Home5GNokia intros devices and features for private 5G in CBRS 3.5 GHz, Anterix 900 MHz in US

Nokia intros devices and features for private 5G in CBRS 3.5 GHz, Anterix 900 MHz in US

The other Industry 4.0 announcement from Nokia’s enterprise group this week, ahead of Hannover Messe USA next week, is about 5G devices, plus spectrum access and new dashboarding for private 5G systems. The Finnish firm, fresh from talking industrial software, and following its separate announcement of new industrial hardware in Japan, has released two industrial 5G SA devices for use with the CBRS 3.5 GHz shared-access or Anterix-held 900 MHz utility-geared spectrum bands in the US.

The two new devices are a field router and a dongle, designed for “IoT connectivity”, said Nokia, but also targeted more broadly at the CBRS market in the US, beyond traditional mission-critical Industry 4.0 cases, to also capture “enterprises, educational establishments, cities”. The provision of 900 MHz radios, meanwhile, is a straight pitch to the Industry 4.0 sector, and to utilities in particular; New Jersey-based Anterix, with which Nokia has a primary supply deal, holds 900 MHz licences for grid modernisation in the mainland US, plus Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Stephane Daeuble, in charge of solution marketing for Nokia’s enterprise division, explained: “Spectrum is complex in private wireless, and we are highlighting, again, what we are doing with devices to support local frequency allocations. As illustration: Japan is using band 38 for LTE, which is the same as in most of Europe; but it has selected band 79 for 5G, which is not the same. So we have this new router to support LTE and 5G in band 79. And we are doing the same now with CBRS, plus 900 MHz, in the US – to also support 5G devices at these frequencies.”

Nokia has also confirmed its spectrum access system (SAS) and domain proxy capabilities, launched early last year, are now equipped for full standalone 5G (5G SA) deployments in CBRS spectrum. Nokia’s radio access (RAN) hardware is already specified for 5G SA in 3.5 GHz spectrum. “What we are saying to the US market is we are now 5G SA capable,” said Nokia’s enterprise marketing chief Stephane Daeuble, in conversation with Enterprise IoT Insights. (Note; a 12-inch remix of the conversation with Daeuble will be available next week.)

Nokia’s CBRS system – bundling an SAS solution from Key Bridge Wireless, alongside “tech innovations” from Nokia Bell Labs, with its own LTE/5G network solutions and industrial devices – is targeted mainly at hard-nosed Industry 4.0 cases, as per the company’s global strategy with private networks. Its CBRS domain proxy capabilities, to aggregate multiple radio links to simplify large CBRS deployments, and provide additional control and security, is “very unique”, reckons Daeuble.

As well, Nokia has launched a connectivity management system, called Nokia Connectivity Operations Dashboard, described as “very specific for the US”, to track usage (“contextual network visibility”) on private networks, and gather insights “to build the reports required by government and other stakeholders”. The dashboard is available for industrial users, but is targeted at the education sector, plus “communities” – which have received state Covid-19 funding to deploy private LTE networks as a means to deliver broadband access during lockdown.

Nokia said: “Since [Covid], billions of dollars have been invested with some leveraging CBRS to connect communities over private LTE.” Nokia is pairing the new dashboard function with network visualisation software, under the name Nokia Network Digital Twin, particularly for mission-critical Industry 4.0 cases. It said: “This will provide capabilities such as anomaly detection and prediction of future behaviour, allowing the users to see the impact of planned changes ahead of real-world implementation.”

Daeuble explained: “It is a slightly different market; these are not industrial things, and they make certain requirements. You need to offer zero-touch onboarding, for example – because teachers and parents, say, need to handle the setup for students; it needs to plug in and work. You also need to offer a facility so managers and teachers can track usage, so homework gets done, for example. So this is a specific dashboard for the education sector – because we have won a lot in that market, because of all the funding going into it.”

Nokia has “over 90 private wireless customers” in the US, it said, of which “over 70” are using CBRS shared spectrum. Around 40 percent of its business is in the US (North America, actually, but the CBRS in the US has driven the majority), making the US its largest market for private LTE/5G by a distance. Europe, with an awkward spectrum picture, is the biggest region for Nokia, also with around 40 percent of its private LTE/5G customers, with France, the Nordics, Spain, and the UK as standout contributors.

Germany is also “big in terms of customers”, although the profile of deployments is somewhat different – with “many in universities for research and ecosystem development, industrial OEMs for industrial ecosystem development, and what Nokia would classify as long trials, such as with the automotive industry.“

Todd Nate, head of private wireless for Nokia in North America, commented: “The release of CBRS spectrum by the FCC for enterprise and public entity use has led to the acceleration in private wireless deployments. Nokia is now working with over 90 private wireless customers in the country, of which over 70 are using CBRS shared spectrum. These are instrumental in connecting underserved communities and digitally transforming enterprises, and by readying our equipment we can help them evolve to 5G at their own pace.”

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