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April 12

Take Note, You're Going to Be Hearing a Lot About CBRS

Every once in a while, a new technology comes along that is so exciting that no one is really quite sure what it’s going to do yet or what they will get out of it.

Take the advent of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, for example. Although both technologies operate on the same frequencies and have much in common, the underlying technology evolved in very different ways to achieve specific goals. Today, both technologies are easily recognizable. Wi-Fi is the standard we use to connect our laptops and cell phones to the internet (provided there is an access point with capacity nearby). Bluetooth, on the other hand, is used to pair to peripheral devices like mice and headphones.

In the early days of both technologies, no one was really sure how either would shape up.

Now we’re witnessing the dawn of new wireless standards like Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and unlicensed LTE (LTE-U). Typically, these services operate in a higher frequency than traditional wireless services, which means two things – faster data due to more available bandwidth, but at the cost of decreased coverage range.

The business cases for CBRS and LTE-U fall in line with the benefits promised by technologies like the Internet of Things and data-driven business. With these higher frequencies in unlicensed bands, businesses are free to take advantage of high bandwidth and low response time on private networks, provided they have the proper equipment. They also provide an opportunity for business to build their own, private, LTE networks, with all the benefits LTE provides over WiFi.

One might say that sounds a lot like Wi-Fi, but there are some important differences. For one, the speeds these networks will offer have the potential to exceed even the fastest Wi-Fi systems available today. More importantly, however, will be the quality of service and reliability of the system. For business and industrial applications, where the operation of businesses will be highly dependent on reliable connectivity layers, Wi-Fi simply doesn’t cut it. LTE networks are also advantageous from the security and mobility perspectives.

An LTE solution is more sophisticated than Wi-Fi, with the ability to broadcast an improved signal, thereby improving the wireless connectivity within the environment.

Of course, low frequency communications and licensed spectrum LTE networks will continue to be an essential component of a company’s wireless solution, too. Low frequency signals travel much further and penetrate much deeper than higher frequency signals, thus, the reason cellular network operators have invested heavily in staking claims to low frequency spectrum across the country.

For this reason, it only makes sense to invest in wireless solutions that are capable of covering the widest possible slice of the spectrum. Zinwave’s patented wideband distributed antenna system (DAS) is the only system capable of managing connections on all common carrier frequencies, public safety frequencies AND higher frequencies where technologies like CBRS and LTE-U will come into play.

Again, it is unknown at this point where CBRS will take us, but we are certain that high frequency communications will drive the next big step in wireless networking. Will it replace corporate Wi-Fi? Will cellular and broadband connections merge under the same service? What role will network operators and building owners play in rolling out these new technologies?

No one can say for sure, but Zinwave is committed to making sure its customers are secure both in the current wireless landscape and in the next. That’s why we’re members of organizations such as the CBRS Alliance, an industry group advocating for the standardization of high-frequency technologies to help usher the enterprise into the next wireless age.

And on that front, Zinwave DAS customers already have their foot in the door.

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