Federated Wireless Simplifies CBRS For WISPs


In an effort to increase spectral efficiency and ensure there’s enough available spectrum to support the rapid growth of wireless data, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made available the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz radio band for nationwide spectrum sharing in early 2020.

This means that 150 MHz of brand-new spectrum is now available to the wireless industry to meet the growing demand for more airwaves for 4G/LTE and new 5G wireless communications technologies.

To ensure full use of the CBRS 3.5 GHz spectrum band, the FCC is mandating that Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) upgrade their equipment to operate in Part 96 and have set a deadline of October 17, 2020 for this transition. The good news is that operation under Part 96 provides access to 100 MHz more spectrum than Part 90 – spectrum that can be used to resolve existing congestion in some areas. To better understand how to migrate to Part 90, download the Federated Wireless migration paper.

The FCC Part 96 rules require a Spectrum Access System (SAS) to authorize and manage the use of CBRS spectrum. The SAS protects higher tier operations from interference and maximizes frequency capacity for all CBRS operators.

As part of this same mandate, Category A and B CBRS devices and existing wireless broadband services in the 3650-3700 MHz must provide accurate geolocation and be installed by a certified professional to ensure their location is properly registered with the SAS.

As a SAS provider, Federated Wireless can help WISPs meet this fast approaching October deadline in several ways. They’ve made it easy for you to sign up for their low cost service with just a few clicks.

They have an online support portal and community to answer all your planning and installation questions. And they have an online training course that provides you with all the information and documentation needed to become a Certified Professional Installer in accordance with the FCC rules. The modular program takes less than a day to complete, resulting in a certificate that can be used for any CBRS installation, on any SAS, with any CBSD device. The certification is valid for five years. And now through October, you can take the course for free and pay for the training when it best fits your budget.

“We are trying to make it easier for Wireless Internet Service Providers to install CBRS with certified installers before the deadline,” said Bob Ewald, Senior Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Federated Wireless. “Our training class is a six-hour course with an exam at the end. It’s online and on-demand, so installers can do it in their down time without impacting their day-to-day business.”

Installers can retake the certification test if needed to become certified. Once the course is completed, installers receive a certification number which then allows them to log installations. “There’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to be moved over to Part 96 by certified professional installers,” added Bob Ewald. “Judging from the size of the market, there’s a lot left to migrate by October 17 of this year— we expect the ramp will be pretty steep.”  

CBRS a boon to rural Internet connectivity 

“CBRS gives us more options in solving the rural access problem,” said Ewald. “We are trying to make it easier for WISPs to sign up for our service and to get more installers certified so we are offering a promotion where installers can take the training now and pay for it later, up until December 31, 2020. We are going to need a lot of installers so let’s get them trained!”

With the pandemic creating an even greater need for internet access across all households, the greater availability of wireless spectrum is coming at a good time. “We take our internet connection for granted. It’s when we don’t have one that we understand the true value of it,” added Ewald. “Rural connectivity has been a real issue, especially now thinking about students having to do remote learning, and for remote workers as well.”

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on that great need and has refocused for everyone how important internet connections are for everyone.

“CBRS is positioned really well to provide wireless internet service. What makes CBRS such a good fit is that the spectrum is free— you don’t have to pay for General Authorized Access, so one of the biggest costs is removed,” said Ewald. “Then you have that opportunity to leverage that spectrum for customers who don’t have internet access with higher throughput speeds.”

The General Authorized Access (GAA) tier is licensed-by-rule to permit open, flexible access to the band for the widest possible group of potential users. GAA users can operate throughout the 3550-3700 MHz band but must not cause interference to Incumbent users or Priority Access Licensees. The SAS dynamically manages this prioritization, so all users have access to the spectrum when they need it.

Founded in 2012, Federated Wireless has long led the industry in development of shared spectrum CBRS capabilities. “We are the only company making this offer today for delaying the cost of Certified Professional Installer courses,” added Ewald. “Our goal is to remove all friction from CBRS deployments so that this band can be used to its fullest potential.”

To learn more about Federated Wireless visit https://federatedwireless.com.


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