SEATTLE—Six wireless technology leaders have banded together to create an industry alliance that will drive deployment of LTE-based communications using the US Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. Recently authorized by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), CBRS allows 150 MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum previously reserved for the US military to be used in commercial civilian applications for short-range broadband communications. The new CBRS Alliance, founded by Alphabet's Access, Federated Wireless, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Ruckus Wireless (now part of Brocade) aims to evangelize and foster development of LTE-based CBRS technology.
“It started with a need for indoor coverage,” Orin Binder, chair of the Alliance's marketing group and service provider marketing manager for Ruckus Wireless, told EE Times in an interview. “Cellular signals from macro towers can get blocked by building materials, and downward-pointing cellular antennas provide less coverage for the upper floors of tall buildings such as hotels. So a lot of users have been having issues with indoor cellular service, issues that cell companies are unable to address.”
Small cells, Binder pointed out, turned out to not be viable. The problem, he noted, is that providing indoor coverage required small cells for each building. The cost as well as allocation of spectrum for numerous small cells was unmanageable. “Cell operators are not equipped to handle thousands of hotels,” Binder added.