Citizens Broadband Radio Service

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is a 150 MHz wide frequency band from 3550 MHz to 3700 MHz in the United States.  The band is shared with the US Navy who uses it for radar for ships coming into port along the coast.  There are special provisions that allow for the shared use between the Navy and Commercial Wireless.

Traditionally, wireless spectrum has been allocated in one of two ways: for exclusive use via the auction of costly license rights or unlicensed use available to all on a best-effort, uncoordinated basis.  This new “shared” or “lightly licensed” spectrum, has many potential use cases including:

  • Increasing capacity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s)
  • Private LTE and 5G for Industry 4.0 Transformation
  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) for rural broadband, also called Fixed Wireless Broadband (FWB)

In order to take advantage of CBRS, your network must employ a Spectrum Access System (SAS) and have access to an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network to dynamically manage the spectrum use.


The CBRS Alliance is an industry organization that aims to promote 4G LTE and 5G NR based solutions for the CBRS band. Similar to the Wi-Fi Alliance, it is made up of a consortium of companies.

Learn more:

The CBRS Alliance uses the OnGo name as its consumer-facing brand.  Similar to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, your device may show an OnGo symbol when connected to a CBRS network.  Devices must be OnGo Certified by an authorized lab.

Learn more:

The Wireless Innovation (WINN) Forum develops the underlying standards for the 3-tiered access system.  Similar to 3GPP for 4G-LTE and 5G-NR.

The Spectrum Sharing Committee (SSC) serves as a common industry and government standards body supporting the development and advancement of CBRS spectrum sharing technologies based on a three-tier architecture as defined under the FCC Part 96 rules.

Spectrum Control

  • Tier 1 is incumbent users such as the federal government, fixed satellite users.
  • Tier 2 is Priority Access License (PAL) users—licensed wireless users who acquire spectrum through an auction. The SAS will ensure PAL users do not cause harmful interference to Tier 1 users and will protect PAL users from interference by General Authorized Access (GAA) users.
  • Tier 3 is GAA users who will deploy “lightly-licensed” devices. The SAS will ensure GAA users do not cause harmful interference into Tier 1 incumbents and Tier 2 PAL users.

If spectrum is not being used by one tier it can be accessed by another via the SAS—securely and without harmful interference.

Because the spectrum is shared between the user tiers, a Spectrum Access System (SAS) is used to coordinate access. 

The Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) is a network of sensors used to detect federal frequency use.  The ESC informs the SAS of radar operation and the SAS reacts to ensure there is no interference between CBRS and radar operations.

The SAS communicates with the CBRS Devices (CBSD’s) and the ESC’s.  It then determines and allocates spectrum channels to each CBSD based on the priority and nearby traffic.

Vertical Markets

In-Building Wireless

Outdoor Mobile Access

Private LTE/5G

Industrial IoT

Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Capacity Augmentation.  CBRS offers a higher level of network quality control afforded with LTE-based solutions as compared to Wi-Fi offload.

There is a growing need for neutral host providers to bridge the gap between very large projects with direct MNO involvements and smaller projects that are too small for mobile operators to consider, but too complex for enterprises to handle on their own. There is an opportunity for new entrants with CBRS deployments that involve SAS coordination and managing core network integration with mobile operators.

The cost per Gigabyte can be as much as 68% lower relative to an MNO DAS.

Providing outdoor CBRS mobile coverage is a great option for to build out an LTE network. 

The profitability of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is heavily dependent on lowering the amount of traffic going over to the host mobile operator network. Since an MVNO pays a mobile operator for traffic going over the host operator’s network, higher subscriber usage directly translates to higher network cost.  Offloading subscribers to CBRS lowers this cost. This solution provides a more predictable user experience than offloading to Wi-Fi. 

PAL licenses for outdoor deployments can be useful in guaranteeing a certain amount of spectrum in traffic hot-spots. With PAL licensing, an operator can effectively secure up to 40MHz of CBRS bands in strategic geographical locations.  The operator can utilize additional GAA bands to take advantage of extra spectrum resources.

The cost per Gigabyte can be as much as 40% lower relative to MNO small cells.

Enables enterprises to realize the full potential of the CBRS spectrum by creating their own private, secure and dedicated cellular networks.

Take your business into the digital age with a private wireless network that brings reliable, low-latency connectivity to every inch of your operations.

  • Remotely control equipment and machines with HD video 
  • Use cameras to improve site security and operational oversight 
  • Implement remote-controlled, autonomous and collaborative cranes, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and forklift trucks
  • Increase worker safety with smart wearables 
  • Run push-to-talk and push-to-video applications on LTE
  • Pinpoint anomalies in the production line with real-time video analytics

Previously private networks could only use unlicensed spectrum unless they paid an MNO to sub-lease their spectrum.

OnGo enables easy deployment of private LTE networks to provide Industrial IoT connectivity that is optimized, secure, dedicated, and on-premise.

  • Collect environmental data from many low-power sensors
  • Connect machines wirelessly to enable the reshuffling of production lines
  • Track your assets with highly accurate indoor positioning

LTE is suitable for these types of use cases as it is a reliable, dynamic, and secure technology – and OnGo-enabled solutions make it possible to create an affordable LTE network with far less complexity.

IoT-enabled devices open the door for a variety of industries to re-evaluate existing – and discover new – data-driven use cases, including predictive maintenance in manufacturing and supply chain, or public safety improvements for smart cities.


  • Routers, Gateways and Bridges.
  • Latest model mobile Phones including the iPhone, Samsung, and Pixel
  • Push to Talk radio
  • Scanners
  • Tablets
  • There are many more coming….

No. It is only available in the USA.

PAL is licensed and is receives interference protection from GAA. PAL licenses will be purchased at auction. There will be up to 70 MHz of PAL spectrum available in every US county, which can be chosen from 100 MHz of the CBRS band.

GAA will be available for the full 150MHz, with at least 80MHz of spectrum available outside the PAL.

The FCC is discussing the use of the CBRS shared spectrum model in the 3300-3500 MHz band and the 7GHz band.  However, no final decisions have been made at this time.

Category A has a maximum EIRP of 1W.  These are intended for indoor use.

Category B has a maximum EIRP of 50W.  These are intended for outdoor use, and must be mounted higher than 1m above ground level.

Maybe.  FCC rules require that applicable CBRS Devices (CBSDs) be professionally installed. A Certified Professional Installer (CPI) may physically install the CBSD her/himself or may take the responsibility for accuracy of the data entered into the CBSD by another installer. All Category B CBSDs require CPI. Category A CBSDs installed above six meter Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT) and unable to self-geolocate also require CPI.

Obtaining a CPI requires training and certification.

Have more questions about CBRS?

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