bulky that it can be deployed outdoors
for only a few hours at a time. Bennett
and colleagues say that far more real-world data is needed to properly
develop the technology, so they have
created weatherproof radios the size
of toaster ovens and installed them
across AT&T’s 260-acre campus in
Middletown, New Jersey, which was
once part of Bell Labs.
Since deploying the radios last
September, the engineers have seen
how tree leaves, heavy rain, and truck
traffic all obstruct millimeter-wave
signals to some extent. AT&T plans
to share the information with the rest
of the telecom industry to aid in the
design of 5G technical specifications,
base stations, modems, smartphone
chips, and more. The new technology
won’t be commercially widespread
until after 2020, but these small,
homemade radios are a crucial step
toward making it real.
Later this year, AT&T
plans to install additional
and may use one of
its testing vans to
conduct tests outside
the Middletown campus.
The van’s mast can
extend up to 50 feet.