Motorola's Nitro features the first purpose-built CBRS radio

This week, Motorola launched MOTOTRBO Nitro, an enterprise voice and private broadband data managed service that the company says offers customers better indoor coverage for voice and data, capable of delivering twice the capacity and up to four times the range compared to Wi-Fi.

The private broadband land mobile radio (LMR) solution uses CBRS spectrum to provide customized private networks that deliver both voice and broadband. It combines Motorola’s MOTOTRBO push-to-talk functionality for business-critical voice communications with a private LTE network for data.

“Motorola Solutions' Nitro offer provides a distinct departure from classical approaches toward private mobile radio deployments,” Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst of critical communications at IHS Markit Technology, said in a news release. “The approach should deliver increased voice and data functionality with a compelling total cost of ownership.”

Motorola installs and manages the Nitro network for its enterprise customers. Customers lease the network equipment and are able to control the network using a cloud-based portal.

“Being a managed service, customers can start out with a small investment and grow their system over time,” John Zidar, corporate VP of North America commercial, channel & carrier at Motorola Solutions, told FierceWireless. “There is no large upfront purchase of an LTE core required.”

Last year, the FCC modified its rules governing the CBRS 3.5 GHz band to enable county-level licenses. Under the new framework, entities can receive priority access licenses and general authorized access licenses to be used for small-area broadband networks. Motorola’s Nitro platform can use licensed or unlicensed spectrum in the CBRS bands for the platform. The Nitro platform is the first of what’s expected to be a slew of commercial use cases for the CBRS spectrum.

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“CBRS spectrum is the first broadband spectrum that is widely available to the enterprise,” Zidar said. Motorola Solutions is using Federated Wireless’s spectrum access system. The company expects enterprise customers in sectors such as hospitality, mining and manufacturing to use the system to run Industrial IoT and other voice and data applications.

To that end, Motorola has built the world’s first purpose-built radio for CBRS, called the SLN 1000 Portable Two-way Radio, to be used on the network. The new device follows MOTOTRBO’s form factor for LMR devices and requires a SIM card to operate.

But customers can use their own devices, too. “Any device that supports Band 48 can be used on Nitro,” Zidar said. There is a growing field of enterprise devices and consumer devices, including Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Google Pixel 3, that offer Band 48 support.

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The Nitro platform can also be linked to existing customers’ digital mobile radio-based MOTOTRBO system, which Motorola Solutions has offered to enterprise customers for years. TRBO systems can interoperate with the Nitro platform, carrying voice and data applications.