SpiderCloud to deliver a dual mode CBRS-band small cell

SpiderCloud wants to give operators a play in 3.5GHz CBRS band with a dual mode small cell. Says will shift needle on device support for CBRS.

SpiderCloud has said it will introduce a new 3.5GHz variant of its indoor radio node that supports what is known in the US as CBRS band. It will introduce a dual mode LTE/ 3.5GHz product based on the same Qualcomm chipset that the vendor has based its LTE-U/LAA capable products on. The product will be available commercially in the second half of 2017, it said, with trials planned for early 2017. 

Art King, Director of Enterprise Services,  said that adding the channel to the SpiderCloud radio gives licensed spectrum operators a way to play in the CBRS band – where the US will allow dynamic sharing of spectrum between different services – as and when device availability becomes widespread and enterprises start to make use of the spectrum band.

“Operators can get CBRS RAN into place as part of a generic LTE deployment and move into production over time as mobiles become enabled,” he told TMN. Products will probably have Band 4 support, and then a band dedicated to CBRS frequency, King said. This provides a “fork in the road” in getting CBRS to market. “You can add it onto a WiFi access point (as Ruckus Wireless is doing – TMN) and ship direct to enterprises, or you can add it to a cellular band within a small cell and drive operator commitments to CBRS.”

It is that operator support for the band will be crucial in convincing device manufacturers to include CBRS support within devices, King claimed. Enterprises alone will not be able to shift companies like Apple to provide chip support, he said.

The capability could also change the market for neutral host operators, King said. A tower owner or similar could provide the LTE small cells for a dedicated licensed spectrum operator and then at a later date turn on CBRS support to enable a multi-operator model.

“It enables business owners and operators to make investments in CBRS with a lot less risk,” King concluded.

SpiderCloud has been able to add the 3.5GHz band support in the same manner it supported unlicensed bands for LTE-U and LAA, the company said, because of its experience developing unlicensed band support on the Qualcomm FSM chipset. It has also completed interoperability trials with Federated Wireless, the company that operates SAS – a cloud-based shared spectrum management system.