The Citizens Broadband Radio Service at 3.5 GHz is ushering in a new approach to in-building connectivity, allowing venues, enterprises and building owners to control their wireless service through dedicated private LTE systems. One company, Geoverse, is taking it one step further serving as an “inside-out” mobile operator.
Geoverse is owned by ATNI, a public company that has been owning and operating mobile, fixed, and CATV providers for over 30 years in Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States. As a result of this relationship, Geoverse can leverage all the existing roaming agreements ATNI has established with major carriers for their Private LTE solutions. In addition, Geoverse’s patented platform known as GeoTrade presents a real opportunity for monetizing the roaming agreements between the public carrier networks and the in-building Private LTE network. The integrated roaming and monetization capabilities are key differentiators when compared to other in-building solutions.
“When I heard that enterprises were going to be able to build their own private LTE systems, that’s when I realized we were really on to something,” Carl Gunell, Geoverse co-founder and SVP of Marketing and Business Development, told AGL eDigest. “We thought there might be 10,000 or more private LTE systems in the United States some day and they will need a commercial relationship between the network and the carrier.”
Cellular was built for outdoor use, but 80 percent of the time wireless calls are initiated indoors. Cell towers, however, do not penetrate the walls and windows of office buildings very well. DAS deployments in buildings have only proved to be cost effective in the largest venues and buildings. Many companies have tried different methods to make in-building wireless less expensive and to speed up the process of securing a signal source from the carriers.
“We are moving away from the traditional DAS model that required a lot of carrier coordination,” Gunell said. “Now with CBRS being commercialized, we put in less costly infrastructure that will be in the control of the building owner or enterprise without sacrificing any capability in terms of functionality such as roaming.”
Ericsson’s Radio Dot System provides in-building coverage and capacity for Geoverse’s enterprise private LTE offering. Geoverse and RF Connect have partnered to streamline the design, network engineering, and deployment of some early projects. However, Geoverse has an open solution architecture and will also use other vendors, VAR’s and integrators as the needs demand. Additionally, Geoverse has its own in-house LTE evolved packet core called GeoCore. GeoCore is the network element that enables the seamless roaming between the Private LTE networks and Public Carrier Networks.
“We look at CBRS, not as a new technology, but as a new paradigm. What is really rule-breaking about the service is it gives the control over the network to the enterprise,” Gunell said. “With CBRS, cellular communications is no longer the private domain of the major mobile operators. If a building wants better connectivity, it is on their budget not the carriers’ budgets. It’s on their timeline not the carriers’ timelines. The enterprise doesn’t have to beg for a signal source.”
Geoverse’s full-building solution when used alongside IoT sensors enables a ‘smart building’ can help a building owner or enterprise identify inefficient systems and processes, monitoring temperature, lighting, room use and desk use.
“The landlord owns all the data concerning how many people are using each small cell in the building and at what times they occupy those spaces. They have visibility into network operations and performance,” Gunell said.
They can also use the same CBRS network as the common platform for all kinds of connectivity, providing hubs and gateways to connect legacy devices.
When Geoverse and the enterprise build a Private LTE network inside of the building, that network can offer additional coverage and capacity for the carriers. Carriers want to be assured of call quality and the GeoTrade platform assures this metric via Service Level Agreements.
“We can guarantee AT&T that we have five-nines capability in the building, leading to satisfied users,” Gunell said. “Because the GeoCore EPC can be deployed inside the Building, you get a 5G-like experience with a 4G LTE Advanced Network, with low latency and high reliability.”