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With CBRS Trending, Radisys and the OnGo Alliance are Busier Than Ever

By Arti Loftus

When it comes to wireless spectrum in the United States, the dynamics have never been more interesting and exciting, including the future of Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS).

The OnGo Alliance reports growing interest and contributions by its members and hosted a full house of very active members at Mobile World Congress Americas this week.

The OnGo Alliance is an industry consortium that promotes the development, commercialization, and adoption of LTE and 5G solutions for the US 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and evangelizes shared spectrum globally. The organization aims to evangelize 4G and 5G OnGo technology, use cases, and business opportunities while simultaneously driving technology developments necessary to fulfill the mission, including multi-operator capabilities.

This is an ecosystem that is growing at a rapid pace since becoming commercially deployed just two years ago, with 270,000 CBSDs, 490+ different types of client devices (EUDs), and more than 4,300 certified installers.

As an early member of the OnGo Alliance, Radisys is highlighting its Citizens Broadband Radio Services Devices (CBSDs) Test Harness, which it recently contributed to the OnGo Alliance to accelerate market readiness and commercialization.

OnGo Certified is a recognized seal of approval that indicates a product’s ability to meet a high set of quality, interoperability, and security standards when tested by an independent, OnGo-Authorized test laboratory. Both the OnGo brand and the OnGo Certification Program are managed and maintained by the OnGo Alliance.

With the help of Radisys, the OnGo Alliance also established an effective product certification program for OnGo equipment in the U.S. 3.5 GHz band, ensuring multi-vendor interoperability.

“The implementations we are learning about are truly meaningful, including dozens of projects in America’s rural areas, where the dream to finally bridge the digital divide is becoming a reality,” said Natasha Tamaskar, SVP and Head of Digital Endpoints Business, Business Strategy and Global Marketing at Radisys Corporation. “Across municipalities, educational institutions, connected healthcare and telemedicine, precision agriculture, and more, private wireless networks are poised to make a huge difference in access to high-speed broadband in the U.S. and around the world.”

The CBRS ecosystem is in formation to scale early deployments into secure, resilient, and cost-effective wireless networks for organizations of all sizes across the business that can now benefit from Industry 4.0 and other technological advancements.

Next-generation wireless networks must support billions of connected devices, new services, and applications that will drive new business efficiencies and economies,” Tamaskar explained. “While licensed spectrum continues to play a critical role in 4G Advanced and 5G network transformation, use of shared spectrum for deployment of 4G and 5G networks is becoming increasingly important. The concept of leveraging shared spectrum is taking off in the U.S. with the 3.5 GHz CBRS, and the OnGo Alliance has been at the forefront of building an amazing community we are very proud to be a part of.”

The shared economy of CBRS brings the potential to drive new cost efficiencies and foster new service innovation. It offers a unique opportunity for mobile carriers, neutral host service providers, cable operators, wireless internet service providers (WISPs), and enterprises to come together and disrupt the wireless industry with new business models.

We are honored to bring our years of wireless R&D and systems integration expertise to help accelerate CBRS market adoption and help pave the path to 5G,” Tamaskar explained. “The solution paves the way for cheaper and faster network capacity and improved coverage based on RAN densification through a combination of enterprise, carrier, and service provider-focused use cases.”

According to a recent blog post from Radisys, there is an increased interest from WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) as they can augment their existing service much more cost-effectively by adding spectrum through CBRS PAL (Priority Access Licenses) or GAA (General Authorized Access Licenses) options.

Neutral Host Services, which have traditionally depended on expensive Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), are finding new cost and operational efficiencies with CBRS small cells. Historically, small cells were tied to an operator-specific licensed spectrum, precluding them from deployment in neutral host networks to support multi-carrier connectivity.

For enterprises, CBRS small cell-based private LTE and 5G networks will play a critical role in digital transformation, supporting industrial IoT initiatives where the reliability of Wi-Fi and public LTE connectivity are not suitable to support mission-critical applications that require high predictability in network performance. For enterprise CIOs, CBRS-based private LTE/5G business case is becoming stronger as the benefits of higher network quality, data privacy, IT autonomy, and lower capital and operational cost are very attractive.”

“While the excitement to ride the wave of the shared economy is spreading fast across the entire wireless community, it is still early days for CBRS,” Tamaskar said. “A lot of testing and planning is required across the industry to make CBRS deployments ready for prime time, but we are all seeing a dramatically rising level of interest, and part of what is fueling that is the OnGo Alliance community.”

CBSDs and Domain Proxy certification are getting expedited by the rollout of the OnGo Certification Test Tool by OnGo Alliance. This is an automated protocol conformance testing tool for confirming compliance with OnGo Release-1 specifications.

Radisys is a key contributor to the CBRS OnGo ecosystem and an active technology partner of the OnGo Alliance. Radisys has not only developed an LTE- specific version of the OnGo Test Harness for testing CBSDs in partnership with the OnGo Alliance but has also developed CBRS based 5G RAN software.

The OnGo version of the test tool includes all current test cases with the ability to add additional test cases from the impending availability of OnGo Release 2. These developments showcase Radisys’ continued thought leadership and the critical role it is poised to pursue in accelerating the CBRS market readiness.

Central to the success of the wireless transformation is the need for a software platform that enables the mobile carriers, equipment manufacturers, system integrators, and test and measurement solution providers to stay ahead of the curve in planning, designing, developing, and validating emerging wireless networks and services with new technologies like those enabling spectrum sharing,” Tamaskar said.

The overall CBRS market sentiment remains healthy, with cumulative 2020-2025 CBRS 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) investments expected to approach $500 million to $1 billion, according to the Dell’Oro Group.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Erik Linask

Special Correspondent

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