CPE Devices for CBRS Network Things You Need to Know

Picture of Eric Murrell

Eric Murrell

Sr. VP of Sales
CPE Devices for CBRS Network

The Citizens Broadband Radio Spectrum (CBRS) has a significant impact on private cellular networks. It offers enterprises and consumers greater control and flexibility to enhance their connectivity solutions. CPE devices for CBRS networks enable those businesses to use the shared spectrum efficiently.

Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) devices connect end-users and the CBRS network. Operators can deploy these devices indoors and outdoors to fill up the network coverage gap. Henceforth, selecting the right CBRS CPE devices is important to increase the benefits and ensure consistent connectivity and optimal performance.

Today, I am going to explain the concept of CPE networking and CPE devices and the reasons for deploying them. You will also learn about their types, deployment considerations, and their roles in maintaining better networks.

The NTIA identified a new publicly available transmission band in the 3.5GHz band for shared federal and non-federal use in its 2010 Fast Track Report. This is what we now know as CBRS. In other words, CBRS is a 150MHz block of spectrum nominated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for private use.

CBRS spectrum is structured into three tiers to manage access and prioritize usage among different types of users. This tiered system ensures efficient use of the spectrum while protecting incumbent users from interference.

Tiers of CBRS Spectrum

Incumbents

This tier is exclusively for incumbent users, including governmental agencies, Navy ships, and fixed satellite stations. No other users can interfere with these users. So, their operations remain protected from possible disruptions.

Priority Access License (PAL)

Commercial businesses need to gain PAL licenses through CBRS auctions. These licenses offer priority access to up to 40MHz per county, assigned on a per access point (CBSD) basis. Hospitals, utilities, and large enterprises use this tier for guaranteed bandwidth and QoS for their operations.

General Authorized Access (GAA)

The GAA tier is for public access without requiring any license. More precisely, the GAA CBRS network is ideal for private deployments, including mobile, small cell towers, and IoT devices used within enterprises. However, GAA users do not have the same level of protection from interference as PAL users.

In a CBRS network, CPE devices play a pivotal role in facilitating connectivity and network access. These devices serve as the bridge between end-users and the CBRS spectrum, enabling seamless access to network services across various deployment scenarios.

What is CBRS?

What is CPE Networking?

What is CPE Networking

It refers to the use of CPE in establishing and managing network connections within a customer’s location. Likewise, CPE includes versatile IT hardware that resides at a customer’s site. Some CPE devices examples are telephone handsets, cable TV set-top boxes, and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) routers.


CPE devices play a crucial role in facilitating connectivity between the customer’s internal network (LAN) and the broader public or private network infrastructure. They can be an indoor wall-mounted unit or a roof-mounted antenna. Historically, CPEs only provided WiFi access, but with CBRS, we now see CPEs operating on the 3.5 GHz/B48 CBRS spectrum range.

Again, these CBRS CPE devices are essential for distributing data within the user’s premises. They perform protocol conversion to support different communication protocols. Plus, they provide security measures like firewalls and NAT to safeguard the network from unauthorized access. 

Types of CBRS CPE Devices

CBRS networks rely on different CPE devices to enable network access. These devices are available in various forms to fulfill the deployment needs and environmental conditions.
Indoor CPE

Indoor CPE devices are designed for use within buildings. Typically, these devices are mounted on walls and roofs inside the buildings. They offer a convenient way to connect to CBRS networks. Additionally, indoor CPE devices are ideal for offices, homes, and other indoor environments to maintain robust signal strength and consistency.

Indoor CPE units are typically small, lightweight, and easy to install. They work as access points for indoor WiFi connectivity. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and IoT devices are some examples of indoor wall-mounted CPE devices for CBRS.

Outdoor CPE Devices

These CBRS CPE devices are mostly mounted on the roof and wall in outdoor conditions. They can extend the network coverage better across larger areas compared to indoor units. Some ideal spaces for deploying outdoor CPE devices are parking lots, campuses, and rural or industrial sites—however, factors like antenna height, orientation, and line of sight impact coverage.
Outdoor CPE

How to Choose the Right CPE Device for CBRS

Selection of the right CPE devices for the CBRS network is essential for better network performance, reliability, and scalability. You must consider some factors to align the devices with your network requirements and maintain regulatory standards. 

FCC Certification

Certification from the FCC guarantees that the devices comply with its regulations. It is essential for legal operation and to prevent interference with other spectrum users. 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Deployment

The choice depends on the specific deployment environment and the coverage requirements. For instance, indoor devices are designed for use within buildings. They are optimized for indoor signal propagation. Alternatively, outdoor devices are built to withstand harsher environmental conditions. They are suitable for extending network coverage outdoors.

