Kumu Networks Awarded DOD Contract to Prototype 5G Full-Duplex Integrated Access Backhaul Solution

Kumu Networks has been selected to lead a Department of Defense’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing 5G Network Enhancements Prototype program. Under the framework of this program, Kumu Networks will prototype a 5G Full-Duplex Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB) and test it at scale at 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 DoD Dynamic Spectrum Sharing prototypes are intended to ensure the greatest effective and efficient use of the Department of Defense’s spectrum for training, readiness, and lethality. Kumu Networks’ self-interference Cancellation uniquely and optimally enables IAB solutions to reuse the access spectrum for the backhaul, doubling spectral efficiency. With the introduction of features based on 3GPP Rel. 17 that facilitates multi-hop 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 a 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. 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 is excited to contribute to its efforts to innovate and ensure that the US military communications capabilities are at the forefront of technology.

The DoD frequencies are adjacent to the 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 close to the recently auctioned C-Band frequencies in the USA that yielded over $80B for only 280  MHz, highlighting the importance of highly efficient spectrum utilization.

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