Tuesday, January 31, 2017

AT&T Advances Project AirGig to Trials

AT&T reported progress with its Project AirGig, which aims to deploy low-cost plastic antennas along medium-voltage power lines as a means of propagating millimeter wave (mmWave) signals that can be used for 4G LTE and 5G multi-gigabit mobile and fixed deployments. AT&T confirmed that it is now in advanced discussions with power companies and others to trial Project AirGig in at least two locations by this fall. One location will be in the United States with others to be determined in the coming months.

Project AirGig ueses patented broadband-over-power lines (BPL) technology developed at AT&T Labs.  The technology has been tested at an AT&T outdoor facility for some time with positive results, leading to the development of new innovations like the Radio Distributed Antenna System (RDAS).

Significantly, there’s no direct electrical connection to the power line required and it has the potential of multi-gigabit speeds in urban, rural and underserved parts of the world.

“We are looking forward to begin testing the possibilities of AT&T Labs’ invention for customers and utility companies,” said Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer. “AT&T is focused on delivering a gigabit-per-second speed everywhere we can with our wired and wireless technologies. Project AirGig represents a key invention in our 5G Evolution approach. AT&T Labs is ‘writing the textbook’ for a new technology approach that has the potential to deliver benefits to utility companies and bring this multi-gigabit, low-cost internet connectivity anywhere there are power lines – big urban market, small rural town, globally.”

AT&T noted that it now has more than 200 patents and patent applications for Project AirGig. AT&T Labs engineers and scientists invented low-cost plastic antennas, a Radio Distributed Antenna System (RDAS), mmWave surface wave launchers and inductive power devices. The RDAS will reconstruct signals for multi-gigabit mobile and fixed deployments. A typical DAS carries cellular signals throughout buildings and stadiums, using fiber and/or coaxial cables to transmit analog signals.

AT&T also confirmed that it has started deploying small cells using Centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture on light posts in San Francisco.

In addition, based on the learnings of a G.fast trial at a multifamily property in Minneapolis, AT&T now plans to make G.fast access available at additional locations beginning mid-2017.


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