What is CBRS and how can you use it to benefit your organization?
In 2017, the US Federal Communications Commission introduced a 150 MHz wide broadcast band called CBRS. Previously, this band was exclusively reserved for the US Navy radar and avionics systems, but now this band is part of the US government’s push towards the shared spectrum framework.
CBRS opens up a wide new range of possible innovations in the wireless communication space that weren’t traditionally accessible to companies. It is important to understand how the fundamental technology works before we discuss its potential use cases.
How can you use CBRS to benefit your organization?
The shared spectrum system that CBRS offers opens many doors to exciting new innovations. CBRS spectrums can be used to provide localized wireless broadband access in large buildings and businesses, allowing more bandwidth and range than any WiFi solution.
The major advantage CBRS offers is accessibility. The cost to entry is very high for spectrums that are exclusively licensed, and companies can end up paying billions of dollars. This makes wireless spectrums impossible for small to medium organizations to use. CBRS, on the other hand, is a free-to-use spectrum, similar to WiFi. You can pay for more exclusive benefits and a better experience, but the basic spectrum is publicly available to everyone.
Another great advantage that CBRS offers is its potential time to market. In a traditional spectrum management system, it can take almost a decade from the time a company bids on a wireless spectrum in an auction to when they are actually able to use it. In the tech industry, a decade might as well be a century. CBRS’s spectrum sharing means that once in place, it is very easy and almost instant for a new company to start using the common spectrum.
Finally, the practice of licensing exclusive spectrums was honestly unsustainable. There are so many free and unused spectrums available that can be assigned to new users. The frequency spectrum is a valuable and finite resource that would never be able to keep up with the growing demand. CBRS, on the other hand, allows multiple users on the same band, providing more room and accessibility to grow.
By combining all of these factors, CBRS makes way for new innovations and technologies that just weren’t possible before. Imagine a single central tower providing high-speed internet to a whole office campus.
The possibilities of CBRS are quite literally endless.
How can blockchain technology and CBRS be used together?
Blockchain technology has garnered significant popularity in the past few years, mostly due to its use in the field of cryptocurrency. This fame has resulted in accelerated research to figure out more use cases that can be built off of blockchain technology.
One particularly interesting use case combines blockchain and the CBRS spectrum sharing technology. This is especially useful for scenarios where a shared database needs write access from multiple writers. In a traditional system, there is an absence of trust between multiple writers, and it requires a lot of effort to consolidate a few parties.
In a blockchain-powered database, the process is more streamlined. Blockchain, by the nature of its underlying fundamental, works by being a ‘trustless network.’ A blockchain-powered database doesn’t trust one party over the other by default. Rather, it consolidates information from all parties involved to establish its ‘truth.’ This results in an atmosphere of disintermediation between various parties using the shared database.
For example, CBRS and blockchain technology can be used together in an inter-organizational recordkeeping capacity. The blockchain will be the highest authority in a transactional log to collect, record and notarize any information.
CBRS will empower network users to reap the benefits of blockchain-based databases and eliminate the need for third-party clearing houses for any sort of authentication and validation, using blockchain-powered smart contracts instead. This is especially useful for IoT devices that need to use shared databases, as they will then have access to a shared spectrum for faster and more reliable network access.
Blockchain technology, if integrated properly, has the potential to significantly reduce transaction costs in a CBRS by streamlining B2B multi-step workflows for things like contracting, brokering, and data exchange, since blockchain offers very low-cost transactions using smart contracts. Ultimately integration of blockchain in a spectrum management system will build trust between key stakeholders and devices using CBRS.
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