5G in the 3.5 GHz Band is Here

We have been talking about 5G for what seems forever, but it has only been a few years and happy to say we are finally moving forward.

We have been procrastinating about 5G and our next generation networks because of our dream of its potential to be a greater step forward than any of the previous mobile wireless generations. It truly is an exciting time in the Mobile Network Operator and Services Provider industries as we begin to transition towards a 5G world. Now with the 3.5GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service, 5G is now a reality.

What is 3.5GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service?

As part of former President Obama national initiative to develop and promote next generation of wireless networks (commonly referred to as “5G networks”), on April 17, 2015 , the Federal Communication Committee (FCC) adopted a Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (3.5 GHz Order) that established a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) for shared wireless broadband use of the 3550-3700 MHz band (3.5 GHz CBRS Band). Essentially this is the first unlicensed wireless spectrum to become available in US in the last decade, allowing growth of innovation in multiple fields.

The 3.5 GHz band is an innovation band. As a result of technological innovations and new focus on spectrum sharing, we can combine it with adjacent spectrum to create a 150 megahertz contiguous band previously unavailable for commercial uses. It provides an opportunity to try new innovations in spectrum licensing and access schemes to meet the needs of a multiplicity of users, simultaneously. And, crucially, we can do all of this in a way that does not harm important federal missions.”

Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman

Why is CBRS of so important?

Wireless connectivity has become increasingly important in our everyday life. It is widely used for work, play, and learn by everyone we know.
However, today the wireless communication faces several challenges:

  1. Cost of broadband spectrum is extremely high
  2. Rural Areas are underserved, preventing large portions of US population from fully taking advantage of all services and innovations.
  3. Emergency services are not available in many areas
  4. Rollout of 5G networks are hampered by inadequate spectrum

The new CBRS technology will create additional spectrum available for flexible wireless broadband use, leading to improved broadband access and performance for consumers. Additionally, I expect to see wide deployment of wireless broadband in industrial applications – advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare, etc. – supporting innovation and growth throughout our economy.

Several examples of benefits are:

  • Better Internet Access to users in urban and rural areas:
  • Cellular coverage in previously unserviceable locations (basements, office buildings, etc):
  • Private LTE networks:
  • Industrial IoT innovation:

Cisco and CBRS

Cisco AP1572 5G CBRS ready
  • Last year Cisco joined the CBRS alliance – the main industry body to ensure interoperability and shaping the future of this technology
  • We partnered with SpiderCloud Wireless, leader in the 3.5GHz CBRS industry, to develop 3.5GHz bolt-on modules for Cisco’s outdoor AP1572
  • Showcased the module at MWC Barcelona in February 2017 to selected customers and partners
  • Together with SpiderCloud Wireless participating in a large outdoor CBRS trial for a large telecommunication provider
  • Will showcase the bolt-on module and the upcoming Cisco LIVE Vegas

So if you are attending Cisco LIVE US this year be sure to stop by World of Solutions – Enterprise Network & Mobility booth

Additional Resources:


Jim O'Leary

Sr. Manager Mobile Solutions Marketing