CBRS stands for Citizens Broadband Radio Service, and PALS stands for Priority Access License System. The 3.5 GHz frequency band, specifically 3550-3700 MHz, is a spectrum range in the United States that has been designated for shared and flexible use through the CBRS framework. CBRS enables a variety of wireless communication services, including mobile broadband, fixed wireless access, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The Priority Access License System (PALS) is a component of the CBRS framework that allows entities to obtain priority access to a portion of the 3.5 GHz spectrum for a specified geographic area and time period. PALS licenses provide a higher level of spectrum access priority compared to the General Authorized Access (GAA) tier, which is open for unlicensed use. PALS licensees are protected from interference by GAA users and receive priority status in their designated geographic area.

Key points about CBRS PALS in the 3.5 GHz band include:

  1. Spectrum Sharing: CBRS operates on the basis of spectrum sharing, where multiple users, including federal incumbents, Priority Access Licensees (PALS), and General Authorized Access (GAA) users, can coexist in the same frequency band.

  2. PALS Licensing: PALS licenses are auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eligible entities. These licenses provide higher spectrum access priority compared to the GAA tier.

  3. Geographic Licensing: PALS licenses are issued on a county-by-county basis. Licensees specify the geographic area (census tract) where they intend to operate.

  4. Spectrum Management: Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators are responsible for managing spectrum allocation and coordinating the use of the CBRS spectrum. SAS technology ensures that PALS and GAA users coexist without causing harmful interference.

  5. Use Cases: The CBRS spectrum and PALS licensing can be used for a range of applications, including private LTE networks, industrial IoT, rural broadband expansion, smart city deployments, and more.

  6. Shared Spectrum Benefits: CBRS with PALS introduces a more efficient use of spectrum by dynamically assigning priority access while still allowing unlicensed users to access the spectrum when it’s not in use by higher-priority users.

  7. Wireless Innovation: CBRS and PALS are aimed at fostering wireless innovation, expanding broadband coverage, and promoting new services that benefit consumers and businesses.

CBRS, with its PALS licensing, represents a dynamic and innovative approach to spectrum management, enabling various stakeholders to share and utilize the 3.5 GHz spectrum band for improved connectivity and the deployment of advanced wireless services.