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Posts Categorised: AT&T

The Flying COW drone will be one of two types of drones that AT&T will offer for its Network Disaster Recovery system


BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Broadcasters (including myself) like to tout how we’re able to keep our systems up and running during natural disasters, especially in comparison to cellular systems. (Puerto Rico is only the latest example .)

The big carriers are doing their best to keep systems up and running though, even in the worst of conditions.

AT&T has designed an all-weather drone to help keep its wireless network up and running during and after natural disasters. The all-weather Flying COW drone — designed by AT&T with help from manufacturers and first responders — will be one of two types of drones that AT&T will offer for its Network Disaster Recovery system, reports rcrwireless.com . AT&T designed its “Extreme-Weather Drone” to be to fly through rain or snow and handle tropical wind gusts up to 50 mph, and it can handle extreme temperature conditions as well.

The Extreme-Weather Drone took its first flight recently in Bedminster, N.J. It was also flown by University of Washington engineering students in Redmond, Wash., where students tested LTE antennas they designed specifically for the drones, according to the same article. The system tethers the drone to the ground with a thin fiber cable that feeds power and signal to the airborne drone, which then sends the signal out over the air to customers.

Last year AT&T’s flying COWs provided data, voice, and text services to customers and recovery teams in Puerto Rico and carried dozens of gigabytes of data, and thousands of calls and texts.

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And how do these cell companies prevent interference to the little guys using unlicensed spectrum in the vicinity?

DALLAS — The big cellular companies are now making use of LTE-LAA. It’s been a while since we looked at just what that means, so let’s review some, with the help of Qualcomm .

“Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) is introduced in 3GPP release 13 as part of LTE Advanced Pro. It uses carrier aggregation in the downlink to combine LTE in unlicensed spectrum (5 GHz) with LTE in the licensed band. This aggregation of spectrum provides for a fatter pipe with faster data rates and more responsive user experience. For example, a mobile operator using LAA can support Gigabit Class LTE with as little as 20 MHz of licensed spectrum. By maintaining a persistent anchor in the license spectrum that carries all of the control and signaling information, the user experience is both seamless and reliable.”

So just how do these big cell companies prevent interference to the little guys (like you and me) using unlicensed spectrum in the vicinity? 

“Fair Wi-Fi coexistence is a key principle in LAA. This is accomplished by dynamically selecting clear channels in 5 GHz to avoid Wi-Fi users. If there is no clear channel available, LAA will share a channel fairly with others. This is accomplished by a feature called Listen Before Talk (LBT). LBT will be used by all technologies in unlicensed spectrum to ensure fair coexistence globally.”

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The mobile carrier asked the FCC for permission to demo 5G in the 28 GHz band during June’s SHAPE event

BURBANK, Calif. — AT&T has asked the FCC for permission to demonstrate 5G in the 28 GHz (millimeter wave) band during the SHAPE event, set for June 2–3 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif.

The SHAPE conference is described by AT&T as “an immersive event exploring the convergence of technology and entertainment.” Attendees will discover how the cutting edge of content creation and distribution will usher in a new era of audience experiences, according to rcrwireless.com .

AT&T plans to use a “puck” as a mobile hot spot device, with using millimeter wave connectivity back to their network, in the initial for mobile 5G deployments, which will be in Atlanta, and Dallas and Waco, Texas. Last January AT&T said it would offer 5G services based on the 3GPP non-standalone 5G NR specification in more than 12 markets by the end of 2018, although the carrier has only identified the three aforementioned markets, according to the same article.

Also, Charter, the second-largest cable operator in the US, is undertaking more fixed 5G tests in Los Angeles, reports lightreading.com .

Charter has been approved for an experimental 28 GHz license using 25 antennas in Los Angeles for the tests, which could start as soon as early April and run until October. The outdoor tests will utilize fixed transmitters with a 1 km or smaller effective radius, using 28 GHz equipment from Ericsson AB.

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The company has announced it will launch mobile 5G in 12 cities this year, but has so far only named Waco, Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta

DALLAS — Using its 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum, AT&T has measured download speeds of around 1.2 Gbps using a 400 megahertz channel, and latency rates between nine and 12 milliseconds, according rcrwireless.com , at its test site in Waco, Texas, where the carrier has deployed 5G-backed Wi-Fi for Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Melissa Arnoldi, AT&T president of technology and operations, said “by conducting these trials and inventing specialized measurement equipment to study other aspects of 5G in great detail, we collected mountains of data and insights to comb through, obsess over and ultimately act on. These trial learnings are guiding our commercial 5G launches this year and will help ensure we’re building a 5G network that is both real and reliable for everyone,” quoted in the same article.

AT&T has expanded its trials to Kalamazoo, Mich., and South Bend, Ind., and the company has publicly announced it will launch mobile 5G in 12 cities this year, but has so far only named Waco, Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta.

