Federated Wireless launches CBRS connectivity-as-a-service

The new service, launched in partnership with AWS and Microsoft Azure, should help enterprises more easily deploy private 4G and 5G networks for IOT tools.

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Federated Wireless, a pioneer in the newly-enabled Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), announced Tuesday that it's partnering with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to offer CBRS connectivity-as-a-service. The unique connectivity service should help enterprises more easily deploy private 4G and 5G networks for IOT tools -- that could include tools like warehouse robots, security cameras with image recognition, push-to-talk communication devices or digital signage. 

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"Enterprise customers are primarily looking for a wireless network that gives them the ability to put next-generation IoT solutions on it, without disrupting their existing wi-fi network or without having to go out and try to replicate what wireless networks looks like," Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi said to ZDNet. "Typically these are for very localized, simple applications that require high fidelity, high connectivity, high predictability, low latency." 

The service is available through the through the AWS marketplace and the Microsoft Azure marketplace. Through the service, Federated Wireless will buy equipment for an enterprise, install it, configure it, manage it, monitor and support it. Customers will get carrier-grade performance for a monthly managed-service fee.

This kind of service is possible because of the unique nature of the CBRS, which the Federal Communications Commission greenlit for initial commercial deployments just this past September. 

Traditionally, the FCC auctions off exclusive licenses for spectrum, while wi-fi services sit on unlicensed spectrum. The CBRS, meanwhile, is shared spectrum that includes some licensed users as well as general access users. With a shared spectrum management system developed over the last five years, Federated Wireless can efficiently chop up licensed spectrum for private networks. 

"Shared spectrum allows you to create new networks at very, very low cost," Tarazi explained. It effectively offers the flexibility and room for innovation of wi-fi with the security and quality of service you'd find with licensed spectrum.

Still, CBRS may have seemed out of reach to enterprises, Tarazi  explained. "They don't have the resources and time to really investigate how to become a mini carrier for every deployment, right?" 

The as-a-service offering from Federated Wireless aims to solve that problem.