Amazon shows more interest in 3.5 GHz wireless networks

Amazon said it plans to expand testing into the 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum band, but the company continues to keep details of those tests under wraps. However, many of the new locations where Amazon is testing the group’s networks are near its offices.

E-commerce giant Amazon has already signaled its interest in wireless networks operating in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. IEEE Spectrum last year reported several requests from Amazon to test 3.5 GHz operations at two locations in California. Then, last month, the company announced it would be testing at 3.5GHz in Sunnyvale, Calif., which GeekWire says is the home of Amazon’s Lab126 product development subsidiary. The publication noted that Amazon’s Lab126 is where the company developed products such as its Kindle e-book readers and Kindle Fire tablets.

In its latest FCC filing requesting permission to conduct additional testing, Amazon acknowledged that it plans to “conduct preliminary testing near its facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif., so that it can obtain sufficient of data to determine if he should continue and expand his research on CBRS technologies to other locations.” The company said it is seeking permission to conduct additional testing “so that it is prepared to expand its research if necessary to three additional sites (in Arlington, VA; Herndon, VA; and Seattle, WA) and to continue its research at its original location in Sunnyvale.” The locations in Herndon and Seattle that are listed in Amazon’s app are near its headquarters, but the location listed in Arlington is in the Crystal City neighborhood near Ronald Reagan National Airport. of Washington, and does not appear to be near Amazon’s offices.

Companies that file test requests with the FCC typically don’t provide details beyond the apps themselves.

However, Amazon’s tests could tie into its plans to offer cloud-native private mobile networks in the CBRS band to developers, telcos, public sector operators, enterprises and others “for rapid application deployment. industrial IoTs, such as real-time monitoring, smart meters, and worker safety monitoring.” The company announced the offering — along with partners Athonet, CommScope’s Ruckus, and Federated Wireless — at its AWS re:Invent event. last year.

Indeed, a number of wireless players are eyeing the desirability of a private wireless network in the 3.5 GHz band and other spectrum bands. These networks promise to offer dedicated mobile services to utilities, mining companies and others who don’t depend on public wireless networks like AT&T and Verizon.

The FCC is expected to approve initial commercial deployments in the CBRS band in the coming days. The 3.5 GHz band has been dubbed the “Goldilocks spectrum” because it offers the right balance of coverage and capacity. Due to the propagation characteristics of transmissions in the mid-spectrum like the CBRS band, signals can travel for miles and penetrate buildings while carrying a significant amount of data. The same cannot be said for transmissions in the low-band spectrum (which can cover large geographical areas but cannot transmit much data) or in the high-band spectrum (which cannot cover large geographical areas but can transmit huge amounts of data).

The CBRS band will first be open to unlicensed uses, but the FCC recently said it will hold 3.5 GHz spectrum auctions starting in June 2020, paving the way for 70 MHz of licensed operations next to half of the band dedicated to unlicensed. operations.

Amazon is not alone in testing CBRS operations. For example, Ericsson plans to demonstrate CBRS operations at the upcoming MWC Americas show in Los Angeles, while Sercomm hopes to demonstrate CBRS at the SCTE cable show in New Orleans.

— Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G and Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano


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