AT&T using Samsung 5G gear in South Bend trial


Monica Alleven
July 2, 2018

Samsung is supporting AT&T’s fixed wireless 5G trial in South Bend, Indiana, where the operator is using Samsung 5G home routers, radio access units and a foundation built on Samsung’s 5G RFIC chipset, virtualized core and vRAN.

AT&T’s Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology & Solutions, posted a blog on Wednesday about the trial in South Bend, highlighting the experience of the Rubbelke family. As 5G trial participants, the family has seen peak wireless speeds nearing 1 Gbps and latency rates less than 20 milliseconds, allowing them to download textbooks in an instant and connect over video chat without noticeable buffering.

Arnoldi didn’t mention any equipment vendors in the blog, but Samsung provided an update via email on its work in South Bend.

AT&T also likes to boast about its vast fiber footprint. AT&T also launched its ultra-fast internet service in South Bend via AT&T Fiber.

“South Bend is a great example of the power of connectivity for spurring growth and economic development,” said Bill Soards, president of AT&T Indiana, in a press release. “Our fiber expansions across the nation will help allow AT&T to achieve its plans to be the first U.S. carrier to provide mobile 5G service, which we plan to begin introducing in 12 cities by the end of this year… We’re thrilled South Bend was chosen as one of four cities nationwide where AT&T is currently doing a fixed 5G trial.”

Last year, AT&T said it was working with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and Intel to expand its fixed wireless 5G trials to three more cities, including South Bend; Waco, Texas; and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The operator intends to be the first U.S. carrier to deploy mobile 5G to customers in a dozen cities, including parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, this year.

Samsung is also working with Verizon, having secured the spot as 5G infrastructure provider for the Sacramento, California, market. Both Verizon and Samsung executives have said their millimeter wave deployments turned out better than they had expected, delivering signals without line of sight by bouncing off trees and other obstacles and into buildings.

Signals Research Group (SRG) conducted a study earlier this year in Houston, Texas, in what was believed to be the industry’s first independent benchmark study of a 5G commercial test network. The analysts said Verizon Wireless has a 28 GHz trial network there using Samsung infrastructure.

Based on numerous walk tests and stationary tests involving line-of-sight (LOS), non-line-of-sight (NLOS) and near-line-of-sight conditions, the SRG analysts found that millimeter wave signals are far more resilient than they expected, even at distances exceeding several thousand feet. Tree foliage, passing school buses, buildings, parked cars and glass impacted the received signals, but the resultant signals were still capable of delivering meaningful data rates, thanks in part of a 400 MHz radio channel.