The biggest benefit of 5G networks is the software-centric architecture. Powered by open source and cloud-native design principles, open 5G will have an order-of-magnitude lower OPEX. To that effect, software underpinning everything we build at FreedomFi is open source and all sales proceeds are reinvested towards making Magma software project better for all. Sponsor the project and help us build open future for 5G.

The biggest benefit of 5G networks is the software-centric architecture. Powered by open source and cloud-native design principles, open 5G will have an order-of-magnitude lower OPEX. To that effect, software underpinning everything we build at FreedomFi is open source and all sales proceeds are reinvested towards making Magma software project better for all. Sponsor the project and help us build open future for 5G.

Frequently-asked questions

How is 5G/LTE network different from WiFi?

At a high level, there are three key differences between 5G/LTE and Wi-Fi. The first difference is that wi-fi uses an unscheduled channel sharing mechanism, whereas 5G/LTE both use a scheduled channel sharing mechanism. The added control scheduled access means that 5G/LTE networks can deliver much higher quality of service, delivering the right data to the right client at the right time.
The second big difference is power. Wi-Fi uses unlicensed spectrum that is capped at 4 watts of output power for most use cases by regulation. Whereas 5G/LTE networks mainly use licensed, or license shared access spectrum (like CBRS) which have higher power limits. In the case of CBRS, the transmit power limit is 25 times higher than a 20 MHz Wi-Fi channel. Licensed spectrum limits are usually significantly higher still. That power means clear reception farther away from the base station.
The third key difference is security. 5G/LTE networks provide superior protection of user and control data compared to Wi-Fi networks. The use of physical security like SIM cards and mutual authentication of network and devices, provide additional protections over and above what is offered by Wi-Fi.

How does FreedomFi Gateway work?

The FreedomFi Gateway puts the core functions of a 4G/5G network close to the edge of the network to allow the greatest flexibility for customer deployments. Inside the FreedomFi Gateway are the core functions needed to provide network connectivity and policy enforcement for end devices. For example, the 4G FreedomFi gateway runs the MME, SGW, and PGW. Other services like the subscriber data in the HSS are housed in the cloud orchestrator. The FreedomFi Gateway supports the standard LTE and 5G southbound interfaces to commercial radios allowing customers to mix and match radios and avoid getting locked in to vendor relationships.

What is the relationship between FreedomFi Gateway and open source project Magma?

FreedomFi is actively contributing to the operation and roadmap of the Magma open source project. The FreedomFi Gateway is a curated and maintained version of the Magma Access Gateway (AGW). FreedomFi takes the Magma project software release and puts it through an additional layer of testing and hardening before we release an image to our customers.

Can I build my own 5G/LTE network using Magma, but without FreedomFi Gateway?

Yes. Magma is an open source project so anyone can go to the Magma GitHub repository and use the documentation to build an AGW similar to the FreedomFi Gateway. The difference between a Magma AGW and the FreedomFi Gateway will be ease of build and setup, additional stability and hardening, and support.

Other than FreedomFi Gateway, what else will I need to build a 5G/LTE network?

The key components of an 5G/LTE network are the core, a radio, spectrum and SIM cards. Depending on the package selected, FreedomFi can provide some or all of the needed components.
Read our blog to learn more about how to build our own, open Private LTE or 5G network.

What is the best small cell to buy that will work with FreedomFi Gateway?

For customers in the USA, the Baicells Nova-436q or the Accelleran E1000 are flagship products supporting the CBRS band 48 spectrum. In addition there are CBRS products from companies like Airspan, Blinq Networks, and traditional vendors like Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung.

Where can I buy 5G/LTE small cells?

Various web stores have access to CBRS radios in the US. Websites like Baltic Networks, Winncom Technologies, and DoubleRadius all sell 5G/LTE small cells. Alternatively, for bigger orders, customers can always engage incumbent vendors like Nokia, Ericsson, or Samsung.

Can the FreedomFi Gateway work with disaggregated macro cells?

Yes! The FreedomFi Gateway supports the standard “S1” interface for LTE and “N1/N2/N3” interfaces for 5G NR. So any cell supporting these standard interfaces can be used. Disaggregated cells break the base station into pieces below these standardized interfaces in the protocol stack e.g. F1 interface for split 2, or eCPRI or NGFI for split 7.

I was accidentally charged twice (or more) for the waitlist order, can I get a refund for the second charge?

We will sift through all double-orders and automatically refund the second charge as long as both charges are associated with the same email address. Nothing is required from you to correct this.

Is $100 waitlist deposit fully refundable?

Yes. If you want to refund, please send an email support@freedomfi.com please reference the email you used to register for the waitlist and order ID. If you haven’t received an order ID due to the error above, please wait 2 days. We will provide an order ID which you can later use to cancel the order.

Where can I get 5G/LTE spectrum?

In the USA you can work with an FCC approved SAS provider currently including Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, or Sony. Outside of the US, spectrum can be purchased from a regulator or via a partnership with a local mobile network operator.

Where can I get SIM cards?

We use SmartJac for our FreedomFi cards. They have been easy to work with and always very responsive. There are certainly other providers including tier-1 providers like Gemalto/ThalesGroup down to smaller vendors on Alibaba.

What is the minimum total cost to build my own LTE or 5G network with everything included?

Description Quantity Price
FreedomFi Gateway 1 $299
Small Cell 1 ~$4,500 (Baicells 436q retail)
Sim Card 1 $50 (SmartJac)
SAS Relationship 1 $20/mo/small cell (estimate)
CPE Device 1 ~$200 (older unlocked smartphone)

Do I need to buy a separate gateway for each small cell?

No, if the small cells can be connected back to a single FreedomFi Gateway via ethernet, multiple small cells and be provisioned on a single gateway. In this case the limiting factor becomes the ethernet port capacity. Please ask us for further information if you plan to use more than one small cell per gateway and we can help with capacity planning.

Can any device connect to my network?

No, only devices that have a SIM card for your network and support the frequency band in use can connect. In the US, most smartphones produced in the last 2 years support the CBRS band. You can use the website GSMArena.com to check if a device supports your band. Simply go to the site, plug in the device model, and click on the “expand” button in the Network row to see the supported bands.iNote that the CBRS frequency band is called Band 48 sometimes noted under a “TDD LTE” subsection.

Will the LTE/5G network I build using FreedomFi Gateway support voice calls?

No. The current version of FreedomFi gateway only implements the components to support data connections. Supporting voice calls requires the part of the network core referred to as “IMS” which Magma doesn’t currently implement. If voice support is critical to your project, please contact us and we can share alternative options as well as more details on Magma roadmap, pertaining to voice services.

Will the LTE/5G network I build using FreedomFi Gateway be able to roam with larger service provider networks?

Generally, no. Roaming into a third-party service provider network will require you to have a business relationship with that particular service provider. So while it is technically feasible to implement and there are a number of production implementations where Magma has been used for roaming to third-party service provider networks, it is not a service you’ll get out of the box by investing in a FreedomFi Gateway.

I was charged $100, but haven’t received my registration ID and/or email

We are aware of the issue. This has affected many people. If you have been charged that means your place in line is secured. We will send you a separate email with the confirmation ID number in the next couple of days.

I placed an order for gateway(s) from the main freedomfi.com website before I realized those gateways were not Helium network compatible. Can I please get a refund?

We will refund all gateway orders we received today. If you are looking for a gateway to build a Private CBRS network, please come back and re-order anytime after April 29th. Nothing is required from you. If the refund failed to process by the end of April 31st, please contact us at support@freedomfi.com

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