AT&T begins 5G field trials in Austin

AT&T begins 5G field trials in Austin

Verizon may have been first to start the 5G field trials, but AT&T isn't lagging far behind. The second largest U.S. carrier has also taken its 5G wireless tech from the lab and out into the field with Intel and Ericsson as partners in the effort.

On Monday, AT&T began the official trials of its next-gen wireless technology in one of Intel's offices in Austin, Texas. Although the finalization of 5G network protocols is still years away, this is yet another early step toward the eventual adoption of the standard.

“This trial is a significant step forward. We’re leaving the lab and heading into the field with a real-world business customer,” said Rick Hubbard, senior vice president – Networking Product Management, AT&T.

The carrier is using millimeter wave (mmWave) technology to power its 5G network in Austin. This technology relies on the 15 GHz and 28 GHz high frequency bands, which makes possible the transfer of large volumes of data very fast over short distances. However, due to the higher frequencies, current 5G equipment struggles when transmitting data through obstructions, such as walls, glass windows, and even trees, and is very limited in terms of range.

Although the technology still has ways to go, AT&T is particularly interested in its video streaming and VoIP capabilities, as these are the two major current devourers of mobile data, but will be conducting a variety of other tests as well.

“The future of video is mobile. And the future of mobile is video,” said Tom Keathley, senior vice president, wireless network architecture and design, AT&T. “Mobile video streaming continues to be a vital aspect of our 5G work, and this trial gives us an opportunity to test 4K HD video streaming across further physical distances between pieces of equipment. With our 5G and 4G LTE advancements, we expect speeds rivaling what we see from cable providers. Our path to 5G will help make this vision a reality faster.”

AT&T plans to expand its 5G trials by providing next-gen wireless network connectivity to a few more fixed locations in Austin before the end of the year.

AT&T begins 5G field trials in Austin
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source: AT&T via AndroidAuthority

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1 Comment

1. phonehome

Posts: 812; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Have to say that 4G LTE (AT&T in particular that I use) is pretty damn good. I rarely get under 10mbps download, and even with that have little to no hiccups when streaming 1080p video. Downloading it can sometimes take a while, but that's when I am asleep. The noticible differences with gigabit wireless 5G will be with gaming (can't be that great with 4G LTE - especially if a graphic-intensive game) and 4K video on TV sets. And of course data caps is another issue. The wireless telecoms (especially Verizon) need to stop treating that like a finite resource. As for the issue with 5G being able to penetrate glass and trees, AT&T is also testing* delivering data signal via existing power lines (otherwise wirelessly). Maybe they even continue it into the home via local wiring which would solve much penetration issues. *http://about.att.com/newsroom/att_to_test_delivering_multi_gigabit_wireless_internet_speeds_using_power_lines.html

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