Arris Hangs Hat on CBRS

NEW YORK -- Arris Investor Day -- Arris is focusing on 3.5GHz and eventually WiFi as an alternative to 5G, through its Ruckus Networks unit.

Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) is placing a big bet on the "lightly regulated" 3.5GHz band as a mechanism to deliver localized 4G LTE connections through small cells. Ruckus Network 's CTO, Steve Martin, expects to see the first commercial products out later this year, with CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) growing into a billion-dollar market over four to five years.

Eventually, Arris, through Ruckus, is aiming to offer 60GHz WiFi (WiGig) and 3.5GHz LTE combined -- either in one chassis -- or through a modular system to deliver localized connectivity in a small cell.

The sticking point is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not yet decided how the parts of the 3.5GHz band not occupied by the US Navy will actually be sold off. Martin is expecting a final decision in a month or two.

Some US mobile operators -- notably T-Mobile -- have been pushing the FCC to allocate the 3.5GHz band for 5G. (See T-Mobile Calls on FCC to Open 3.5GHz for 5G.)

Ruckus, however, says it doesn't need to wait for 5G. The CTO thinks that the combination of CBRS and WiFi can deliver the experience of 5G broadband, "without all the fuss and muss of 5G."

But can Arris be sure that FCC will support localized spectrum plans yet? (See Discussing 5G Spectrum on Capitol Hill.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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