Tuesday 22 January 2013

AT&T Shifting to Small Metrocell, Wi-Fi Technology in Project Velocity IP Initiative

AT&T’s wireless network expansion plans include more than 10,000 new HSPA+/LTE cell sites, 40,000 small “metrocells,” and 1,000 distributed antenna systems (DAS) that will improve network performance, broaden Wi-Fi service, and reduce traffic on its traditional cell tower network.
With much of urban and suburban America (and the roads that connect communities) already covered by cellular networks, AT&T has embarked on an effort to more efficiently manage its wireless traffic.

AT&T, the lowest-rated wireless carrier by Consumer Reports, has suffered from a reputation for dropped calls and inadequate network infrastructure investment. The company has sought to correct those mistakes with the implementation of its multi-billion dollar Project Velocity IP (VIP) program that will expand capacity and bring Wi-Fi to new places.
John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T’s Technology and Network Operations division told attendees at the Citi Global Internet, Media & Communications conference in Las Vegas the company was shifting investment towards deploying small cell technology like “metrocells” that provides service to 32 or 64 concurrent users in a small geographic area. These fiber-fed, low-power small cells traditionally cover areas less than 1.2 miles wide, and can be hidden on utility poles or on buildings.
AT&T intends to leverage its U-verse fiber to the neighborhood network to provide much of the expanded network’s backhaul connectivity, at least in cities where AT&T provides landline service.

More information at:
AT&T Shifting to Small Metrocell, Wi-Fi Technology in Project Velocity IP Initiative | Stop the Cap!:

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  1. You have to be careful in the interpretation of these announcements. AT&T is NOT going to deploy 40,000 metrocells. Most of those units will be indoor, with enterprise femtocells taking the leading share.

  2. I think the article is also slightly misleading, by suggesting that the vast majority of AT&T's metrocells will be directly connected using fibre. Instead, It's more likely there will be a variety of different types of short range wireless links from the metrocells to nearby hubs. The hubs may well be fibre connected and require a capacity up to 1Gbps to service a cluster of nearby small and large cells.