Gigabit 5G internet access speeds, with a migration to 10-Gbps, are part of the developing standards for that new platform. But mobile operators globally are working to develop gigabit versions of 4G networks as well.
AT&T COO John Donovan said at a Citi conference early in January 2017 that the company would make use of a variety of technologies to boost its LTE network speeds to 1 Gbps, including 4×4 and 8×8 MIMO, 265-QAM and carrier aggregation.
Donovan also reported on other spectrum and capacity efforts. In initial 5G lab trials, AT&T achieved speeds up to 14 Gbps, with less than 3 milliseconds of latency. The industry expectation for 5G is latency less than 5 milliseconds.
In its 4G LTE-Advanced network, AT&T expects to begin reaching peak theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some cell sites in 2017.
In the first half of 2017, AT&T plans to conduct a trial in Austin where residential customers can stream the DirecTV NOW video service over a fixed wireless 5G connection. The trial will include multiple sites and devices. AT&T also is testing millimeter wave signal propagation.
AT&T also is looking at G.fast technology to boost speeds on copper access loops serving
multi-dwelling units (MDUs).
The most unusual access and transport technology AT&T is working on is Project AirGig, a technology from AT&T Labs that works in conjunction with, but not directly on utility power lines. The importance, of course, is that electrical power goes to all locations, business and consumer. AT&T might be able to use such infrastructure to support its access operations, without deploying as much access infrastructure as typically is required to support the fixed network.