We recently sat down with Stephen Leotis, President & Co-Founder of MosoLabs, to discuss the advantages of a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) domain proxy in private cellular networks. As this Q&A highlights, an integrated CBRS domain proxy can offer several key benefits over direct radio CBRS Spectrum Access System (SAS) communication, including centralized spectrum management, enhanced zero-touch provisioning, and robust security.
Q: What is CBRS and how does it enable private cellular networks?
Stephen: CBRS is a band of radio-frequency spectrum (3.55 to 3.7 GHz) with a unique sharing framework that has enabled new innovations including private and neutral host networks. In 2020, the FCC authorized use of CBRS using a spectrum access scheme following a three-tiered access framework for incumbents, priority access licensees (PAL), and general authorized access (GAA) users. CBRS offers a balance between the coverage of lower frequencies and capacity of higher frequencies and delivers spectrum access, which has enabled the growth of an open ecosystem of private network and neutral host network solutions.
Q: What is the difference between a direct CBRS SAS and CBRS domain proxy configuration?
Stephen: CBRS relies on the SAS to ensure efficient, interference-free spectrum allocation using a coordinated system that cross-checks FCC databases and manages Citizens Broadband Radio Service Devices (CBSDs).
CBSDs can directly communicate with the SAS to request access to desired spectrum and maintain use of this spectrum with each radio maintaining its own SAS grant. Conversely, a CBRS domain proxy acts as an intelligent intermediary between multiple CBSDs and the SAS. It aggregates, centralizes, and securely manages all SAS-related interactions, including registration and grant requests. A CBRS domain proxy configuration is particularly crucial for private mobile network users with strict security requirements who want an air gap between their network and the internet.
Q: What are some of the key security concerns prompting private network operators and businesses to choose a CBRS domain proxy over a direct SAS configuration?
Stephen: Many organizations are wary of the potential security risks associated with the RAN communicating directly with the CBRS SAS, including those in military and aerospace, healthcare, and Industry 4.0. An air gapped private wireless network may be considered for many reasons including protecting business assets and isolating sensitive or confidential data/information. Preventing direct CBSD communication with the internet air gaps private cellular networks and eliminates an attack vector for malicious actors. A CBRS domain proxy behind a security gateway further mitigates security risks by enforcing strict authentication and verification protocols.
Q: How do CBRS domain proxies streamline day-to-day management of private cellular networks?
Stephen: CBRS domain proxies aggregate key spectrum and network analytics in a centralized system, helping private network operators efficiently monitor, manage, and update CBSDs and systems across geographic locations. This capability is particularly important in areas near naval ports or military bases where CBRS spectrum limits—whether planned or unplanned—are implemented. Enhanced Spectrum Control (ESC) plays a crucial role to ensure incumbents, such as naval radar systems, retain priority access. Put simply, ESC detects incumbent use and dynamically adjusts CBRS band availability, protecting critical operations while maximizing spectrum utility for PAL and GAA users. CBRS domain proxies also enable flexible options to ensure continuous spectrum availability across the US.
Figure 1. The complex interaction between the SAS, FCC databases, CBRS Domain Proxy, and CBSDs.
Q: Can CBRS domain proxies accelerate and simplify private cellular network deployments?
Stephen: They absolutely can. CBRS domain proxies precisely determine key requirements for CBSDs, including frequency, bandwidth, and transmit power. A CBRS domain proxy can help operators and businesses cost-effectively plan and simulate spectrum allocation before a single radio is even installed! Certified professional installers (CPIs) then set these variables allocating spectrum for all CBSDs regardless of geographic location. CBRS domain proxies enable a scalable and efficient installation process for private wireless networks as well as Day 2 spectrum management from registration, grant, and heartbeat to inquiries, relinquishment, and deregistration.
Q: What are the benefits of an integrated CBRS domain proxy?
Stephen: Moso Control, a cloud-native, virtualized Kubernetes-based platform, integrates a CBRS domain proxy with built-in redundancy to automatically register and manage CBSDs from the moment they are connected to the network. Moso Control ensures radios are properly configured based on specific parameters and policies required for customer deployments. We refer to these capabilities as zero-touch provisioning which dramatically simplify the installation process for private networks. In addition to CBRS domain proxy integrated with Moso Control, customers have access to robust RAN management features in a single integrated platform including:
- Zero-touch RAN provisioning;
- Radio management, diagnostics, and upgrades;
- Network KPI monitoring and reporting; and
- Northbound API for integration.
Q: How can someone get access to the integrated CBRS domain proxy in Moso Control?