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CBRS - Citizen's Band Radio Service

License-Free Private Networks for Industrial IoT

CBRS (Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service) is a very large swath of license free, shared spectrum released by FCC to promote the development of new applications. The FCC calls it an “innovation band” with the intention that it will ignite the new use cases, like what WiFi did over 20 years ago.

Because CBRS band shared access is managed, it provides interference protection. The band access is managed by dynamic Spectrum Access Systems (SAS) administered by many 3rd party commercial organizations. Fig. 1 illustrates the three types of access: General Access, Priority Access and Grandfathered Access.

industrial high throughput transceiver
  • The General Access is license free access for the widest possible group of users. GA users are permitted to use any portion of the 3550-3700 MHz band not currently assigned to other users. This license free access is intended to promote the innovation of new use cases.
  • The Priority Access users are licenses on a county-by-county basis through competitive bidding. Each PA license is for a 10 megahertz channel within the 3550-3650 MHz band. PAs are 10-year renewable licenses. Only seven PALs will be issued in any given county.
  • Grandfathered Access users include few Fixed Satellite Service providers (space-to-Earth). Currently there are only around 25 such earth stations in the USA and their licenses will sunset by 2023.

CBRS for License-Free Private Broadband Networks

Traditional public cellular networks are not capable of handling the bandwidth, latency, security and reliability requirements of IoT driven operating environments using AI and machine communication. CBRS, as a technology-neutral and spectrum sharing framework brings a radical shift. It allows users to easily deploy a license free private broadband networks that offer reliability and low-latency connectivity to every inch of the operations. From control of unmanned robots and autonomous trucks in open pit mines, to Industry 4.0 factory-floor automation, to control of electricity distribution grids, to logistics and warehousing, to venue services, and many more use cases, low latency broadband wireless networks are essential. The organization controls which machines, sensors and workers can access the network and ensure that they get the right priority and performance. Organization’s data remains secure and stays within the private network. Some of the primary reasons to deploy a private wireless network are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Use Cases for Private Wireless Networks in CBRS band

Use Case Type


Primary Industries

•        Locations often not covered by public wireless infrastructure

•        Very diverse sector from mining to agriculture, making increasing use of automated machinery

Automation & Industry 4.0

•        Factory-floor robotics – e.g., wireless robots introduce much greater flexibility to reconfigure production lines

•        Logistics and warehousing – e.g., pick-and-pack machines.

•        Typically focused very dense deployments with low latency requirements

Mission-Critical Services

•        To monitor and control critical infrastructure – e.g., electricity distribution grids, power plants, etc.

•        Public safety agencies often need to create closed user group ad hoc networks at the scene of emergency

•        Government & military agencies want dedicated, highly available networks at their facilities

Venue Services

•        Public venues such as airports, stadiums, hospitals, ports

•        These venues have many users (internal, contractor, public), some of which have requirements for fast, highly secure access

Market Research compiled by Doodle Labs (2020)

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Each version of the Smart Radio has been designed for operation in the most challenging use cases. The External Smart Radio is an IP67 metal case that can endure the rigors of 24/7 usage on autonomous ground vehicles. The Embedded Smart Radio is an OEM version that can be placed inside the box of other systems. The Pocketable version of Smart Radio is optimized to enable wireless hotspots that can use standard mobile devices.

See more

Use Cases for License Free CBRS Private Wireless Networks

Private Wireless for Autonomous Ground Vehicles

Enable the future of Industrial Internet of Robots for a variety of applications and industries, from automating supply chains to bomb disposal.

Private Wireless for Mining

Improve safety and efficiency by providing reliable wide-area coverage for workers, cameras, environmental sensors, remote-controlled vehicles and AGVs.

mimo radio system

Private Wireless for Ports

Create a wireless network that supports video surveillance, video orchestration and remote operation and geo positioning of vehicles, including cranes and trucks.

mimo radio for defense applications

Private Wireless for Manufacturing

Increase productivity by providing connectivity for collaborative robot AGVs, sensors, machines and group-critical communications.

long range industrial wifi and industrial manet radio system and industrial high throughput transceiver

Private Wireless for Construction

Construction is one of the leading adopters of IoT technology. Private wireless networks allow for advanced operations, while unmanned robotics reduce risk-exposure for personnel.

Private Wireless for Video Surveillance

Live stream crystal clear HD video in an interference free environments. 

Additional Industry Resources

After almost 5 years of planning, the commercial CBRS deployments have just begun in Q1 2020. The industry is excited to take advantage of the opportunities presented by such a large swath of unlicensed spectrum becoming available (For reference, CBRS is 150 MHz while 2.4 GHz WiFi is only 70 MHz wide band). There are many things to learn and many experiences to share. Here we have curated some resources that we think may be useful in your research.

  1. An Overview of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service – Video Tutorial by Commscope (25 minutes)
  2. FCC’s Part 96 governing the use of CBRS band. For most users, the Subparts C and D are most relevant.
  3. CBRS Baseline Specifications Overview – A webinar explaining the details of the CBRS specifications. Wireless Innovation Forum.
  4. CBRS Standards committee – The Spectrum Sharing Committee (SSC) serves as a common industry and government standards body supporting the development and advancement of CBRS spectrum sharing technologies.