Data Center

What CBRS Can Bring to Our Increasingly Connected World

Steve Carroll

The business and personal applications on our wireless devices are consuming more data. Mobile data consumption is expected to increase by 40% in the next year alone. Our businesses and personal lives are more reliant on these types of applications than ever before.


Organizations are looking to wireless data to solve problems and increase efficiencies while advancing their technical capabilities in a fast-moving, competitive landscape. As a result, we have come to expect expansive wireless coverage at our offices, homes, recreational facilities and public venues, but that’s not always simple or easy to achieve.


Network capacity, spectrum and infrastructure availability are some of the factors that can challenge this seamless connectivity we have come to rely on—but CBRS may help alleviate some of these challenges. By adding a wide band of spectrum not previously available to businesses and the general public, CBRS will enable another option for in-building wireless coverage.


Let’s learn more about this service …

What is CBRS—Really?

CBRS—also known as OnGo™ or a private LTE—is a way to enhance in-building cellular communication through the use of a private network. It makes licensed, shared, carrier-grade spectrum available, operating in the 3.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz band of the LTE spectrum.


When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to release this spectrum for private use a few years ago, it supported communications for the U.S. Navy—but there was lots of extra spectrum available to support next-generation wireless usage and alleviate increasing demands as well.


To accommodate additional uses, the FCC separated the spectrum into three categories that don’t overlap:

  1. Incumbent: Reserved for the U.S. Navy, commercial fixed satellite stations and other original users.
  2. Priority Access License (PAL): Licensed on a county basis through an FCC auction, the winning bidders were telecommunications, cable and broadband operators, as well as some utilities.
  3. General Authorized Access (GAA): Licensed spectrum for enterprises and other users.

The GAA category opens up new opportunities for owners and operators who, in the past, didn’t have the millions of dollars (or more) lying around to purchase an FCC license. Commercial real estate owners can now access carrier-grade cellular frequencies without needing an FCC license to create their own wireless networks.



All signs point to people using more high-bandwidth applications. In large buildings, where dozens or hundreds of people (or more) could be accessing technology like videoconferencing, streaming music or accessing cloud applications at the same time, CBRS can help ensure that users don’t struggle with lost connections or delays that occur when a Wi-Fi system reaches its connection limit.


What Are the Advantages of CBRS?

First, CBRS gives owners complete control over their networks. They no longer have to rely on an outside party to provide complete coverage inside their facilities.


It also offers excellent wireless performance, with plenty of capacity and low latency for minimal delays, uninterrupted operation and smooth connection handoffs for users and devices moving through a building. The result: predictable, dependable coverage for services and applications.


In terms of security, LTE offers inherent protection. Devices have unique network identifiers and are properly authenticated, giving administrators tight control over who and what can use the network.


Where is CBRS Being Used?

You’ll find CBRS in a variety of expansive institutional and commercial real estate environments to support private networks, relieve Wi-Fi network congestion, enable IoT and provide in-building cellular connectivity.


These venues could include offices and campuses, hospitals, high-rises, stadiums, factories and warehouses.


CBRS can facilitate connectivity in many ways:

  • Provide reliable quality for data transfer and collaboration among medical devices and clinical staff
  • Deliver dependable uptime for real-time data tracking and push-to-talk voice on mobile devices
  • Offer wireless connections to support autonomous vehicles and robots
  • Ensure security and connectivity for smart building systems and IoT devices
  • Provide outdoor wireless backhaul for security and life safety systems
  • Support wireless connectivity for ticketing, POS devices, security and back-of-house operations in sports and entertainment venues

What Type of Cabling Infrastructure Supports CBRS?

As with any technology application, the functionality and connectivity of CBRS comes down to the wired infrastructure that supports it: your layer 0 (cabling and connectivity).


That’s where Belden shines. We’re at the forefront of emerging technology like CBRS—and we have been for more than a century. Our innovations are designed to support these vital services and technology. And our expert team is committed to developing next-generation networking, connectivity and cybersecurity solutions to meet the demands that shape our increasingly connected world. As bandwidth continues to grow, we can support whatever comes next—including CBRS.


For example, Belden’s DCX Optical Distribution Frame (not available in the USA) manages high-density fiber and growing numbers of connections without compromising on ease of use. It supports nearly unlimited numbers of fiber connections for unrestricted growth. In fact, it offers the highest density available in the marketplace: 55% higher than other systems if you compare the number of terminations per square foot (4,608 fiber terminations in three square feet).


We also created the market’s first Digital Electricity™ (DE) Cable, which is designed to safely and reliably provide lots of power over long distances. The technology that makes up Belden’s Digital Electricity Cables is supplied by VoltServer (the manufacturer that patented this new technology). The cables are available in copper and copper/fiber hybrid versions.


As the years goes on, you’re going to hear more about CBRS; as you do, you can always come to Belden to learn more. We’ve built an entire ecosystem of integrators, engineers and other providers who can support CBRS technology. Questions? Let us know!


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