AT&T is expanding its 5G lab trial work in collaboration with Nokia. Specifically, 5G system and software architecture lab work is now underway at AT&T facilities in Middletown, N.J., Atlanta, Ga. and San Ramon, California. Nokia is supplying test equipment for a variety of 5G technology building blocks and features, including sub-6Hz and mmWave spectrum use, low latency, advanced beamforming and very high throughput.
"We've seen great results in our 5G lab trials, including reaching speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early tests with Ericsson," said Tom Keathley, senior vice president – wireless network architecture and design, AT&T. "Nokia is joining to help us test millimeter wave (mmWave), which we expect to play a key role in 5G development and deployment. The work coming out of AT&T Labs will pave the way toward future international 5G standards and allow us to deliver these fast 5G speeds and network performance across the U.S."
AT&T noted that early latency performance tests have shown positive signs for future consumer experiences, such as self-driving cars.
In the coming months, the carrier expects to conduct outdoor 5G wireless connectivity trials to fixed locations in cities such as Austin, Texas and Middletown, N.J.
AT&T expects 5G to deliver speeds 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections. Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. 5G latency is expected to be in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.
“New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before,” said John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President, AT&T Technology and Operations.
“These technologies will be immersive, pervasive and responsive to customers. 5G will help make them a reality. 5G will reach its full potential because we will build it on a software-centric architecture that can adapt quickly to new demands and give customers more control of their network services. Our approach is simple – deliver a unified experience built with 5G, software-defined networking (SDN), Big Data, security and open source software.”
AT&T said technologies such as millimeter waves, NFV, and SDN will be among the key ingredients for future 5G experiences. AT&T Labs has been working on these technologies for years and has filed dozens of patents connected with them.
Some additional notes:
- Data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network grew more than 150,000% from 2007 through 2015, driven largely by video.
- More than 60% of the data traffic on the AT&T network was video in 2015.
- AT&T already has 14 million wireless customers on its virtualized network and will millions more this year.