Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia

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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DanJones 12/14/2017 | 12:19:37 PM
Re: Guide lines Optical link maybe?
brooks7 12/14/2017 | 11:39:00 AM
Re: Guide lines  

There is a link between the changing magnetic and electric fields in this type of solution.  Any problem in the cabling would represent the challenges with getting good bandwidth.  Sort of like problems with home wiring.

That is why there is a limit to the medium voltage power line I think.  It will be too hard to deal with changes in 110 V lines into homes and businesses.  I wonder how ballast changes and other events where there is more wind or solar will impact things.


mendyk 12/14/2017 | 11:32:31 AM
Re: Guide lines But what about the link to the premises from the power line?
Duh! 12/14/2017 | 11:26:11 AM
Re: Guide lines LOS is a problem with propagation into free space. Obstructons reflect, diffract and/or absorb the signal.

Since the signal is guided, it just follows the guides.

Duh! 12/14/2017 | 11:20:36 AM
Re: Guide lines Correction: it apparently propagates a magnetic wave along the conductor.
mendyk 12/14/2017 | 11:14:39 AM
Re: Guide lines OK, sort of. But isn't line of sight an issue?
Duh! 12/14/2017 | 11:07:45 AM
Re: Guide lines Completely different beast.

BPL injects a carrier into the electrical conductor. Nice idea, too many practical problems. I could elaborate, but you get the idea.

AirGig, if I understand it correctly, is using the electric field around the conductors as a waveguide for a millimeter wave carrier. So, kind of like mm-wave radio, except that rather than radiating the signal as a beam directed to the receiver,  the signal travels along the electric field, kind of like coax. The kind of idea that could only occur to somebody who dreams about Maxwell's equations.

Austin Idol 12/13/2017 | 6:06:26 PM
5G with AT&T and Verizon will be Full Blast Verizon w/ millimter wave from XO and Straightpath along with AT&T with millimeter wave from Fibertower will be plowing ahead with 5G at full steam with Net Neutrality being shelved. The 2 biggest wireless carriers with robust cash flows will deliver 5G!
mendyk 12/13/2017 | 3:14:34 PM
Re: Guide lines Broadband over powerlines has been tried a number of times. I wonder what would make this latest effort successful.
DanJones 12/13/2017 | 12:45:12 PM
Guide lines Given what we know about mmWaves and foliage maybe having them use powerlines as guidelines is not a bad idea at all.
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