Spectrum, the medium on which wireless communication relies, is a very important resource, and a scarce one when it comes to 4G, 5G, and other wireless technologies like TVWS and Wi-Fi.

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Just recently, C-Band actioning saw about half a dozen companies spend over $80 billion for this part of the spectrum, 3300-4200 MHz (3700-3980 MHz in the US.). That is a vast amount of money, and it shows how important C-band is, especially for 5G.

Essentially, C-band is all frequencies between 4 and 8 GHz. C-Band was initially used for satellite TV but is currently used for satellite downlink for broadcast television distribution (Initial users in the auctioned spectrum had been given time to relocate).

ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has divided the C-Band into 3 bands; n77, n78, and n79. The US uses band n77, and there is already equipment that supports this band.

There are also antennas for signal improvement on this band.

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For a better 5G experience, the spectrum needs to be wider and dedicated, ideally 50MHz or wider. For it to have a decent range, frequencies of 6GHz and below are ideal.

This is why C-Band is important and one of the popular forms of 5G. The band sits between the 2 popular Wi-Fi bands, 2.4GHz, and 5GHz. FCC has also auctioned 280MHz of radio waves, so there is plenty of bandwidth for different carriers and can cover decent range (this really depends on the environment, terrain, foliage, and Infrastructure).

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The first 100MHz of the C-band in the US is set to be available for most parts of the country with Verizon and AT&T carriers (60/40 split between the former and the latter respectively). The other 180MHz BW is scheduled to be available by end of 2023 (this will include more of Verizon and AT&T as well as T-Mobile, US-Cellular, and other local phone carriers).

5G NR test trials are also being done in the Millimeter-wave ranges as they offer more bandwidth. Traditionally, these high frequencies were avoided due to their high propagation loss.

However, there are several techniques being used to benefit from these frequencies such as:
  • Massive MIMO
  • Small Cell Networks
  • Beamforming
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Read more about 5G-NR NSA and SA here. You can peruse more 5G-NR devices here.

Contact Rfwel wireless specialists on your next Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) project to learn how to utilize C-Band spectrum in wireless networks. You may also reach us at +1.480.218.1877 Option 2.