Like many other operators, we are consdering deployments in the 3.65 band. We have a decent amount of M2 customers currently, and we need something NLOS to offload that traffic. Right now we are only selling those customers 5Mbps packages, some can only get 2Mbps.
There are several options available today that range from: Expensive and decent, to affordable and bleeding edge.
We made the decision to wait on our LTE deployments until things become more stable, or hopefully we get more information on the possibility of Airfiber LTU being released in that band someday.
The cost of waiting comes down to managing our aging Rocket M2 plant. With limited spectrum, we really cant add more than 3 sectors per tower.
So to get us by, we decided to test out some of the R2AC units. We tossed 14 up on towers and I am pretty dang excited with the results. They have been a nice shot in the arm when we needed it most! These will buy us time to make our decision on the CBRS band.
Here is one of our test sites. 2: AF5X, 2: R5AC-Prisms, 2 R2AC Prisms. Custom welded mount off of that pole.
The "busy" sector only has 13 customers on it at 10mhz. We have enough poor signal clients off of it.
100+days of uptime on the original 8.0 firmware it shipped with. Great stability in my experience, and I have far from perfect clients on there.
Upon swapping the Rockets out (same frequency,antenna, 10mhz CW, and power levels) I naturally wanted to see if my rates improved.
Ok cool, rates looked better... But does it actually perform any better? I checked in on my peak usage after a few weeks to get a good indication.
Instead of my 15-20mbps peak, I am now sustaining 25mbps and peaking at 30+Mbps at night.
I didnt save the speedtests, but technicians were reporting 5mbps max at a service call before the upgrade, after the swap they were getting closer to 9-10mbps during peak usage.
We then decided to swap out a few of the "power users" who had RocketM2's with R2AC models, the results were even better! We started pushing 15+Mbps with other traffic on the sector.
So yeah, when we get the 2.4 AC CPE's we can buy ourselves even more time to get by. I cannot wait to get 6x60 titanium sectors synced on a tower!
Oh and having active airview on a 2.4 noisy system is going to be pretty slick as well.
Our sector is on 2422 on the left, the other sector is on the right.
My only request is, have Airview filter out the interference signatures that are not relevent. It appears that the sector can see the clients when they TX? It makes it difficult to pick up true interference.
Other than that, the system has been stable in my experience, and the R2AC is VERY welcomed addition to my toolbox.