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LTE carrier aggregation comes to the 3.5GHz ‘citizens’ band in the US

Three amigos

© Flickr/cc-licence/Lauren

  • Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm collaborate on shared spectrum
  • US Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared spectrum test
  • First end-to-end Band 48 CBRS carrier aggregation demo
  • Utilised 2 x 20MHz LTE carriers from Verizon in lab conditions

There have been so many joint press releases lately from Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm that they really should get a room and stop annoying the rest of us with their public shows of affection… The latest news from the three amigos concerns the so-called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the US in the 3.5GHz spectrum band. The CBRS band is made up of 150MHz of 3.5GHz shared spectrum that is being reallocated by the FCC for use with small cells. Verizon and its vendor ‘friends with benefits’ Ericsson and Qualcomm have announced the first use of CBRS band 48 spectrum in an LTE Advanced carrier aggregation demonstration.

Working with Federated Wireless, who provided the spectrum access system and controller to dynamically prioritise traffic within the FCC's spectrum sharing framework for the band, the test used 2 x 20MHz LTE carriers and employed 256 QAM modulation in the downlink. No quantifiable results have been disclosed, unfortunately.

The demo took place inside Ericsson’s lab in Plano, Texas with the network vendor providing the band 48 Radio Dot System and domain proxy for communication with federated spectrum access system. Qualcomm provided its Snapdragon LTE modem test device and Verizon provided the spectrum. “The use of CBRS spectrum greatly advances our work in emerging spectrum bands, which will lead to greater capacity and speed for our customers," said Nicola Palmer, Wireless Chief Network Officer for Verizon.

"By leveraging CBRS spectrum enabling additional LTE carrier aggregation, we continue to lead the way to meet customers speed and capacity demands,” said Nishant Batra, VP and Head of Product Area Network Infrastructure at Ericsson. “We plan to introduce a full portfolio of Ericsson Radio System for CBRS band across macro, micro and in-building segments, starting with the Radio Dot, to serve our customers' needs holistically."

“The use of LTE Advanced with carrier aggregation will help enable the use of new CBRS shared spectrum to offer higher network capacity, and ultimately, higher speed to users than currently available,” added Joe Glynn, VP of Business Development at Qualcomm Technologies. An equally optimistic note was struck by Iyad Tarazi, CEO of Federated Wireless, who concluded that: “the CBRS ecosystem has truly reached full commercial viability.”

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