AT&T’s SVP of access architecture Hank Kafka revealed the operator’s Project AirGig technology could provide 5G backhaul in areas of the country which are harder to reach with fibre.
The operator today (13 December) announced the start of Project AirGig trials in the US and abroad. The technology uses a network of mmWave antennas installed on existing aerial power line infrastructure to deliver high-speed internet service.
Kafka described AirGig’s relationship to 5G as “synergistic” and explained to Mobile World Live AirGig’s close relationship to the electrical grid could help the operator extend 5G capabilities to more places.
“A lot depends on what type of services you’re delivering and where you’re delivering them. AirGig has the capability to work across all three [urban, suburban and rural environments], but I think that the most promising areas are in the suburban and rural environment where it can be harder to get fibre in place.”
Kafka declined to share what mmWave frequencies AT&T is exploring for AirGig deployments. However, he pointed out AT&T had secured or applied for 300 patents related to the technology, which he said will let the operator build a range of different configurations: “The configurations that make the most sense in different environments could well be different and use different frequencies,” Kafka noted.
“The trials going on are to understand how these different components work in different locations and conditions.”