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“White box” routers are being deployed at cell towers because carriers expect more data processing will occur at the network edge


DALLAS — Cell telephone base station manufacturers, like Ericsson and Nokia, may play a smaller role in emerging 5G networks than they did in LTE networks, and 3G and 2G networks prior to that. 

AT&T, for example, is determined to replace proprietary hardware with open source software as part of an initiative to take costs out of its network while increasing capacity, according to rcrwireless.com .

The carrier has announced plans to replace the routers at 60,000 cell towers with “white box” hardware over the next several years. No vendors were named for the white box router project, but last year when it announced a related project, Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Delta Electronics, Edgecore Networks, Intel Corporation and SnapRoute provided the standardized hardware and open source software for that trial, according to the same article.

[Will 5G Be an Effective Medium for Broadcast Radio in the Future?]

White box routers are being deployed at cell tower locations because the carriers expect more and more data processing will occur at the network edge. Low-latency applications such as self-driving cars and virtual reality will rely on servers placed close to the network endpoints rather than in a distant data center.

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AT&T is one organization telling the FCC to “leave well enough alone”

WASHINGTON — AT&T is one of multiple organizations telling the FCC to “leave well enough alone” the 6 GHz licensed microwave band. 

The company says the band “contains about 100,000 microwave links, many of which are carrying critical voice and data traffic, including for the nation’s first responders,” according to fiercewireless.com .

AT&T met recently with FCC staff to discuss its concerns about a proposed expansion of the 5.9125-7.125 GHz band to include unlicensed use. The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition’s recent comments to the Commission were highly critical of a report by RKF “that was intended to demonstrate that it would be OK to share with existing fixed service microwave users in the 6 GHz band.” That RKF report was submitted on behalf of some very well-known tech names, including Apple, Google, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Qualcomm, Intel and Microsoft, according to the same article.

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International echoed AT&T’s concerns about interference with essential fixed microwave links for public safety and other critical operations last year. 

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Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Texas, will be among a dozen cities where the carrier will deploy 5G by the end of 2018

NEW YORK — AT&T said Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Texas, will be among a dozen cities where the carrier will deploy 5G-based mobile services by the end of 2018.

AT&T plans to identify the other deployment markets in the coming months.

[Read more: “Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Little Rock Are Likely Early 5G Test Markets “]

AT&T reiterated that its mobile 5G deployment will be based on emerging 3GPP standards, holding that the offering will integrate with current LTE technologies using the non-standalone configuration outlined in 3GPP release 15. AT&T claims that the equipment being rolled out to its LTE network will enable a migration to 5G.

Additionally, AT&T’s mobile 5G rollout will operate over millimeter wave spectrum in some areas (it began to conduct 5G trials with millimeter wave spectrum in mid-2106), but also expects to provide mobile 5G using additional spectrum bands.

Given the limitations of millimeter wave spectrum (it needs almost perfect line-of-site and is susceptible to blockage from trees, foliage and buildings, for example) some mobile and wireless experts believe that 5G will need to run on a “dual-PHY” network that employs a fallback to sub-6 GHz spectrum.

Early on, as AT&T awaits handsets that support 5G to emerge, it will initially deploy 5G-based mobile services using a small router-like device that can connect other devices to the 5G network.

“Think of it as a puck,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman, president and CEO, said on the company’s Q4 call in late January. “The thing [that’s] going to cause 5G to go slow, more than anything else – it’s just avaialbity of handsets,” he said, adding that AT&T will be “pushing the vendors” to accelerate their work with 5G-ready handsets.

AT&T plans to add more 5G- capable mobile devices and smartphones by “early 2019.”

AT&T is also moving ahead with a software defined network deployment that, it says, will go “hand in hand” with 5G. AT&T said it hit its goal to have 55% of its network virtualized by end of 2017 and that the current plan is virtualize 75% by 2020.

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AT&T said it will launch mobile 5G in 12 U.S. markets this year

NEW YORK — AT&T said it will launch mobile 5G in 12 U.S. markets this year, without revealing which markets they will be. It has dropped a hint by publicly praising three U.S. cities that have paved the way for small cells, according to rcrwireless.com .

Small cell deployments, critical to 5G, often require access to the public rights of way; city governments will thus be very involved in the development of 5G wireless networks. Carriers often target city-owned assets for the installation of sites, and may need to trench city streets to lay fiber for front-haul and/or backhaul. Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Little Rock were singled out by AT&T.

More than 80 small cells for AT&T are on-air in Indianapolis thanks to a streamlined permitting process and a maximum attachment rate of just $50 per node. AT&T has named Indianapolis as one of its 5G Evolution test markets. Minneapolis is also a 5G Evolution test market, and AT&T has plans to install about 115 small cell nodes there.

Minnesota and Indiana are among a handful of states that have adopted small cell legislation. Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, and Virgina have also passed laws to facilitate small cell deployments. Arkansas has not yet passed a state law regarding small cells, but Little Rock has set the maximum small cell permitting time at 60 days. The company plans to deploy more than 100 nodes in the city this year, according to the article.

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