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BAT: Technology


Emerging technologies:


This experimental system places low-cost plastic antennas along existing power grids to deliver low-cost, multi-gigabyte internet. So far, the company has tested the system on its own campuses. It hopes to do a field test next year to see how feasible, fast and affordable it really is.

What makes the AirGig setup unique is how it uses existing infrastructure to keep costs low.

“You don’t have to lay any fiber, you don’t have to touch anything, other than get some of these devices up on the wires,” said AT&T chief Strategy Officer John Donovan.

A January company release… 

White Space

White Space refers to the unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum. Television networks leave gaps between channels for buffering purposes, and this space in the wireless spectrum is similar to what is used for 4G and so it can be used to deliver widespread broadband internet.

Typical home Wi-Fi can travel through two walls. White Space broadband can travel up to 10 kilometers, through vegetation, buildings, and other obstacles. Tablets, phones, and computers can all access this wireless internet using White Space through fixed or portable power stations. The actual amounts of spectrum vary by region, but White Space spectrum ranges from 470 MHz to 790 Mhz.


iis still in the future — 2020 is the target. “The 5G revolution will cast a much wider net. It’s an information conduit being built to connect self-driving cars, VR headsets, delivery drones, and billions of interconnected devices inside the home.”

Low Earth Orbit Satellites

Another broadband technology on the horizon that holds promise for geographically challenged areas is low earth orbit satellites. Two companies, OneWeb and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, are making strides in bringing this technology to the near future. Both plan an array of high-speed, low-latency, lower cost satellites to bring broadband to the masses at an affordable price. Both are optimistic about an aggressive schedule.


Existing Technologies:

DSL is a wireline service provided by the telephone company much faster than dial-up. It’s an older technology based on copper phone wires. It’s available in some rural areas.

Cable is a wireline service provided by cable operators. It is capable of higher speeds than DSL. Cable is usually available only in higher-density areas of population.

Fixed wireless uses a tower to broadcast a signal to a receiving antenna. It is a point-to-point (P2P) transmission that uses radio waves or a laser bridge for relatively short distances.
3G/4G/4G LTE – The first generation cell phones were voice only. Nobody used the term 1G, but that’s where it started. The second generation allowed data transmission, too, albeit at about the same speed as dial-up, about 35-50 Kbps.

A variety of technological improvements and the adoption of an industry-wide specification for networking was the basis for 3G.

4g came about with requirements for mobile networks including mandating the use of Internet Protocol (IP) for data traffic and minimum data rates of 100 Mbps.

LTE is based on IP technology to support internet connections, not voice calls. LTE is a high-speed connection that supports browsing websites, Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP), and other IP-based services. In theory downloads at 300 Mbps or more are possible, but the actual network bandwidth is affected by the number of subscribers sharing the network.

Satellite internet is sometimes the only existing option to dial-up. It requires a dish to receive the signal from space. Satellite speeds have improved but issues like  signal delay (latency), cost, and bandwidth allowances exist.