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How Higher Education Institutions are Building Private 4G-LTE/5G-NR Networks using The Band 41 at 2.5 GHz Spectrum

In this article, the authors take a deep dive into B41 band and give a brief history of the technology and showcase how First Nations and higher education facilities are using the spectrum.

Published onNov 26, 2023
How Higher Education Institutions are Building Private 4G-LTE/5G-NR Networks using The Band 41 at 2.5 GHz Spectrum


Band 41 (B41) is the 2.5 GHz radio spectrum frequency and is one of two spectrum bands that enable organizations within the United States to build private LTE/NR networks. The other frequency is Band 48 (B48), the 3.65 GHz spectrum better known as the Citizens Broad band Radio System (CBRS). Fortunately, Baicells offers cost-effective, easy-to-deploy private LTE/NR radios and customer premise equipment (CPEs) for both frequencies. In this article, we take a deep look into B41 band and give a brief history of the technology and showcase how organizations, businesses, and higher education facilities are using the spectrum.

Figure 1

4 Radios deployed and connected to provide 4G/5G connectivity


Initially, B41 was declared for educational use and called the Educational Broadband Service (EBS). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated the 2.5 GHz spectrum band (specifically 2496-2690 MHz) for educational television services in the United States. This allocation aimed to support educational programming and distance learning initiatives.

Over time, educational institutions and broadcasters that held licenses for the 2.5GHz spectrum found that they weren't utilizing the entire bandwidth. In the 1990s, the FCC introduced rules that allowed licensees to lease their unused spectrum to other entities, including telecommunications companies.

The 2.5GHz spectrum then garnered attention for its potential use in mobile broadband services. Sprint, now a pa rt of T-Mobile, realized the potential behind the spectrum and acquired a large amount of 2.5 GHz spectrum licenses from educational facilities that weren't using the technology.

As 4G LTE technology gained prominence in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Sprint began deploying 4G LTE networks in the 2.5G Hz spectrum. The band's characteristics, particularly its ability to offer good coverage and capacity, made it attractive for mobile broad band deployments.


Figure 2

Technical Summary of Nova452 Radio

B41 remains a popular wireless transmission vehicle in the United States, offering substantial bandwidth for data transmission for new and emerging private networks. In 2020, the U.S. government opened applications to allow First Nations to apply for 2.5GHz licenses. This effort is one of many by the federal government to combat the digital divide. By accepting 2.5G Hz license applications and thereby providing the nations with this technology, Tribal communities can now build effective wireless high-speed internet services. These networks can offer high-speed, reliable internet services for backhauls, point-to-point (PTP), and point-to-multi-point (PTMP) deployments. The nature of the 2.5GHz spectrum allows for transmission for several miles while penetrating foliage and providing speeds up to 100 Mbps on the down link.

Higher education facilities can leverage B41 to enhance their wireless communication infrastructure and offer various benefits to students, faculty, and staff. Leveraging private LTE networks enable these organizations to remain competitive across the fierce landscape of grants, research, and recruitment. B41 networks let universities and campuses offer general high-speed internet connectivity that can hel p offload existing Wi-Fi networks, especially in high-traffic areas such as libraries, cafeterias, and lecture halls. It can enable remote learning, improve campus security using wireless IP cameras, enable smart applications and IoT devices, and support research and development projects.


B41 offers several benefits that have made it an attractive choice for wireless communication:

Figure 3

Deployed Basestation Site using NOVA452 Radio

  • High Data Speeds: B41 provides substantial bandwidth, allowing faster data transmission speeds. This characteristic makes it ideal for delivering high-quality multimedia content, supporting video streaming, online gaming, and other data-intensive applications.

  • Wide Coverage: The 2.5GHz frequency range enables relatively wide coverage per cell site compared to higher-frequency bands. This makes B41 well-suited for providing coverage in urban and suburban areas, as well as rural regions, enhancing connectivity in various environments.

  • Urban Capacity: In densely populated urban areas, B41 can handle many concurrent users and data-hungry applications without compromising network performance. This capability ensures a smooth and seamless user experience, even during peak usage times, making it ideal for higher-ed environments.

  • Network Efficiency: B41's wider bandwidth allows for efficient network management and increased capacity. It can support higher user densities, reducing congestion and enhancing overall network efficiency.

  • LTE and SG Compatibility: B41 has been widely deployed for DC LTE networks, and with the evolution to 5G, it continues to play a crucial role. This compatibility allows for a seamless transition from DC to 5G, ensuring future-proofed network upgrades.

  • Spectrum Reuse and Carrier Assregation: B41's larger bandwidth enables the deployment of carrier aggregation techniques, where multiple frequency bands can be combined to increase data rates. This spectrum reuse capability helps optimize spectrum utilization, delivering better user performance.

  • Backhaul Support: B41's wide bandwidth also facilitates higher-capacity backhaul connections, ensuring that the cell sites can handle the increased data traffic effectively.

  • Carrier Deployment and Infrastructure: As B41 is already deployed by major cellular carriers, it benefits from well-established infrastructure and extensive coverage in many regions. This deployment history makes it easier for carriers to expand their networks and offer better services to consumers.

Figure 4

Providing connectivity to remote far rural areas


In conclusion, the 2.5G Hz spectrum, specifically B41, has evolved from its original educational allocation to become a powerful tool for wireless communication in the United States. With its comprehensive coverage, high data speeds, and compatibility with LTE and 5G technologies, B41 has become a valuable resource for various industries, including higher education.

First Nations and higher education facilities have recognized the potential of B41 and are utilizing it to build private LTE networks. For First Nations, obtaining 2.5GHz licenses has opened doors to building effective wireless high-speed internet services, bridging the digital divide and empowering Tribal communities with reliable connectivity. On the other hand, higher education institutions can leverage B41 to enhance campus-wide communication, facilitate distance learning, and implement smart campus solutions.

As the technology landscape continues to advance, it is essential for both First Nations and higher education institutions to embrace the opportunities that B41 presents. By harnessing the potential of this spectrum band, these organizations can provide reliable, high-speed connectivity and drive innovation, ultimately enriching the lives and experiences of their comm unities and stakeholders. To learn more about Baicells B41 offering, please visit

Figure 5



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