DoD Selects Kumu Networks to Lead 5G IAB Prototype Project for Spectrum Sharing
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | Comments

The Department of Defense (DoD) selected Kumu Networks to lead its Dynamic Spectrum Sharing 5G Network Enhancements Prototype program.

Under the framework of the program, Kumu Networks will prototype a 5G full-duplex integrated access backhaul (IAB) and test it at scale in Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The cutting-edge 5G testing and experimentation program allows Kumu Networks to accelerate its development of the much-needed capacity and coverage extension solution, while targeting dual use in both the commercial and defense environments.

The prototypes are intended to ensure the greatest effective and efficient use of the department’s spectrum for training, readiness and lethality. Kumu Networks’ Self-Interference Cancellation enables IAB solutions to reuse the access spectrum for the backhaul, doubling spectral efficiency. With the introduction of features based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 17 that facilitate multihop IABs, full-duplex solutions would be far superior to other forms of IABs since they could maintain high user throughput across many more hops. This is critical to both commercial telecom operators who must densify 5G footprint, as well as tactical military networks that completely rely on wireless connectivity.

“The key challenge for 5G coverage is to counter the negative effects of high-frequency signal propagation,” said Kumu Networks CEO David Cutter. “This requires creative solutions, both at the radio and network layers. Unlike other IAB schemes, Kumu Networks’ solution does not compromise on performance or scalability, allowing for perfect frequency reuse. The DOD faces a unique set of deployment and operational challenges, and we are excited to contribute to their efforts to innovate and ensure that the U.S. military communications capabilities are at the forefront of technology.”

The DoD frequencies are adjacent to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, where 5G private networks are likely to flourish, and to the widely used standard 3GPP n77 and n78 bands. This allows for efficient use of funds for developing products that can be immediately rolled out to the commercial market, in addition to the defense market. The DoD frequencies are also in close proximity to the recently auctioned C-band frequencies in the U.S. that yielded more than $80 billion for only 280 megahertz, highlighting the importance of highly efficient spectrum utilization.

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