AT&T finishes testing of key 5G component

5G internet is getting closer. AT&T has previously announced that not only will they have 5G wireless internet to the home in some markets in 2018, but that they also plan to introduce 5G phones. In order to make it happen, a lot of things need to come first.

5G is the next generation of wireless services and promises 1Gbps service to wireless devices. This would be fast enough to replace wired home internet, giving you the ability to finally fire the cable company once and for all. You won’t need their high-priced internet and you can have one service that works on your cell phone and your home. A small antenna on your roof (similar to a satellite dish) would connect to a Wi-Fi router and you’d be all set.

Sounds great, right?

As AT&T and other providers get closer to making the dream come true, they will need to build a whole 5G infrastructure. This isn’t the first time they’ve done something like this of course — LTE came after 4G which came after 3G which came after GSM which came after AMPS. Every few years, every single cell tower in the country gets upgraded to something or other. This is just the next, biggest step.

Yesterday, AT&T announced that they had deployed a prototype 10Gbps wireless network and let people play using DIRECTV NOW. The test was 100% successful. This sort of network is needed for rural cell towers that don’t have access to wired internet connections, or for areas where it would be difficult or impossible for AT&T to lay its own fiber from the cell tower. This is a critical step toward 5G, and everything went perfectly.

So now of course, we just have to wait and see when regular folks can get some of that 5G magic. AT&T and other carriers are putting in intermediate steps like Gigabit LTE that will make your cell phone faster in the coming months, but everyone knows that eventually 5G will take over. There are still several things left to solve, such as how a cell phone will have enough processing and broadcast power without carrying around a car battery to power it, and how the “fixed wireless” aspect, delivering wireless internet to your home, is going to work. But then again people said you’d never have 50Mbps data on your cell phone and most places have that now. When 4G first came out they said it would never work because the power required was too great. At every step there have been challenges, and at every step there have been solutions. This is just one more step on the road to what we all want…

…which is internet that’s so pervasive and so fast that we just don’t have to worry about it. We want all our devices to be connected all the time and never have to worry about slow speeds or congestion, ever. I know that may sound like a dream, but AT&T is working to make it a reality.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.