November 6, 2019
Connectivity Wireless Solutions, as the name implies, is in the business of making broadband connectivity a reality for enterprises. We are primarily engaged in two distinct activities: DAS integration and neutral host ventures. Our DAS integration activity is going strong and we believe CBRS OnGo holds the key for a dramatic expansion of our neutral host business. With that backdrop, we embarked on deploying CBRS OnGo trials with the following incentives in mind:
- Familiarize the company with various OnGo aspects – technology, business opportunities, marketing, implementation options, vendor ecosystem, etc.
- Obtain firsthand experience with vendors in terms of their technology and services for future cooperation
- Vet and identify possible applications for the OnGo functionality through close interaction with end customers
- Gauge MNOs, MSOs, and venue owners’ level of interest in private LTE systems, capacity offload, roaming, etc.
- Learn about the cost components in deploying OnGo systems
Our strategy was as follows:
- Deploy multiple trials with multiple vendors, in multiple verticals, and in multiple geographical locations
- Discuss with venue owners beforehand to identify desired use cases
- Use local EPC as well as cloud EPC to compare pros and cons
CBRS OnGo Deployment in Times Square
Our first foray into the CBRS OnGo deployment was at Times Square in New York, a major tourist attraction site that is normally crowded with domestic and international tourists and at least once a year at New Year’s Eve it becomes the focal point of the whole world. Our OnGo system provides coverage to parts of the north side and south side of the bow-tie. This system is well suited for offload and roaming from MNOs and MSOs. In addition, we are actively speaking with the local businesses to tailor the system coverage to their specific use cases, stay tuned for a follow-up blog to describe some of these use cases.
Our partners in this deployment were Ruckus, Athonet, and Federated. The RAN portion of this system is composed of CBRS small cells from Ruckus. The form factor of the Ruckus small cells with integrated antennas are well suited for the Times Square environment where the RF nodes need to be compact and easily concealed.
The core is a local EPC from Athonet. The choice of local EPC was made to ensure roaming and offloading capability with MNOs and MSOs. The SAS functionality for this system is handled by Federated. We had an existing 20 MHz STA (temporary license) for the system which expired on November 1. Through help from our Federated partners, we acquired an ICD which allows us to operate beyond November.
I am very happy to say the Times Square OnGo network works great and with much fewer complications one would expect from a bleeding-edge system. This is mainly due to the outstanding support from all of our partners (Ruckus, Athonet, and Federated).
CBRS OnGo Deployment at Angel Stadium
Our second OnGo system was deployed at the Angel Stadium, home of the MLB Anaheim Angels, and the first OnGo system ever to be deployed in an MLB stadium. With the experience from the first deployment under our belt, the second deployment was a breeze. The system inauguration was planned such that it coincided with the MWC Americas 2019 being held in the L.A. convention center. The system was showcased for many MWC participants the night before MWC opening and it garnered a lot of well-deserved buzz during the MWC.
The Angel stadium, being a major sports facility and a distinct propagation environment, invites its own unique use cases that we will discuss in our next blog. Our partners in this deployment were JMA, Athonet, and Federated. The RAN portion of this system is using JMA X-RAN and CBRS enabled Cell-Hubs. The higher power of the Cell-Hubs and the external antennas connected to them allows us to tailor the coverage.
The coverage containment is particularly important in a dense traffic environment such as a stadium and we feel the current setup allows us to do just that. The core is an Athonet edge node connected to the Athonet cloud EPC. This is a particularly powerful solution for neutral host companies such as Connectivity Wireless because it concentrates the core activities of multiple networks across the country to a single location on the cloud and thereby making the core very easy to manage, maintain and upgrade. The SAS function for this system is also handled by Federated. We had an existing ICD but due to “Move List” issues, we found it to be easier to apply for a 20 MHz STA, through our partners at JMA, and move to ICD commercial SAS when the Federated ESCs are deployed in the west coast.
Our Angel stadium CBRS OnGo system works great and it has exceptional performance. A big thanks goes to our partners (JMA, Athonet, and Federated) who greatly and constantly supported us through the deployment process.
The Future of CBRS OnGo
With the two deployments in the proverbial bag, our focus now is on finding transformational use cases for our customers and discovering new ways we can unleash the promise of OnGo. My promise to you is to keep you abreast of our exciting journey along the path of Private LTE and CBRS OnGo targeted vertical applications and improvement of customer connectivity experience. Our mission is to turn the possibilities of CBRS OnGo into reality across the country.