AT&T is experimenting on a low-cost wireless infrastructure that can deliver multi-gigabit of wireless internet speeds. AT&T is naming it as Project AirGig.
The Project AirGig is easier to deploy than fiber, runs over license-free spectrum and can deliver ultra-fast wireless connectivity. This new Technology, of which AT&T holds about 100 patents, makes use of power lines to send a modulated radio signals.
The signals are sent around or near medium-voltage power lines and is flexible enough to be configured with small cells or distributed antenna systems. The low cost antennas are made out of plastic were specially developed to keep the deployment cost low. The benefit in turn, will be passed on to the subscriber.
The AirGig will not only deliver multi-gigabit wireless internet but also help electric / utility companies use “smart-grid” applications. It will help pin-point problems in specific segment of a power liner, meter and deploy usage control systems etc.
The Project AirGig will launch in 2017 in certain cities. It will mainly focus on rural areas.
John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations, AT&T. commented –
Project AirGig has tremendous potential to transform internet access globally – well beyond our current broadband footprint and not just in the United States, The results we’ve seen from our outdoor labs testing have been encouraging, especially as you think about where we’re heading in a 5G world. To that end, we’re looking at the right global location to trial this new technology next year.
We believe Project AirGig has the potential to quickly bring connectivity to all parts of the world. Our researchers are addressing the challenges that hampered similar approaches a decade ago, such as megabit per second speeds and high deployment costs, Project AirGig is still very much in the experimentation phase. That said, I’m excited about what AT&T Labs’ engineers have developed to date. Our overall access approach, in conjunction with our software-defined network architecture, is unmatched in its ability to usher in connected experiences like augmented reality, virtual reality, self-driving cars, telemedicine and 4K mobile video. Big urban city. Small rural town. Around the world.