CBRS Deep Dive with Steve Martin

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I am so into CBRS, so when I had an opportunity to interview the CTO of Ruckus, Steve Martin, I jumped at it. I was lucky enough to learn even more about CBRS with this deep dive of knowledge from someone who has been working on it. Ruckus has developed devices that perform in the CBRS bands. I am a fan of Ruckus who is a provider of carrier class Wi-Fi systems, an OEM. When I heard they were planning to get into the CBRS game, I got excited and knew that I had to talk to them. Steve was nice enough to accept and go over how amazing the CBRS is. He is going give an overview of the CBRS part of the wireless eco system.

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Steve answers so many questions about CBRS. Ruckus has been actively pushing for CBRS to become the next wave of wireless deployments for the carriers, enterprise, and private LTE solutions. So much so they helped form the CBRS Alliance.

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Ruckus has done an amazing job deploying carrier grade Wi-Fi, outside and inside. They have complete systems to manage and provide Wi-Fi solutions such as controllers, switches, indoor radios, and outdoor radios. They have been suppliers for enterprise, carrier, and WISP customers. They are a high performance yet easy to deploy wireless OEM. They are cost-cost effective but innovative. They realized that Wi-Fi could not provide all the solutions, so they entered the realm of LTE in the CBRS band, getting me excited about Ruckus Wireless. They are providing new solutions, very innovative.

As everyone knows, I am excited about the CBRS spectrum opening because it’s available to more than just the carriers. It allows small and midsize businesses to build private LTE networks. Something that has been near impossible to do before. So now the carriers can handoff to an independent small cell. An independent small cell can host any carrier. It can be carrier neutral and host multiple carriers. How cool is that? We finally have a solution for the places where carriers won’t invest.

What about other use cases for factories and enterprise customers that want broadband and IOT applications on a dedicated LTE system? Problem solved!

Ruckus was one of the founding members of the CBRS Alliance. The CBRS Alliance has grown from the original 6 to over 60 members.

Here are some questions I wanted to be answered.

  • How will the CBRS spectrum assignment work? (Licensing and spectrum assignment)
    • Spectrum assignment will be like how a DHCP server grants and assigns an IP address. In this case, the radio will boot up and send a request to a server which assigns spectrum. Then the Spectrum Allocation Server, (SAS), allocates the bandwidth and spectrum for that specific location and radio. Steve explains more in the interview.
    • You talk to an SAS vendor, like Federated Wireless or maybe Google, and they will set you up with a subscription. You would pay a monthly subscription to the SAS to make sure that the spectrum is assigned to you, so you’re
  • What are the spectrum usage tiers of the CBRS?
    • The incumbents have been using for fixed satellite services and military radar.
    • Now it’s going to be used for LTE coverage.
      • GAA – Generally Authorized Access – lightly licensed and open to all.
      • PAL – Priority Access License which is exclusive usage for that section of It’s the licensed part of the band with a guarantee of that spectrum.
    • Can CBRS be used outdoors?
      • Yes, it can be utilized Just make sure that you have approval from SAS for the power level and the channel, which will most likely be the carriers.
      • You can build a 50W base station if needed. Not everywhere, but in designated areas. That is a macro site in my eyes.
    • Can CBRS provide coverage for companies outside of the carrier space?
      • Yes, anyone can apply for spectrum and deploy.
    • How will it help the enterprise user?
      • Now the enterprise can go beyond Wi-Fi and have a clean LTE system to work with that is dedicated spectrum for their service.
    • Private LTE systems?
      • Industrial IOT systems for IOT.
      • Fixed wireless applications.
      • Enterprise solutions for a dedicated wireless system that can handoff.
      • Rural broadband solutions. (A different use case altogether.)
      • Private broadband LTE solutions for anything you can imagine.5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels
      • Anything that you thought of now can be done for more than just the carriers. Get creative here! If you have a problem that needs a wireless and secure solution, here it is.
    • Will the cable companies use this spectrum?
      • Yes, it will make it easier for them to use what they have and build out their mobile systems using a combination of licensed, Wi-Fi, and CBRS.
    • What are the roadblocks keeping carriers from providing better indoor coverage?
      • DAS systems are a fine solution for larger venues where the carriers see a business case to invest, like NFL and MLB stadiums. What about the smaller to mid-size buildings? How can they be served when the carriers don’t see a cost-effective way to deploy? They don’t want to pay for it, or at least not a DAS system for a few customers. Now they have the CBRS small cells which can fill that gap.
    • Will CBRS be cost effective to deploy?
      • Yes!
    • Will CBRS spectrum help the smart city?
      • Of course! It will bring new solutions to the IOT applications in smart It will increase the smart building availability, and allow small systems to be built for specific purposes in any city. It will eventually allow new and dedicated smart city functions to deploy everywhere cost effectively.
      • Ruckus has supported the LinkNYC
    • Will smartphones have this spectrum in them?
      • Expect to see it in 2018.
    • Who will use this spectrum moving forward?
      • Carriers, cable companies, enterprise users, industrial IOT, smart cities, utilities, and more.
    • Can the CBRS small cells solve carrier’s coverage solutions?
      • Yes, indoors and out. It’s a great solution for fill and capacity.
    • Is it possible to have multiple carriers on one small cell?
      • YES! Multiple LTE carriers on one Small Cell!
      • This will be a more economical way to deploy small cells to fill holes.

Steve is a wealth of knowledge and someone who is so easy to talk to. Just a great conversation and I strongly recommend that you listen to learn more. I enjoyed talking to him, and I love the way they (Ruckus) envision CBRS LTE systems. It made me want to jump on the Ruckus bandwagon. What a thrill to be part of this time in history. The FCC did something here that will be groundbreaking for the world if it’s successful. They opened new spectrum for use beyond the carriers and into the hands of all American businesses.

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This goes beyond the spectrum repack where they migrated the spectrum from broadcast to the carriers, which was great for the carriers. Now they opened spectrum for the rest of the industry allowing innovation to happen outside of the carriers. I can’t wait to see how people solve their problems using private LTE systems. They could connect to a dedicated device or roam onto a smartphone for all to use. We live in exciting times once again, innovation still live! Thank you, FCC, for doing this!

Steve Martin is the Chief Technology Officer of Ruckus. He holds many positions in industry groups. He is on the CBRS Alliance Board of Directors and the Wireless Broadband Alliance Board of Directors. Just a great guy all around. He has been with Ruckus since 2006 but became the CTO in 2017, congratulations, Steve!

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Ruckus Wireless is a carrier class Wi-Fi company that offers best in class Wi-Fi systems. Based in beautiful Sunnyvale, Ca, the high-tech company has provided outdoor and indoor wireless solutions for over a decade. Brocade recently acquired Ruckus, and then Brocade 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsgot bought by Broadcom, and then Ruckus was being spun out and then bought by Arris International, the story found here, where Ruckus will be a division of Arris. Arris is an amazing company that provides equipment to many of the cable companies worldwide. Cable companies deploy wireless everywhere, so the acquisition makes perfect sense to me. FYI, it’s cool that Arris has a racing club, learn more at http://www.arris.com/ARRISRacing/ if interested. I am quickly becoming a fan of Arris.

Learn more at https://www.ruckuswireless.com/company/overview and contact them at https://www.ruckuswireless.com/contact or email them at info@ruckuc.com to get more information and learn all you can about becoming a big dog!


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