Interface Support

Assessing the LAN and WAN interface compatibility of CPE devices are important for integration with existing network infrastructure. Devices should support the necessary interfaces to connect with both local networks and wider area networks effectively.

Futureproofing

The CPE device you select should support future technologies like 5G and beyond. They should have the ability to handle higher data rates and emerging standards.

FCC Power Grant Compliance

You should ensure that selected CPE devices adhere to FCC-mandated power limits. This compliance is essential for legal operation and to avoid interference with other spectrum users.

Installation and Setup of CPE Devices for CBRS Networks

Let’s learn how to install and set up CBRS CPE devices. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you through the process:

Pre-installation Checklist

Before installation, you should conduct a thorough site survey to assess the deployment environment. It includes the placement of CPE devices, the possibility of any interference, and the presence of all mounting toolkits. Also, verify if the CPE devices are FCC-certified.

Configuring CBRS CPE Devices

You can configure CBRS CPE devices through a user-friendly web interface. This process is made easier with simplified instructions and pre-activated SIM cards. It allows quick setup and integration into the network. During configuration, make sure all the devices are correctly connected to the network. Also, settings like network name (SSID), password, and security settings should be properly configured.

Installation Steps

Indoor CPE Devices

For indoor installations:

  1. Choose an optimal location that provides good coverage throughout the intended area while minimizing interference.
  2. Mount the device securely on the wall or ceiling, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Connect the device to the power supply and network cables as required.
  4. Access the device’s configuration interface through a connected computer or mobile device to finish the setup process.

Outdoor CPE Devices

For outdoor installations:

  1. Select a high vantage point, such as a roof or tower, to maximize signal coverage.
  2. Securely mount the device using weather-resistant hardware to withstand environmental conditions.
  3. Connect the device to power and network cables, ensuring all connections are sealed against moisture.
  4. Align the antenna towards the CBRS base station for optimal signal reception.
  5. Complete the configuration via the device’s web interface, ensuring proper network settings and security measures are applied.

Post-installation Checks

After installation, thorough tests are performed to verify the performance of the CPE devices. This includes checking signal strength, data throughput rates, and connectivity reliability across the deployment area. Adjustments may be necessary to optimize performance, like repositioning antennas or tweaking network settings.

Benefits of Using CBRS CPE Devices

CBRS CPE devices offer multiple benefits, including cost savings, better network performance, security, and advanced application support.
Benefits of Using
CBRS CPE Devices

Reduced Infrastructure Costs

CBRS allows for the deployment of private cellular networks with significantly less infrastructure than traditional WiFi or public LTE services. It lowers upfront investments and operational costs.

Improved Interconnectivity

CBRS enhances overall network interconnectivity. It can boost productivity by improving the production and delivery of goods or services. It also allows for the integration of apps and services through private networks. So, businesses have greater control over their operations.

Customizable Quality of Service (QoS)

Operators can customize CBRS networks to meet specific QoS requirements. This makes them ideal for applications that demand high reliability and low latency. This level of customization also ensures consistent and predictable performance.

Enhanced Security

Using SIM or eSIM for device authentication provides a robust authentication mechanism to increase network security. Businesses handling sensitive data require this type of facility.

Reliable Connectivity

CBRS operates in the 3.5 GHz band. It offers access to a broad spectrum beneficial in congested areas where traditional WiFi bands may be saturated. This leads to enhanced service quality and eliminates network congestion. It ensures reliable connectivity even in densely populated environments.

IoT Applications

CBRS supports IoT applications across various industries. It enables near-real-time metrics collection from industrial machines, autonomous vehicles, campus security systems, and more. This opens new revenue streams and experimentation opportunities for businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

A CBRS CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) device acts as a gateway router within a CBRS-powered Private Mobile Network. It connects end-users and service providers to enable seamless access to the CBRS spectrum.
When purchasing a CBRS CPE, consider its FCC certification for CBRS use, whether it’s for indoor or outdoor use, the supported LAN and WAN interfaces, future 5G readiness, data rate support, and compliance with the maximum power grant allowed by the FCC.
CPE devices facilitate network access across various deployment scenarios, from indoor wall-mounted units to roof-mounted antennas. Modern CPEs operate within the 3.5 GHz/B48 CBRS spectrum range to expand their functionality beyond traditional WiFi access.

Nybsys Offers Best CPE Devices for CBRS Network

Nybsys stands out as a leading provider of CPE devices for CBRS Networks. We offer a full suite of solutions to enhance wireless connectivity for enterprise businesses.

With a strategic focus on compliance, regulatory requirements, and technological infrastructure, Nybsys ensures that businesses can deploy CBRS networks effectively. We align with our organizational goals and technological aspirations.

Thanks for reading this blog. Contact us to get CPE devices for CBRS, LTE, and 5G networks.

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