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Private Networks

Vendors tout CBRS network for COVID-19 treatments

Enterprise wireless specialist RF Connect has been championing the benefits of private networks on unlicensed spectrum by building demo CBRS networks to show to potential customers. When COVID-19 struck, the company was able to pivot those resources from demonstration to deployment.

The live CBRS network is in Illinois, one of the states hit hardest by COVID-19. In Springfield, Memorial Health System has set up triage tents and testing facilities outside a hospital. With help from volunteers at CommScope, Accu-Tech and Druid Software, RF Connect was able to quickly deploy a secure CBRS network that does not need power or cable infrastructure.

"We're profoundly grateful for the proactive offer from RF Connect and its partners to help," said Jerry Miller, Memorial's VP of information services, in a press release. "The temporary wireless network which complements our existing wireless and wired network empowers us to appropriately focus our attention and resources on providing patient care."

In addition to private LTE for CBRS-certified devices, Memorial's new network enables Wi-Fi connectivity for non-cellular and non-CBRS devices. It supports healthcare devices that normally connect to the hospital's indoor network.

"Now is the time to utilize every technology resource to help organizations that are on the front lines fighting this pandemic," said CommScope VP Upendra Pingle. CommScope provides the cloud-based software that enables CBRS by ensuring that private networks do not interfere with one another, or with incumbent users of the spectrum bands, such as the US Navy. CommScope also owns Ruckus, which makes CBRS access points.

Memorial's network uses the OnGo label that the industry is adopting for CBRS deployments. The FCC authorized full commercial deployments of OnGo service earlier this year, and this is one of the very first commercial deployments.

— Martha DeGrasse, special to Light Reading. Follow her @mardegrasse

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