology at Ruckus, said there will be multiple trials CBRS in other US cities by the end of 2016, but did not name them. The Alliance is also developing an official certification process of CBRS infrastructure.

Topics that were not mentioned in the announcement:

– The amount of bandwidth that is possible

– Possible use of the technology in MDUs

– How will devices be updated – download or replacement of the device?

Ruckus’ Martin said the US is the first country to develop, formalize, and market the dynamic sharing of spectrum and that the FCC is bullish about the technology. He said regulators in other countries are watching the trials’ results. He expects wide deployment by 2018…

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