Google, Federated Wireless, others apply to fill role of SAS, ESC for 3.5 GHz

As expected, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Federated Wireless threw their hats into the FCC's Spectrum Access System (SAS) ring, joining several other entities in the aim to provide spectrum sharing capabilities for the 3.5 GHz band.

The Wireless Innovation Forum (WinnForum) congratulated seven of its member organizations for filing SAS Administrator and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) Operator applications with the FCC this week. Besides Google and Federated, WinnForum member organizations filing with the FCC as candidate SAS administrators include: Amdocs, Comsearch, CTIA, Keybridge and Sony. Comsearch, CTIA, Federated Wireless, Google, and Keybridge also filed as candidate ESC Operators.  

In addition, iPosi, which describes itself as a technology company that is developing reference designs to embed into small cells/Wi-Fi access points to provide them with location, sync and RF loss profiling capabilities deep indoors, also submitted a proposal for providing the ESC services. It is not listed as a WinnForum member, however.

As WinnForum describes it, SASs will serve as advanced, highly automated frequency coordinators across the band, protecting higher tier users from harmful interference from lower tier users and optimizing frequency use to facilitate coexistence among all users in the band. The ESCs will consist of networks of sensors that will detect the presence of signals from federal systems in the band and communicate that information to one or more SASs to facilitate protection of federal operations in the band.

Over the coming months, the FCC's Wireless Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology will review the SAS and ESC applications. "Applications that we believe meet the requisite qualifications and demonstrate an ability to comply with our rules will be conditionally approved; we will then test the conditionally approved systems," said Jon Wilkins, chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Julius Knapp, chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, in a blog post. "We will coordinate with our counterparts at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Defense to help ensure the proposed systems protect incumbent federal operations consistent with our rules. We intend to conduct this review in a very deliberate, timely, and thorough manner."

They also said that in February 2016, an impressive group of companies – Federated Wireless, Google, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless – committed to jointly develop and promote solutions to using the new Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS), as the FCC dubbed them. The WinnForum has led the development of broad-based standards for SAS and ESC operators.

For its part, Google said in its application that it has been trialing a prototype SAS for nearly two years, with the algorithms evolving as FCC rules are issued and standards are created. Over that period of time, Google has demonstrated its SAS prototype to industry and government – including major wireless carriers, FCC staff and NTIA -- and at public events. Google also will be experimenting with early SAS operations during a trial of SAS and Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device (CBSD) functionality in Kansas City, Kansas, beginning in June 2016.

For more:
- see this WinnForum press release
- see this FCC blog

Related articles:
CTIA wants to oversee spectrum sharing in the 3.5 GHz band
Google seeks clarification on SAS rules for 3.5 GHz band
Federated Wireless marks milestone in spectrum sharing platform
NASCTN launches first spectrum-sharing project with Federated Wireless
Startup Federated Wireless working on spectrum sharing scheme for 3.5 GHz