AT&T touts high throughput and low latency in its 5G trials

Just as it seems like flagship phone features and performance have pretty much plateaued and spec bumps keep shrinking, AT&T says it will have a really good reason for bandwidth-hungry users to pick up new handsets: next-generation 5G connectivity. The company says its trials of 5G millimeter-wave equipment in Waco, TX, Kalamazoo, MI, and South Bend, IN have shown speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps and latency all the way down in the nine- to 12-ms range.

AT&T president of Technology & Operations Melissa Arnoldi says the company started testing 5G equipment two years ago. Field trials started in in Austin, TX and later expanded to the three smaller cities mentioned above late in 2017. The trial in Waco provided 5G mmWave service to a retail store about 500 ft (152 m) from a cellular tower. Arnoldi says the trial showed throughput as high as 1.2 Gbps and 9-12 ms latency on a 400 MHz-wide channel while supporting "hundreds" of simultaneous connected users. AT&T's 5G network operates in the 15 GHz and 28 GHz bands, meaning the signal waves are in the range of 20 to 10.7 mm.

Furthermore, the company says testing in Kalamazoo showed that the 5G signal had "no impact" from rain, snow, or other weather events. Testers observed speeds as high as 900 Mbps at a range of 900 feet (274 m) away from a cell tower. Arnoldi said real-world mmWave penetration through glass, foliage, and walls was better than anticipated, too. The tests in South Bend showed gigabit speeds in line-of-sight and "some" non-line-of-sight scenarios on a full end-to-end 5G deployment.

AT&T's announcement specifically mentions potential improvements to video playback on next-generation network, but potential applications of this technology could be far more far-reaching. We think some types of mobile games and augmented reality streaming are a couple of applications that might leap from an unplayable mess to something a lot more pleasant if AT&T's performance promises ring true.

Arnoldi claims AT&T will be the first US carrier to launch standards-based 5G mobile broadband service later this year. She goes on to say the company will likewise be the first to offer 5G-capable hardware to its customers, though it's not clear if she was referring to smartphones, 5G Wi-Fi hotspot devices, or something else. Previous reports from Qualcomm suggest that a 5G "puck" device with a Snapdragon X50 modem will be the first 5G hardware on the market.

Comments closed
    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    5G has always sounded to me more like an alternative to running a cable to a house than something to use with a phone. But am I thinking about that wrong?

    • Welch
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t care what sort of speeds you are getting on 5G AT&T… Just get me more than 2mb/s on the “LTE” system during peak hours where I live. In fact, just go ahead and do some of those trials here in my town.

    • Kretschmer
    • 2 years ago

    4G typical speeds are fast enough for everything I throw at my phone. The biggest constraint I have is bandwidth (soft/hard) caps and outrageous prices for higher tiers of service. A distant second is the 4G signal penetration (or lack thereof) in some buildings.

    I mean, it would be cool having a cellular service that could be used for hotel gaming, but it’s pointless if doing so burns through your monthly bandwidth in one night.

    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    Kudos for calculating the wavelengths correctly!!!!!

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 2 years ago

    How about device density ? And how in the world is backhaul going to deal increase by an order of magnitude to keep up? More plentiful towers with more smaller “cells”?

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, given the limited range of radio waves at these frequencies, cells will have to be much smaller. Also, phased array antennas will allow for a larger # of effective ‘sectors’ which will help with frequency reuse.

        • Rakhmaninov3
        • 2 years ago

        Not to mention less latinum per gigaquad due to higher-integrity subspace field coils draining less power from the matter-antimatter chamber during controlled plasma vent sequences. This will be EPIC.

          • Goty
          • 2 years ago

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          • willmore
          • 2 years ago

          Did you miss the “tech” in Techreport?

    • Shinare
    • 2 years ago

    There is just too many G’s now… can we move on to H?

    😛

      • Growler
      • 2 years ago

      Ain’t nothin’ but a G thang, baby.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 2 years ago

        Nice Try! Only Count Chuckula gets those upvotes for nice jokes

    • Shobai
    • 2 years ago

    Given the recent revelation of protocol level security issues with 4G [that, last I heard, won’t be fixed] 5G, on the one hand, can’t arrive quickly enough. At the same time, my understanding is that the FCC is pushing for 5G’s release with limited review, which just makes me wonder whether we’re just going to see similar [or worse] issues with 5G.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Well, anything that has a government agency involved is gonna have at least one backdoor for their use–it’s just a question of when someone else finds and discloses it. The safe approach is to not rely on wireless tech for anything highly sensitive.

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      What makes you think 5G will have better security?

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