Verizon, Qualcomm Debut New CBRS Carrier Aggregation Program

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Verizon, Qualcomm Technologies, Ericsson, and Federated Wireless on Monday announced a new end-to-end band 48 CBRS carrier aggregation partnership, detailing their first demonstration of this technology. CBRS — short for Citizens Broadband Radio Service —is a 150MHz spectrum range around 3.5GHz in the United States which the Federal Communications Commission opened in 2015, providing the telecommunications industry with the ability to use certain spectrum that’s simultaneously serving other parties like government organizations, dividing such offerings into three tiers dedicated to incumbents, priority access licensees, and general access authorizations. The U.S. government is currently mainly using CBRS for radar systems which are filling the role of its incumbents, whereas Verizon, Ericsson, Federated Wireless, and Qualcomm now took it upon themselves to utilize its unused capacity in the context of wireless small cells.

The demonstration that its authors describe as an “industry first” saw them adapt the carrier aggregation-powered LTE Advanced functionality for this spectrum band, thus showcasing the ability to carry wireless traffic over CBRS. Federated Wireless, one of the founding members of the CBRS Alliance, provided its partners with a Spectrum Access System which allowed them to prioritize traffic on the band in real-time which enabled the solution to carry regular traffic while dynamically dismissing it in favor of incumbents and priority access licensees as needed. Ericsson contributed to the initiative by providing it with a band 48 Domain Proxy service and Radio Dot System which allowed access to the Federal Spectrum Access System (SAS), whereas Qualcomm handled the modems used for the test, all of which were members of its Snapdragon LTE product family.

The demonstration was held in Ericsson’s Plano, Texas-based laboratory and showcased the potential for this technology to maintain an end-to-end CBRS communication flow on the band 48 while relying on 256 QAM modulation and 2×20 MHz LTE carriers. Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm have been collaborating in the wireless communications segment for a long while now, having most recently shifted their focus to 5G technologies and advancing the existing 4G LTE solutions. The three companies and Federated Wireless all described their latest achievement as a significant milestone in the industry, adding how they’re adamant to continue driving advancements in the telecommunications sector going forward.