Celona goes global, offering 5G private wireless in 2 more spectrum bands

Celona has created a portfolio of 5G private wireless solutions that cover mid-band spectrum for different parts of the world.

The company cut its teeth in the U.S., offering private wireless technology for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum in band n48. But now, it is moving beyond CBRS to offer support for bands n77 and n78 for private mobile networks in the U.K., Europe, Japan and Korea. And it’s planning to support band n79 later in the year.

“If you look at the private wireless market it is consolidating through these 3.3 GHz to 3.9 GHz bands,” said Celona CEO Rajeev Shah. By the end of February, Celona will have separate SKUs for CBRS, band 77 and band 78 for both indoor and outdoor. The company will offer about 15 hardware products in total to support these bands. It makes many of its products at factories in Taiwan and Vietnam.

4G vs 5G

While Celona’s private wireless installations in the U.S. so far have used 4G technology, its new product line introduces 5G NR.

Puneet Shetty, Celona’s VP of product management, said the U.S. has been very 4G-focused to date for private wireless. Celona plans to work carefully with these customers to introduce 5G via a “seamless transition path,” offering access points that will have both a 4G radio and a 5G radio in one box. And Celona will offer a converged core with both 4G and 5G, as well.

“We want to give our customers the choice of when they want to transition,” said Shetty. “The multi-mode access point can operate in either 4G or 5G along with converged core. We believe this is unique in the market.”

Outside of the U.S., Celona is going straight for 5G private wireless technology. “This issue in the U.S. — with 4G and the transition path — is not really necessary for the international market,” said Shetty. “We’re launching a 5G-only product portfolio.

The analysts at ABI Research claim 5G private wireless is being held back by the availability of next-gen chips, especially chips for all the myriad end-user devices that might be used in a private wireless setting.

Shetty said, “Devices are critical to our success, and we want to make sure we give our customers an open-device ecosystem. We’ve been doing this for 4G – been certifying devices from different vendors as they launch with our network.”

He said the most common end-user device is a ruggedized Android handheld. Of the manufacturers that Celona works with for end-user devices, Zebra is the most dominant.

“Zebra released a whole suite of products that support both 4G and 5G across all bands we talked about,” said Shetty.

Apple devices, including handhelds and tablets, are also popular in private wireless settings. And Sierra devices are popular for IoT.