Next release of CBRS specs will support 5G

Just as OnGo-branded commercial services are preparing for takeoff, the CBRS Alliance announced that it’s starting work on a new release to support CBRS over 5G.

The organization said that Release 3 will address support for 5G deployments using shared spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, complementing the 5G New Radio (5G NR) air interface developed by the 3GPP to support a variety of 5G services, devices and deployments. (It’s worth noting that many of the contributors to the specs are affiliated with both the 3GPP and CBRS Alliance.)

The alliance actually started doing a call for 5G contributions a little while back, so the work is not in its infancy, but the 5G work is going to take a while to complete, according to Chris Stark, chairman of the CBRS Alliance.

“It’s really about trying to make sure that people understand we’re creating a path for CBRS in 5G,” as well as being able to use it now in LTE, he told FierceWirelessTech.

The alliance points out that globally, industry and government are focusing on 3.5 GHz as the primary mid-band spectrum for 5G, with testing taking in place in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia.

The situation is different in the U.S., where the Department of Defense, specifically the Navy, are incumbents in the 3.5 GHz band. The DoD was willing to play ball and agree to a rather novel sharing system that’s being set up, so when the Navy doesn’t need the spectrum, it can be used by others. Plus, for much of the country, the Navy’s use of the spectrum isn’t an issue as the designated protection areas for incumbents are primarily along the nation’s coastlines.

The CBRS specifications in development for 5G include addressing coexistence requirements to ensure seamless interoperability between LTE and 5G NR in and out of Band 48, certificate-based authentication and more.

The CBRS Alliance anticipates concluding work on Release 3 in the fourth quarter, enabling OnGo 5G service availability in 2020.

“The shared spectrum paradigm presented by CBRS has immense potential to unlock value for carriers, equipment manufacturers and end users alike because of the new business models that become possible,” said Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts, in a press release. “By expanding the standards and capabilities to support 5G applications, we expect enterprises with short latency requirements and long time horizons to increase their investments in CBRS and technologies such as OnGo.”

RELATED: CBRS Alliance, Small Cell Forum collaborate to advance CBRS band

Although there were expectations for CBRS to go commercial by the end of last year or early 2019, that didn’t happen and the current thinking is commercial deployments for OnGo could occur as early as the second quarter of this year.