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Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia

Dan Jones
12/13/2017
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The devil said: "Son, I'm the fastest download in the land," and when he proved it to us, well, we let him join the band.*

Yessiree, AT&T says it is now taking its AirGig powerline technology down to rural Georgia for technology tests with the regional power company that promise to deliver over 1 Gbit/s via existing power lines.

The "Project AirGig" technology wirelessly rides alongside medium-voltage power lines and uses newly designed "low-cost" plastic antennas to deliver the service. AT&T says that -- like high-band 5G -- it uses millimeter waves to deliver gigabit speeds. (See AT&T Claims 'Breakthrough' With New Power Line Delivery Tech for 4G, 5G.)

AT&T already has another trial underway with an unnamed electrical provider in an undisclosed location outside the US. (See AT&T Looks to Trials for AirGig.)

"Project AirGig is part of our ongoing effort to accelerate Internet connections to a gig or more through both wired and wireless solutions,” said Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and CTO, said in a press release. "But it also stands alone as a radically innovative solution to bridge the global digital divide. If these trials and our continued research and development turn out the way we intend, we'll take a big step toward bringing hyper-fast connectivity to people everywhere."

AT&T isn't talking about a commercial timeline for AirGig yet. Ma Bell, however, is looking to undertake more trials, in hopes that this project becomes a way to deliver broadband to consumers without building expensive new towers and other infrastructure.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

*With apologies to Charlie Daniels and Camper Van Beethoven.

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Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Blogger
1/4/2018 | 4:21:47 PM
Re: Guide lines
Not from what I understand. They operate at much higher frequencies than  amateur and aviation bands.

Forget everything you thought you knew about power line carrier. This is a completely different beast.
kq4ym
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kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/3/2018 | 4:00:06 PM
Re: Guide lines
I wonder if the past problems of RF interference are still a problem waiting for a solution in this latest iteration. Maybe that's why they are not yet "talking about a commercial timeline for AirGig yet," waiting to see if interference  is going to cause complaint from others using radio frequency transmission of data and sound.
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/18/2017 | 12:43:21 PM
Re: Guide lines
Another issue could be the quality of the power and telecom transmissions in high-demand days, like when it is in the mid-90s and muggy. In the Chicago area, we still have the occasional brownouts on such days.
Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Blogger
12/18/2017 | 11:23:23 AM
Re: Guide lines
Surface waves. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-wire_transmission_line

 
brooks7
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brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/16/2017 | 12:01:05 AM
Re: Guide lines
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waveguide_(electromagnetism)

So go read that before we go any further....are you saying that they are mounting a wave guide in parallel with the power lines?  Or they have a configuration of specific way that lines are configured that create a magnetic tunnel?  Or are you saying that they are using a narrow beam  and running it in parallel to the power lines?

What spawnbsd posted says that there is in fact no waveguide involved.

seven

 
spawnbsd
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spawnbsd,
User Rank: Lightning
12/15/2017 | 6:13:10 PM
Re: Guide lines
As has been mentioned a few times, this isn't carrying a signal over the power line conductors at all, it's merely using the powerlines as a waveguide for an mmwave signal. 
Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Blogger
12/14/2017 | 10:29:03 PM
Re: Guide lines
Looks like an AirGig to WiGig bridge (or repeater?) is an option that they're experimenting with. From what I've been able to piece together, it's Plan B. That defeats the purpose of the plastic antenna they've been talking about.

The goal is to make AirGig an integral part of their fixed and mobile 5G network. This implies 5G CPE... make that 5G vCPE.

 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
12/14/2017 | 6:04:56 PM
Re: Guide lines
So the WiGig radios as the CPE/WiFi distribution to the home?
Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Blogger
12/14/2017 | 4:06:29 PM
Re: Guide lines
So I've been sleuthing.

Apparently, it's mm-wave, ultimately 5G NR, now presumably proprietary. There is a 32-sector antenna on top. No hint of how much goes in these units, other than regeneration and beam steering.

Some videos from last year shows it being used for mobile 5G as well as fixed, from the same antenna. Not clear whether they've been able to pull that off or not.

The latest press release also shows units with wifi APs and 60 GHz pt-pt radios, but that looks more like a field integration than integral to the AirGig system.

 
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/14/2017 | 12:39:06 PM
Re: Guide lines
That takes some of the Air out of the Gig, no?
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