As we've talked about several times here at Broadband Bytes, true 5G wireless service - the kind cabable of ultra-low latency and ultra-high speeds require a LOT of small cells spread throughout a service area. AT&T is partnering with equipment manufacturer Ericsson to utilize streetlights in a community to at least partially solve the densification problem.
As reported at Telecompetitor, the "Ericsson Street Radio 4402" plugs into streetlights using a NEMA standardized connector. AT&T began doing field tests on the concept in 2021. As Gordan Mansfield with AT&T points out in the Telecompetitor article:
“Streetlights are also the perfect deployment point for meeting network infrastructure densification needs because they are typically 8 to 10 meters high, spaced 50 meters apart, have an existing power supply and are within close proximity to fiber,” Mansfield wrote in the blog post. “By using existing infrastructure, this solution reduces costs, streamlines site approval and permitting, and speeds installation.”
5G needs fiber, with full bandwidth capacity likely requiring fiber at every streetlight. That's unlikely to be available in most cities, but could represent an opporutnity for communities that own their own fiber networks to serve those streetlights.
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