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AT&T 5G trials expand, break 10 Gbps throughput

With Ericsson and Nokia, AT&T 5G trials focus on millimeter wave, system architecture

As carriers around the world work through “5G” trials ahead of targeted standardization in 2020, AT&T and vendor partners reached a lab milestone in addition to expanding focus to include system architecture and millimeter wave transmission.

Austin, Texas, where RCR Wireless News and Industrial IoT 5G Insights is headquartered, is where AT&T worked with the Federal Communications Commission to get an experimental license to conduct 5G technology trials using spectrum in the 3.4-3.6 GHz, 3.7-4.2 GHz, 14.5-15.35 GHz and 27.5-28.5 GHz bands. The carrier said the testing would be used for “experimental equipment” in support of “potential (5G) multi-gigabyte per second applications for fixed and mobile wireless communication networks at higher transmission rates and lower latency than is currently available,” and supporting voice, video and data.

AT&T also operates a Spectrum Lab in Austin that the company describes as “end-to-end ecosystems to act as crash test dummies. They try to break the production-like network so it won’t break on customers. … It’s their job to put our equipment through the gauntlet before it goes live on our wireless network.”

Now, AT&T has started lab work in Middletown, New Jersey, Atlanta, and San Ramon, California, focused on the software-defined network architecture likely to be a key to 5G, along with attendant applications of data analytics, security and open source software.

“We’ve seen great results in our 5G lab trials, including reaching speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early tests with Ericsson,” said Tom Keathley, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T. “Nokia is joining to help us test millimeter wave, which we expect to play a key role in 5G development and deployment. The work coming out of AT&T Labs will pave the way toward future international 5G standards and allow us to deliver these fast 5G speeds and network performance across the U.S.”

I caught up with Keathley in February during Mobile World Congress 2016 to discuss AT&T’s vision for 5G; check out this video story.

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