What AirGig Could Mean For Broadband

October 21, 2016

 

AirGig, the technology developed by AT&T has been a bit buzzworthy over the past few months. We’ve talked about the technology before and what it could mean for future applications. Simply put, it seems to have tremendous upside but just how feasible is the technology?


What is AirGig?

It is a project with the purpose of extending the 4G LTE and 5G coverage at best by using the power grid lines. The project is at the initial phases of development but the idea tells us the story. What it could deliver is that it can spread the internet coverage to those parts of the US where the facilities are not at their peak and at a low cost.


AirGig Project Details


The networking is all about guiding the wireless signals to where they belong and at a very high speed. Luckily; both these goals can be achieved by using this technology. Yes, there is still time to engage in the success of this brilliant idea but when it will be completed, the underserved parts of the US will get multi-gigabit internet speeds. Just a few years more and it will be able to deliver smartphone data or home internet.


What about the Structure of AirGig?


It will have the potential to deliver multi-gigabit broadband speeds over license-free spectrum. The plan is to create broadband signals that will eliminate from the power lines and spread across the entire country. The surprising factor is that signals will not travel inside the power lines but near them. The signals will be distributed to houses and businesses using plastic antennas that will attach to the power lines and in turn, will create a mesh network. These antennas are made up of plastic to keep the development cost low so that the technology would be cheaper.


The new plastic antennas proposed will sit on very tall medium voltage power poles where they are high enough to carry out their work. The devices will take energy from the power lines using the principal of near field induction. These antennas and devices will send the power signals to each other. The antennas are placed highest on the poles so that they are well into the sights. The power lines will not deal with anything related to the signal travel except sending a path to the signals and then to their destinations. The idea is that AirGig will generate high-speed connections to the areas without having to lay down the new cable. This will help in saving money and the deployment of the technology will be much faster.


What will the Benefits of AirGig be?


•    The areas of the US that have connectivity problems and slow internet speeds will be solved.
•    In rural areas, the rate of fiber development is considerably slow. This technology will remove that problem out of the equation because it won’t need any sort of fiber to be installed.
•    With the development of wireless networks, a new era of development will be started in the areas which are underserved.
•    The customer base will increase as a result of satisfaction with the AirGig.
•    Smart grid applications will also be provided to the companies that use AirGig to manage power transmission more efficiently.


The Recent Tests


Testing has been carried out at the initial stage to check the potential of that technology. One test was carried out to check the transmission of wave signals both with the higher and lower frequencies. The performance in the result was better with the higher frequencies especially those above 30GHz have shown better results. The tests also include streaming 4K videos using AirGig in the labs. The manufacturers have plans to carry out more field tests as the technology progresses. What are the Major Concerns?
People in rural areas have limited access to the internet because of the old and poor infrastructure. AirGig can resolve this issue but it is still a bit far from deployment. The owning company is still looking for a favorable place and location in the US or anywhere in the world and needs it quickly because the field tests are planned next year. An attempt was made to carry out trials for 5G cellular technology but the results showed that AirGig is about a year behind 5G because of the slow deployment rate.
One of the major concerns is that the field trials cannot be started even next year so the wait may be a bit longer. Many companies in the world are deploying fiber networks that may well be completed before the field tests of AirGig. The other big concern is the power outages that may lead to operational hindrance.


In conclusion


This technology may be the solution for home broadband access which will lead to the increase of competition regarding speed. AirGig can also be applied to usage control systems. The other older technologies have not been cost effective and the speeds were not fast enough. This is where AirGig comes in because it is capable of delivering both the cost effectiveness and the speedy broadband. but the catch is it needs time progress and make an impact as it is still in the initial stages of development.

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