ATT 94 meg 5G 230

Gordon Mansfield of AT&T "told [management] that I want every day that’s left in the year ... The equipment is literally coming off production lines and going into the field — we are not even using normal shipping channels.” AT&T is the first in the world to use 39 GHz, a remarkable achievement.

AT&T has one of the best and most experienced senior engineering teams in the world, but the first efforts are struggling. It claims the supplier - probably Ericsson - isn't ready with the equipment in the 39 GHz band. They refuse to provide information on network speed. It may be as low as 250 megabits, half the LTE speed at T-Mobile in Manhattan.

Lessons learned:  

 “Now, in mmWave, it’s a new frontier.  Sometimes you expect the signal to be there and it isn’t, so you have to adjust. As you move through the coverage area, you will be served by different beams, and you have to understand transitions between beams,” said Hristov. “RF engineers have to be hyper-accurate about placing and facing nodes … [because] if you don’t land on the right beam, you won’t get maximum performance.”

Mansfield also said, "The first IoT devices will be really high-end." Most users will "trade off capability for cost.” said Mansfield, noting that the first 5G IoT devices will be “really high-end.” I believe almost everyone will continue to use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G for IoT for years. 5G units will not just be expensive. They will be large and run down the battery. 

Todd Zeiler confirms that mmWave and sub-6 are very different. "We need to explain that we have a fork in the road now. Millimeter wave will have a similar improvement, but sub-6 is about a more efficient interface with improved latency — it’s not about speed-doubling." 3GPP did the world a disservice by calling both 5G.

The AT&T folks agree there's a long way to go. Hristov notes, “It will take years to get to the point where you have the right tooling to accurately predict what you are trying to cover and serve," Zeiler adds, "software upgrades in 2019 that enhance beam-forming capabilities not expected to be mature until sometime in 2020."  

The good news: "Coverage and data rates have generally been better than expected."

Quotes from 5G Networks Under Construction by Rick Merritt of EE Times.

The picture is a pre-launch demonstration by AT&T shot  by Corinne Reichart of ZD Net

 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual results the first four months have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.

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5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimetre wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.