Samsung’s CBRS Massive MIMO solution enables operators to offer cost-effective broadband services to more people


By Sanjay Kodali, Head of Customer Technology Solutions, Networks Division, Samsung Electronics America

With wireless internet access playing a crucial role in maintaining productivity, interactions and economic activity, it is critical to ensure high-quality, reliable connectivity in under-served and rural communities. While certain towns may be harder to reach – due to topography, geography or access challenges – the need to access faster download speeds and greater capacity in these rural areas remains high. This is especially important today, as working- and educating-from-home has become the norm, and internet voice and video demands rise.

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) offers a solution for these communities. After launching late last year, with Samsung CBRS solutions in use across multiple rural U.S. markets, the company has expanded the commercial availability of its CBRS solutions to all mobile operators.

“Samsung’s CBRS solutions in the mid-band 3.5GHz spectrum are now providing operators with a fixed wireless access approach for rural areas to deliver service from a cell site to otherwise hard-to-reach homes and businesses. “

CBRS offers an efficient way to deploy high-quality wireless access. Operators found that by leveraging their existing cellular sites, new radios can be added to deliver wireless internet services, offering a more cost-effective approach than cable or fiber-based solutions, which can be more time-consuming and costly (due to factors such as right-of-way access and trenching requirements).  With Samsung’s CBRS massive MIMO radio, operators now have a more efficient way to deliver fixed wireless access to underserved communities. AT&T was the first mobile operator to announce it would expand access to broadband connectivity in rural markets using Samsung’s CBRS solution.

In July of 2019, Samsung delivered its first Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-certified 5G-ready CBRS massive MIMO solution, capable of delivering fixed wireless access internet service to rural and suburban areas. Based on the 3GPP Release 15 standard, the solution will initially deliver multi-carrier LTE, with a software upgrade path to 5G New Radio (NR). Using Samsung’s beamforming massive MIMO antenna technology, the CBRS solution can deliver broadband service to many households and businesses using a single radio.

Greater Flexibility, Cost-Efficiency

Samsung’s CBRS solution helps improve flexibility and reduce hardware investments for operators deploying CBRS networks by leveraging the maximum Instantaneous Bandwidth (IBW) and Occupied Bandwidth (OBW) specifications.

Specifically, Samsung’s 64T64R CBRS Massive MIMO radio, now commercially available, can operate over the entire CBRS spectrum with an IBW of 150MHz. The massive MIMO unit can simultaneously transmit up to 100MHz of OBW, with a combination of 10 and 20MHz carriers (or spectrum bandwidth) across the entire CBRS Band.

Samsung's CBRS network solutions bring broadband service and enhanced coverage to underserved rural areas. Solution featured (in photo): Samsung's 5G-ready CBRS massive MIMO radio

Samsung’s CBRS network solutions bring broadband service and enhanced coverage to underserved rural areas. The solution featured (in photo): Samsung’s 5G-ready CBRS massive MIMO radio

Through use of IBW and OBW, Samsung’s 64T64R solution maximizes cell capacity and coverage to help operators reach more homes and businesses, while improving service levels. And for operators seeking to deploy CBRS to reduce mobile cellular coverage gaps or enhancing capacity, massive MIMO offers a cost-efficient solution.

C-Band Expertise and Solution Flexibility

As 5G deployments continue, another mid-band spectrum’s availability—C-Band—will be critical in the U.S. With the FCC scheduled to auction 280MHz in the C-Band in December 2020, and commercial use expected to start as early as 2021, Samsung is prepared for this next phase. Samsung is already innovating in this area, including built-in flexibility to drive commercial mid-band solutions and develop new products supporting C-Band (3.7-3.98GHz).

Samsung’s experience in commercially deploying tens of thousands of mid-band Massive MIMO radios in Korea offers U.S. operators a proven source of C-Band-based solutions in action.  We look forward to continuing to lead in this space, and in mid-band’s evolution, to help US operators use this technology in upcoming trials and commercialization.

For more information regarding Samsung’s fixed wireless access solutions, click here.

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