The OnGo Alliance hosted its virtual event, OnGo Forward – CBRS, 5G and Beyond, in February 2021. During the event, participants heard directly from those currently deploying and utilizing OnGo networks in the 3.5 GHz CBRS, as well as from CBRS experts on what to expect from 5G with OnGo, addressing indoor cellular coverage, and how regulatory and policy aspects will impact the future of shared spectrum — both in the United States and globally. The event kicked-off with opening remarks from FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a key driver of CBRS from its inception, who reinforced the role OnGo has in delivering wireless innovation. Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from this year’s OnGo Forward.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Accessible connectivity is no longer considered a luxury but a fundamental human right – during the pandemic and beyond. To address this need within their community, the City of Tucson is leveraging OnGo to provide reliable, secure and high-quality CBRS connectivity to its residents. Its OnGo deployment has been able to provide the 47,255 students in the Tucson School District with wireless connectivity to support distance-learning related activities. Looking ahead, the City of Tucson is now scaling those successful deployments to provide smart city connectivity for public transit, traffic information and other smart city applications.
Similarly, the Roaring Forks School District in Colorado is leveraging OnGo to help bridge the digital divide and homework gap. With 45% of the district’s students coming from low-income families, the district saw a need to provide students with reliable, high-quality connectivity to use within their own homes for homework assignments and online classes. Utilizing CBRS and through its partnership with Google, the Roaring Fork School District was able to build 13 sites in 10 days to provide its students with a private OnGo network at no cost for students.
5G’s Impact on Shared Spectrum
Technology giant Ericsson is embracing the combined powers of 5G and OnGo to support smart factory operations for its plant in Lewisville, Texas. The smart factory is a full-scale operation that capitalizes on the potential of 5G with Industry 4.0, enabling intelligent automation and leveraging real-time data across operations. These OnGo 5G-powered operations include energy and environmental monitoring, autonomous guided vehicles and augmented reality (AR) guided work instructions. Equipped with fast and secure cellular connectivity, Ericsson’s highly automated, state-of-the-art factory sets a precedent for how smart manufacturing can optimize processes for increased efficiency levels with CBRS on private networks.
Likewise, Federated Wireless is collaborating with the United States Department of Defense—along with an all-United States team of partners including Alliance member JMA Wireless —to modernize Marine Corps Logistics Command warehouse operations in Albany, Georgia. Its OnGo-powered, private 5G wireless network supports a broad set of smart warehouse use cases, including warehouse robotics, barcode scanning, and holographic, augmented, and virtual reality applications.
The Future of Shared Spectrum
Unfortunately, a lack of seamless mobile coverage and poor user experience remains common in many indoor venues. CBRS experts shared their insights on why OnGo is a natural technology choice for neutral host network operators —who can solve the indoor cellular challenge for venue owners, and enterprises. The OnGo Alliance also shared findings from our recent OnGo Neutral Host Network survey supporting this trend, which reported that roughly 45% of business owners in the commercial real estate, hospitality, healthcare and entertainment industries think that CBRS Neutral Host Network will be broadly deployed by 2022.
Experts also provided insight into the outlook of spectrum and the increasing number of shared spectrum initiatives outside the United States. The OnGo Alliance recently expanded its mission to encompass 3GPP technologies operating in shared spectrum bands worldwide – leveraging our members’ groundbreaking successes in commercializing the CBRS band within the United States. International experts from the United Kingdom and Europe shared information on the types of initiatives they are currently working on, including numerous shared spectrum related projects across the continent, and highlighted the technologies shaping the future of communications in their regions.
The OnGo Alliance is excited to see all the OnGo activity taking place in the CBRS band, but we also know that this is just getting started and are looking (OnGo) Forward to what’s ahead.