Internet2 Future Wireless Working Group Prepares to Issue RFP for CBRS-Driven Neutral Host Network Solutions

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By Jeff Reel, Program Manager, NET+ Cloud Telecom and Networking

Research and education (R&E) institutions have long been at the forefront of deploying next generation communications technologies to both enable core-mission R&E needs and also meet the requirements of users.

Indoor cellular, particularly voice coverage, has been a challenging issue for institutions that find it difficult to justify the high costs associated with implementing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). CBRS-based neutral host networks (NHN) are emerging as a viable and cost-effective alternative as demonstrated by recent deployments1, delivering the much-needed coverage that organizations require.

CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) presents an opportunity for institutions to own and operate fully private LTE, and soon 5G, mobile fixed wireless broadband networks (much like they run private Wi-Fi networks) without needing to purchase expensive spectrum licenses.

Join Our Working Group

If you are interested in joining the working group and attending its monthly meetings, please submit a request(members of the R&E community only please).

If you would be interested in working specifically on this RFP team, after joining the working group, please send a direct email to jreel@internet2.edu.

The Future Wireless Working Group was established to explore areas of collaboration regarding the use of emerging wireless technologies on campuses and across the R&E community. Today the working group includes more than 20 different organizations, including a range of higher education institutions and regional network providers.  The focus of the group has been the recently commercialized CBRS spectrum and its use by R&E institutions. The Future Wireless Working Group has a public wiki space where the results of its work are being published.

The Future Wireless Working Group’s next major activity will be the issuing of Requests For Proposals (RFP) to identify providers interested in delivering a NHN as a Service (NHNaaS) offering where institutions’ private 4G/5G networks can be bundled or unbundled with a NHN offering. The selected offering(s) will be part of the Internet2 NET+ portfolio of services designed to support institutions managing risk and maximizing opportunity when deploying information and communication technologies.

The Future Wireless Working Group next meets at the Private 4G/5G Wireless Networks BoF meeting on Monday, September 18, at Internet2’s Technology Exchange in Minneapolis, Minn.

Private LTE/5G is also expected to be on the agenda for Eduroam-Mobility Day, a tutorial workshop being held on Monday, September 19, in the afternoon at the Technology Exchange.

Looking forward to seeing you in Minneapolis!

1 https://www.federatedwireless.com/news/cal-poly-federated-wireless-and-t-mobile-unveil-public-private-network-interoperability-and-supercharged-wireless-network-experiences-on-campus/

About the Author

Jeff Reel is a consultant for Internet2 working on cloud-related network services. Jeff is retired from The Pennsylvania State University after a long career in its Enterprise Networking and Communication Services group. Jeff also held the position of KINBER’s first CEO and executive director.