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04 May

AT&T® Outlines Commercial Fixed Wireless 5G Deployment Strategies

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As per the results of fixed 5G trials conducted in select cities, AT&T® anticipates 5G mobile services that operate on mmWave spectrum to have transmitters placed inside 150 to 250 meters from one site to the other. The current mobile broadband services of AT&T® are deployed through a network infrastructure, which operates on 700 megahertz to 2 gigahertz band. However, AT&T® plans to deploy 5G mobile services that rely on 39 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. This band not only offers higher speeds and lower latency rates of below 10 milliseconds, but also transmits signals almost as good as the airwaves of lower band.

The Chief Financial Officer of AT&T®, John Stephens, said that the officials of the best internet provider are persuaded by the outcomes of fixed 5G tests. “We’re seeing gigabit-plus speeds under line-of-sight conditions to distances up to 900 feet and with extremely low latency rates, some as low as 9 milliseconds,” he said during a quarterly earnings call of AT&T®. “These trials have shown that millimeter-wave [signals are] able to penetrate foliage, glass—and even walls—better than anticipated with no discernible signal performance impacts due to rain, snow or other weather issues.”

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The Assistant VP of Radio Technology and Strategy at AT&T® Labs, Dave Wolster, said that the engineers of the company are certain that fixed wireless connections that operate on mmWave spectrum will deliver desired signals, even at ranges above 300 meters and under conditions favorable to line of sight communication. “With fixed wireless at millimeter wave, we have a lot of antenna gain to work with,” Wolter said. “At the base station, we have an antenna array of maybe 64 elements that are beam-forming, so they concentrate the energy in the direction of interest toward your user. The user also has an antenna array with higher gain than what you would have in a mobile device, and it uses higher power than typical mobile devices are using.”

The best internet provider expects fixed antennas to be placed outside of a construction window using Low-E glass, unlike how they used it inside of such windows in fixed 5G tests. “With millimeter waves, you lose quite a bit of power just going through a window, so we’re having to deal with that, as well. If you can put [the antennas] outside, you’ll get substantially more range, just because you don’t have that loss through the window,” Wolter added.

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