AT&T is conducting 5G trials and using the data collected to contribute to the 3GPP wireless standards body’s work on 5G. The telecom giant is deploying equipment, investing in a specific mix of spectrum and technology, and laying the foundation for its evolution to 5G. AT&T intends to deliver state-of-the-art 5G speeds as soon as late 2018.
Following are some tests and trials that the company has been performing recently, resulting in new intelligence about millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum.
AT&T 5G: mmWave Performance
In 2017, AT&T launched a series of fixed wireless 5G trials to business and residential customers, gaining insight into mmWave performance and propagation. The company is learning interference-related lessons involving device placement, surrounding environment (foliage, building materials), and weather — specifically, how those things impact the signal and system in real-world environments.
“Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G,” said Marachel Knight, SVP, wireless network architecture and design at AT&T. “And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”
AT&T plans to continue testing fixed and mobile wireless solutions operating in the mmWave spectrum. What the company learns from these AT&T 5G trials should help speed up standards-based deployment as early as late 2018.
AT&T 5G: Faster Broadband
Concurrently, AT&T is testing faster broadband service in which a connection’s last leg is delivered by mmWave to a home or business. The company delivered an ultra-fast Internet connection to residential, small business, and enterprise locations. Trial participants were able to enjoy faster broadband services and stream live TV via DirectTV Now over a fixed wireless 5G signal.
“The technology behind 5G is about advancing social trends like mobile video streaming,” said Knight. “The network of the future will help redefine what connectivity means to both consumers and businesses. This trial helps show that the new reality is coming fast.”
AT&T expects 5G to introduce new experiences and use cases to consumers and businesses—largely thanks to the advantages of enhanced mobile broadband, critical Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and low-latency applications. Participants in this trial were able to experience the real-life benefits that fixed wireless 5G offers.
The AT&T 5G Future
By conducting its tests and trials with a variety of audiences, AT&T is gaining new insights into mmWave performance characteristics that are necessary for industry standards development. The company is working with other top players to make 5G a reality.