The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Alliance recently launched the OnGo brand and certification program for CBRS services equipment, reports RCR Wireless News. CBRS Alliance president Dave Wright stated the OnGo Certification and testing program had been in works for almost two years—which mirrors about how long the CBRS Alliance has been in existence.
“We want to have a very clear and consistent brand for the technology and the services that are being developed within the alliance,” Wright said at organization’s annual meeting. “We think (OnGo) is going to become a very recognized word.”
CBRS Alliance’s certification program will make sure devices can move through the three-tiered CBRS spectrum-sharing framework successfully and can work with one another. The program covers baseline CBRS specifications from the Wireless Innovation Forum and FCC rules around Part 96 operation, according to Wright.
The organization also has worked to ensure TDD-LTE operations can be supported to properly co-exist so that LTE can be used within the band. Wright stated the FCC has not restricted CBRS to use any particular type of wireless technology, which means multiple technologies will most likely be utilized within the band. Currently, the OnGo certification program is moving ahead with more than 10 testing labs and CTIA showing support, according to the CBRS alliance. The organization stated devices would begin to be accepted this month.
CBRS provides the potential for private LTE networks, which has drawn interest from manufacturers who’d like to use the technology to support robotics along with electric utilities and oil and gas companies, writes telecompetitor’s Joan Engebreston. Companies like these, and potentially any commercial real estate business or building owner, can benefit from CBRS because they need something stronger than Wi-Fi, but don’t want to enter a contract with a wireless service provider, according to CBRS Alliance chair and Federated Wireless chief technology officer Kurt Schaubach.
Rather than work with a wireless provider, businesses want to have their own private LTE network included in their information technology (IT) infrastructure. With neutral host technology, companies could have LTE connectivity in their building and be able to connect to multiple wireless providers similar to how distributed antennas works, but at a reduced cost. CBRS Alliance said in a statement it estimates neutral host deployment would cost 40 cents per square foot.
There are some hurdles the CBRS framework will have to clear before the technology can get started, however. The FCC of Spectrum Access System administrators and Environmental Sensing Capabilities (ESC), both had to provide authorization. Both organizations do support the three-tiered spectrum sharing approach by supplying accurate database information about users who are in the spectrum, and in ESC’s case, sensing naval radars that are along the coast so it can avoid any interference.
How big and long Priority Access tier licenses should be remains a debate within the industry. Mobile carriers want larger license areas and longer terms. However, other companies like GE, Google, Internet service providers and private industrial users request the FCC keep licenses’ geographic areas small. CBRS Alliance has remained neutral in the matter.
Based on WinnForum’s anticipated timeline for CBRS development, the earliest FCC-certified devices and a Spectrum Access System (SAS) with final approval would be available for General Access licenses would be fourth quarter 2018.