Nokia, Key Bridge Wireless forge partnership to deliver enterprise CBRS

Comms tech provider and automated frequency coordination and spectrum administration solutions firm team to introduce integrated citizens broadband radio service offering for comms service providers, multiple-system operators and enterprise private wireless networks

Citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) is one of the faster-growing communications sectors at present and to tap into what could be a hugely lucrative market, Nokia has established a technical partnership with Key Bridge Wireless aimed at enabling communications service providers (CSPs), multiple-system operators (MSOs) and enterprises to take full advantage of their investment in CBRS spectrum.

CBRS is said to present a huge opportunity for CSPs, MSOs and enterprises for deployment of private wireless networks and to build the platform for new use cases that drive Industry 4.0 implementation. A recent Dell’Oro Group CBRS RAN five-year forecast report predicted the overall CBRS market – LTE plus 5G NR (New Radio) – would grow at a rapid pace between 2020 and 2025, with cumulative RAN investments projected to approach or surpass $2bn.

In October 2020, AT&T and Nokia announced that they would jointly market private networks through AT&T on CBRS spectrum and Nokia infrastructure. Nokia said the deal would mean businesses across the US could build private networks through AT&T using CBRS spectrum and its infrastructure. AT&T will offer Nokia Digital Automation Cloud and Modular Private Wireless platforms.

Designed to accelerate CBRS private wireless deployment, the new solution is designed to enable CSPs, MSOs and enterprises to deploy reliable CBRS networks quickly and easily, and complements Nokia’s portfolio of FCC-certified CBRS radio and devices, and adds to its range of 4.9G/LTE and 5G private wireless networking solutions.

The solution consists of Key Bridge Wireless FCC-certified Wave 1 SAS/ESC coupled with Nokia CBRS radios, user devices and new Domain Proxy. The Nokia and Key Bridge Wireless partnership, incorporating shared spectrum technologies from Nokia Bell Labs, provides the highly reliable SAS service required to operate in CBRS General Authorised Access (GAA) and Priority Access License (PAL) spectrum.

The Nokia Domain Proxy’s capabilities are implemented as scalable edge cloud-native microservices, which aggregate multiple radio links to simplify SAS connectivity in large deployments. Simultaneously, they are attributed with providing an extra level of CBRS reliability, policy control and security in even the most challenging environments.

The integrated Key Bridge Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) in the solution can be selectively densified in areas with high-value industrial sites and enterprises to enable CBRS spectrum availability information. Combined with distributed, geo-redundant SAS and Domain Proxy, this enables enterprises to operate radio access networks in CBRS spectrum, especially high-value PAL spectrum.

“Together with Key Bridge, this new offering gives PAL and GAA users a new standard in ease of use,” said Stephan Litjens, vice-president of enterprise solutions at Nokia Cloud and Network Services. “Its unparalleled robustness will extend and accelerate their CBRS plans and maximise the value of their investment.”

Jesse Caulfield, CEO of Key Bridge Wireless, added: “Our partnership with Nokia has produced an integrated CBRS solution unlike any other. Our SAS/ESC infrastructure is designed, deployed and operated to ensure carrier-grade reliability at tremendous scale. Through extensive testing, field trials and now active commercial deployments, we provide a robust and easy-to-use service for CBRS network operators.”

The Nokia CBRS SAS offering, together with Key Bridge, is said to fulfil all FCC rules governing the use of shared CBRS spectrum and is available immediately.

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