Kumu Networks announced it demonstrated a private 5G smart repeater as part of its National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) contract award. Being part of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Dynamic Spectrum Sharing 5G Network Enhancements Program, Kumu Networks has created a prototype 5G Interference Canceling Repeater (ICR) that is under evaluation for use as part of a DOD testbed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. With support from the NSC and DOD, Kumu’s newly developed ICR achieves 1000x more gain than traditional repeaters and finally makes it possible for high range, infrastructure grade repeaters to be rapidly deployed on a single pole or mast. This solves the age-old challenge of traditional, non-interfering canceling repeaters that require tens of feet of separation between the antennas, and other complexities which have so far restricted their widespread adoption.

5G private networks promise to deliver reliable, low latency, seamless mobility and indoor-outdoor connectivity solutions to industrial enterprises and massively transform such enterprises similar to how Wi-Fi transformed offices over the past two decades. To achieve that, they need expansive and reliable coverage requiring deployment of many expensive 5G base stations with high-cost backhaul and other complexities. In such cases, a mix of 5G base stations and ICRs is an excellent cost-effective option that can be easily and rapidly deployed. This also significantly reduces the entry barrier for small and medium enterprises to utilize private networks for their needs. However, so far the cost of deploying private 5G is much higher than the cost of deploying enterprise Wi-Fi largely because of the high price of the 5G base stations themselves, the cost and complexity of mounting base stations and the difficulty in provisioning backhaul in most such environments.

“Private 5G networks have enormous and critical utility both for defense and commercial usage, but ease of deployment and total cost of ownership are critical issues for success.” said Kumu Networks CEO David Cutrer. “With the help of DOD funding, Kumu has taken a leading role in addressing both these challenges and we are excited that by using Kumu’s ICR, private 5G network deployment costs can be reduced by more than 40 percent.”

Deb Stanislawski, director, Tranche Prototyping and Experimentation and sponsor of the effort added, "The Kumu 5G smart repeaters developed for the Hill AFB experiment have helped demonstrate how dual-use 5G technology can help ensure 5G spectrum users can operate without interfering with other users. A future capability of the ICR will enable spectrum sharing with airborne radar or existing military systems. This is a great example of how collaboration with our industry partners creates innovative solutions to benefit all 5G users."

By using 5G Self-Interference Canceling ICR’s where backhaul provisioning and installation challenges exist in industrial environments, the economics of Private 5G deployments can be dramatically improved thus leading to exponentially higher adoption.

5G ICR’s that use Kumu Self-Interference Cancellation are currently sampling for the CBRS, n77/n78 and C-Band.