AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End

AUSTIN, Texas -- Big Communications Event -- The race between AT&T and Verizon to be first with 5G trials kicked up a notch Tuesday when an AT&T executive said the company will start a 5G trial with "friendly" customers by the end of this year.

AT&T Labs will deliver a "multi-gigabit, fixed" test with friendly users "by the end of the year," Dave Wolter, AT&T assistant VP of radio technology and architecture, said at his keynote here at BCE 2016. AT&T has previously said that it will do mobile 5G field trials with pre-standard equipment in 2017. It intends to move to tests with 28GHz millimeter wave equipment around the end of this year. (See AT&T 5G Trials to Start With Fixed 15GHz Tests and AT&T Plots Mobile 5G Tests in 2017.)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is expecting to start its own 5G pilot with friendly customers sometime in 2017. (See Verizon Will Pilot 5G Fixed Wireless in 2017 and Verizon Hits 1-Gig+ in 5G Trials, Eyes Early Applications.)

AT&T Man
David Wolter
David Wolter

Wolter did not say exactly what "multi-gigabit" speeds would be in the trials. However, his slides said that the Phase 1 5G specification, which the industry is working on defining now, will offer "mobile broadband throughput of 5 Gbps+." Wolter said that the pre-standard millimeter wave (mmWave) radio tests will help AT&T learn about one of the anticipated building blocks of the 5G future.

For all the latest news on 5G, visit the dedicated 5G site here on Light Reading.

"It's a new area for us," Wolter said of mmWave radios. "We don't understand everything we need to know yet."

For AT&T, this will include indoor tests, outdoor tests and finding out how well the radios can broadcast signals from the outdoors inside. This will all help AT&T to understand how deploying millimeter wave in select areas in American cities could work.

The super-fast, high-band signals react very differently from wide-area cellular networks today. Rather than blasting a wide signal, the multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) antennas steer a beam to a specific user over a short range -- think meters not miles -- but can be blocked by walls and other conditions.

"These are going to be very short-range," explains Wolter. "I could turn a corner and lose the signal."

Nonetheless, standardized mmWave radios will be on the menu for the "mobile broadband" Phase 1 of the 5G specification, Wolter expects. He anticipates that the spec will be baked in 2018, with commercial deployment the year after.

"The sexy part of 5G, if you will, is about the high speed," notes Wolter. "But 5G is about more than that."

So Phase 2 of 5G will be about "massive IoT," designing a network that can support millions -- maybe billions -- of new connected autonomous machines in the "sub-6GHz" radio bands.

Wolter readily admits that this will require "careful" and "flexible" radio design to support the differing high-speed and low-power multi-band applications. Still, he expects the Phase 2 specification to be completed late in 2019.

This means, Wolter says, that it will "2020 or 2021" before the public sees "true 5G" really coming together.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
KBode 6/7/2016 | 1:47:29 PM
Re: 5 Gbps? On the plus side we've got so many companies now examining millimeter wave (Starry, Google, Facebook, carriers) that several or all of them should provide some pretty amazing breakthroughs throughout these trials. 
kq4ym 6/7/2016 | 12:59:50 PM
Re: 5 Gbps? It will be interesting to watch the 5G developments over the next 5 years or so  as it will take that long to get it into the public widely. While the 5G trial with "friendly" customers by the end of this year will be interesting to see just how those millimeter wavelength behave going around those "corners" and what signal strengths are going to be useful for what purposes.
DanJones 5/25/2016 | 7:24:34 PM
Re: 5 Gbps? Yeah, I figure 1 gig as the baseline for 5G. Same as 4G originally! Plus ca change! But McAdam tends to overstate VRZ tests ave schedules.
TV Monitor 5/25/2016 | 6:32:57 PM
Re: 5 Gbps? Dan Jones

"High throughput is much more achievable for fixed than mobile."

Verizon executive's 1.8 Gbits/s comment probably came from this.

DanJones 5/25/2016 | 12:29:11 PM
Re: 5 Gbps? High throughput is much more achievable for fixed than mobile.
DanJones 5/25/2016 | 12:25:12 PM
Re: Verizon's Samsung 5G test numbers Verizon has been lobbying the FCC to be able to use higher transmit power for 28GHz.
TV Monitor 5/25/2016 | 11:50:18 AM
Verizon's Samsung 5G test numbers Verizon revealed figrues there were getting from the Samsung 5G system deployed at Basking Ridge Headquarter. Verizon must be testing at a lower power output setting than optimal, since the Samsung 5G can reach 2 km at full power.


Verizon's McAdam on 5G: Fixed deployment 'gives you all the return on capital that you need'
Carrier's 5G tests in Basking Ridge show 1.8 Gbps, reach of up to 1,000 meters


Additionally,KT received a formal spectrum license for the world's first 5G network already in construction at Pyeongchang. The allocated spectrum is 27.5 ~ 28.5 Ghz(1 Ghz wide), same as the spectrum Verizon's using in its US tests.
DanJones 5/25/2016 | 10:58:44 AM
Re: Time to Place your Bet You never know you might get your wish! People are talking about possibly self back-hauling 5G small cells with wireless. 39Ghz would make sense for that, still very early days though.
DanJones 5/25/2016 | 10:56:02 AM
Re: 5 Gbps? Stay tuned! I hope to know more today!
KBode 5/25/2016 | 10:16:16 AM
5 Gbps? "Wolter did not say exactly what "multi-gigabit" speeds would be in the trials. However, his slides said that the Phase 1 5G specification, which the industry is working on defining now, will offer "mobile broadband throughput of 5 Gbps+."

I had no idea we were talking speeds that fast for 5G. I assume this is at distances of four inches or so? :)
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Sign In