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Private Cellular and Wi-Fi: Performance
Private Cellular and Wi-Fi: Performance

Reminder on how Private Cellular and Wi-Fi compare on radio / wireless coverage and capacity

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Written by Team Celona
Updated over a week ago


Below table is supposed serve as a reminder on how Wi-Fi and Private Cellular (CBRS spectrum in US) wireless differ in their fundamental approach to mobility, coverage, spectrum management and more.

For engineers who are experts in designing and deploying Wi-Fi networks, studying these differences will inform how they can influence co-existence of these two technologies in the same enterprise environment.

Technical Aspect

Private Cellular


Spectrum Coordination

  • Coordinated Spectrum Allocation between networks by SAS

  • 150 MHz Available Currently

  • Centralized Incumbent Protections (SAS ESC)

  • Unlicensed Spectrum used by Multiple Technologies

  • 563 MHz (plus 1.2 GHz coming in 6 GHz bands)

  • Distributed Incumbent Protection (AP DFS)

Coverage Range

  • Higher Transmit Power

  • Noise Floor based on OFDMA sub-carriers (15 KHz)

  • Lower Transmit Power

  • Noise Floor based on full channel width (20+ MHz)

Traffic Handling

  • Scheduled by Infrastructure

  • Weighted Upload and Download Profiles

  • Distributed Contention across Clients & APs

  • Dynamic Allocation in Either Direction

Quality of Service

  • Deterministic QoS due to scheduling

  • Mandatory RF Feedback Loop & Controls (CQI, AMC)

  • Statistical Prioritization due to contention

  • Optional RF Feedback Loop (802.11kv)

Density Handling

  • Dual Factor OFDMA (Freq. & Time Domains)

  • Co-Channel Interference is Non-Blocking

  • Single Factor OFDMA (Frequency Domain)

  • Legacy OFDM Still Prevalent

  • Co-Channel Interference is Blocking


  • Precisely Timed Handovers

  • Infrastructure Controlled Handover Decisions

  • Client Off-Channel Scanning Required

  • Client Controlled Roaming Decisions

Private Cellular and Wi-Fi: What’s More Reliable?

In the following episode of our Field Journal video playlist, we’re comparing Private Cellular (e.g. CBRS spectrum in US) and Wi-Fi to find out how each technology offers reliability for enterprise wireless. We have tried to answer questions like:

  • How do private cellular and Wi-Fi compare in terms of reliability and speed?

  • Does Wi-Fi scale as well as private LTE?

  • How is QoS handled differently in private cellular than in Wi-Fi?

Private Cellular and Wi-Fi: Which Has More Coverage?

In the next episode, we’re comparing Private Cellular (e.g. CBRS spectrum in US) and Wi-Fi to find out how each technology is designed to maximize wireless network coverage and capacity. We have tried to answer questions like:

  • What does private cellular offer that Wi-Fi doesn’t in terms of coverage?

  • Do both wireless technologies use the same amount of power?

  • How does OFDMA work, and why is it more efficient with private cellular?

  • How can private cellular access points work to reduce wireless noise?

Private Cellular and Wi-Fi: How Does Each Handle Client Mobility?

Capabilities of these two technologies in handling client device mobility across access points within a wireless network are no exception. In this episode, we have tried to give answers to questions like:

  • How does infrastructure controlled mobility work for private cellular networks?

  • What are the methods used in Wi-Fi to support client based mobility decisions?

  • Which metrics are important to keep track of when comparing two technologies?

"CBRS and Wi-Fi: Friends or Foes?" - A Discussion with CWNP

In this webinar, CWNP's CTO Tom Carpenter joins Celona's Andrew von Nagy for a discussion on the following topics:

  • What are the differences in onboarding Wi-Fi and private cellular (supported by CBRS in US) capable devices to enterprise networks?

  • How do these devices behave as they move between WI-Fi and private cellular / CBRS access points?

  • How should enterprise IT teams think about network access control with Wi-Fi and private cellular (CBRS spectrum in US)?

  • How does each technology tackle dynamic RF channel / power management across access points?

  • What are the methods to ensure app level QoS and high network capacity with each technology?

For a deeper dive into the operational principles of the CBRS spectrum in US and private LTE / 5G wireless technology fundamentals, tune into the rest of our videos as part of our Field Journal playlist. To see Celona's unique private cellular "5G LAN" solution in action, pick one of our options for a product journey.

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