CBRS Devices: What You Need To Know For Telecommunications Management

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CBRS Devices: What You Need To Know For Telecommunications Management

CBRS devices operate within the CBRS gateway and are installed on houses and businesses to help deliver video, voice, data, and IoT communications to a wired access network. This includes WiFi connections as well as Ethernet-LAN. Typically, CBRS devices communicate with a router that acts as a gateway to provide Band 48 devices that operate within the 4G and 5G frameworks. These devices use 3.6 GHz frequencies.

What Are FCC CBRS Devices?

CBRS stands for Citizen Broadband Radio Service and is a broadcast frequency band that is reserved for specific CBRS upgrades and devices within the United States. On these devices, the total band spectrum ranges from 3550 to 3700 MHz, which is 150 MHz in width. CBRS was released, and is managed by, the FCC as an additional spectrum with a focus on mobile broadband users. It divides devices into three different tiers: GAA, PAL, and Incumbents. Wireless mobile, fixed wireless, and IoT devices continually need new ways to access additional spectrum, and CBRS allows that to happen.

CBRS allows wireless broadband operators to deploy unlicensed LTE or 5G spectrum  to Band 48 devices as well as other CBRS devices.

ETI Software can also help in many other areas of CBRS device management, CBRS software upgrades, and more. ETI’s Unified Device Management software can help telecommunications companies visualize problems related to these devices and ensure that companies stay in compliance. For example, Unified Device Management helps companies to see where their customers are in respect to the towers they have and the spectrums. They are able to track the service they are getting works properly and remains at consistent speeds.

CBRS Auctions

Most telecommunications companies have been aware of the increase in CBRS auctions. These allow companies to compete for Priority Access Licenses or PAL. While these only make up a fraction of the equation, they are an important part.

PAL auctions aren’t only good for bigger companies, they can help the smaller ones as well. Smaller companies who win a few licenses in a few counties are poised to make the biggest impact moving forward. The licenses that they win are for specific counties, meaning the people who win those licenses will have significant control over larger areas. If a business wants to compete within a specific geographic location, they absolutely need to win these licenses. While you won’t own control of the entire spectrum of a specific area, there are some legalities and technicalities that need to be understood.

If you are planning to upgrade your radio equipment with new software and you want to know how to take full advantage of the CBRS spectrum, our TR-069 ACS driven system can help. Whether you are already taking advantage of it, or you want to complete a CBRS migration, our monitoring is top-of-the-industry. Click here to learn more.

GAA: General Authorized Access Spectrum

The General Authorized Access (GAA) spectrum is the most commonly used aspect of CBRS that is free for anyone who is willing to stick to the rules of the spectrum. Anyone can use this as long as they are not impacting those with PAL licenses, incumbent users, or those using it for military purposes.

This is the spectrum that has been used by the FCC to provide people with internet upgrades and internet access when they cannot afford it on their own. It is largely used by communities where children need to use the internet for schooling. There are Wi-Fi connections in specific places that allow them to get their work done.

Spectrum Access System

Many telecommunications companies have difficulties wrapping their minds around CBRS frequency systems because they need to participate in something called “spectrum sharing.” This isn’t new, but it is something that is a new concept for many people. And it isn’t just in telecommunications – but satellite applications, AM/FM broadcasts, and in military use as well. Within spectrum access, the same frequency can be used and reused by different locations as long as they are not closely connected.

This brings multiple issues to light, including time sharing. This is when the same channels of CBRS can be used by the same locations, as long as they are not being utilized at the same time. This is coordinated by the Spectrum Access System or SAS. They make sure that every user has good access to the spectrum and that the access is appropriate.  The SAS also works to provide frequency and service protection for their respective users.

Now, there is a challenge in all of this: WISPs need to be able to monitor their SINR (signal-to-interference-ratio) constantly in order to ensure they are following the rules and regulations. They need to monitor this metric to give theoretical upper bounds on channel capacity (or the rate of information transfer) in wireless communications. WISPs need to know if something goes wrong and they need to intervene to ensure that their clients have the services they need (and pay for!).

How Can ETI Help With CBRS Device Management?

ETI Software’s device management platform, Unified Device Management, can help. Unified Device Management gives telecommunications companies the ability to coordinate operations between known SAS info and real RF stats. Unified Device Management then tracks SINR by cross referencing radio stats with EARFCN over time. No matter how the SAS changes or shifts, Unified Device Management can help keep track of devices and their usage  and help to catch problems before they happen. CBRS Migration and monitoring is one of many examples where remote device management is a time and cost saver for WISPs.