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CBRS VS WI-FI: Why CBRS Will be the Gold Standard for Building Managers – Motorola

Sometimes, yesterday’s brilliant technology solution can evolve into today’s vexing technology problem. One example that commercial building managers are very familiar with is addressing the need for network connectivity in their buildings. While often sufficient for casual phone or laptop users, Wi-Fi is not designed to address unified communications and enterprise collaboration needs. And addressing the root cause of any Wi-Fi issue can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming.

As the demands on Wi-Fi have increased, its performance in business settings has often decreased. This is all occurring at a time when wireless has essentially become a “fourth utility,” equal in importance to power, water and HVAC.

Wi-Fi was never designed to meet the needs of complex, large-scale commercial operations. If you want reliable, split-second communications and secure networks, bringing consumer broadband to a commercial site is not the best option, especially large-scale commercial real estate like factories, hotels and multi-building campuses.

The great news is that there is a solution to the problems faced by businesses trying to use commercial Wi-Fi to meet their communications needs. It’s called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Whether you’re a building manager tasked with ensuring the best possible service for your tenants or a business looking to provide the best coverage and capacity at faster speeds for your employees, CBRS can handle your complex wireless needs.

CBRS was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address connectivity challenges that businesses were facing with commercial Wi-Fi. Based on LTE radio technology, CBRS operates on a 150 MHz slice of the 3.5 GHz radio spectrum that was formerly allocated to little-used U.S. government satellite and radar systems. This spectrum is managed and licensed to users through a service called Spectrum Allocation System (SAS), which provides exclusive access to the spectrum without requiring a license application to the FCC.

Because the CBRS spectrum isn’t shared the way Wi-Fi is, the FCC allows businesses to use more powerful transmitters, which means fewer access points are needed to cover the same amount of real estate. In a large piece of commercial real estate, a single CBRS access point can cover the same area that five or six Wi-Fi access points would have. That means fewer installations, lower maintenance costs and major savings—all with peak performance.

And during this time of constant security concerns, CBRS is also inherently more secure than Wi-Fi. CBRS utilizes SIM cards, so network administrators have complete control over who is—and is not—on the network. No SIM, no access. If employees leave their jobs or if their devices are lost, SIMs can be disabled to protect the enterprise and device security.

The rapidly changing nature of how devices are used in the workplace is another reason to consider CBRS. A 2019 Motorola Solutions survey found more than 75 percent of workers now use multiple devices to communicate in the workplace. Having the right device at the right time eliminates communication barriers even when users have the need to work on specific devices due to regulatory or safety concerns.

Unified team communications capabilities place an ever-increasing demand on connectivity and data consumption that Wi-Fi alone can’t meet. However, access to a CBRS network supports this type of environment and brings confidence to users that they can complete their tasks efficiently.

Other business benefits of CBRS over Wi-Fi include:

• Two to four times the range of Wi-Fi

• More than double Wi-Fi’s data capacity

• More efficient streaming data capability

• Full mobility support, with no interruptions as you move within the coverage area

Motorola Solutions is pioneering ways to make the most of this opportunity for businesses. Our new MOTOTRBO Nitro is the first fully managed solution for business-critical voice and broadband data. It allows businesses to have trusted push-to-talk functionality combined with a comprehensive, private LTE data network. In addition to push-to-talk, it features video feeds, enterprise security and workflow applications and the first purpose-built two-way radio to work on the CBRS network, the SLN 1000.

Better yet, we ensured that MOTOTRBO Nitro can be easily integrated into your business. You simply mount your Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device (the CBRS equivalent to a Wi-Fi access point), add power and Ethernet and then configure it through the Nitro Cloud Portal. Delivered as a service, Nitro requires no up-front fees or capital expense: You simply pay a predictable monthly fee. While you have full control over access and visibility into performance metrics, Motorola Solutions operates and manages the network core, so you never have to worry about system updates or security patches.

In the past, businesses were stuck using consumer broad-band services to meet their communications needs on their commercial sites–and often faced issues with coverage, capacity and network speeds. With the emergence of CBRS, that issue has been addressed with a solution designed to precisely meet the broadband needs of modern businesses, allowing you to concentrate more on your business and less on managing your wireless needs.

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