AT&T has announced the launch of a drone-transmitted 5G network. The drones, dubbed 5G Flying COWs (Cell on Wings), are the first of their type to deliver 5G network speeds, despite the fact that comparable technology has been utilised to give LTE coverage for years.
According to Ethan Hunt, lead programme manager for AT&T Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the 5G Flying Cows can broadcast robust coverage up to 10 square miles (16 sq km). “We had intermittent, weak LTE signal at the flight location before we launched the 5G Flying COW,” he said of the test flight in Missouri that happened in April.
To put it another way, users in the region trying to stream video may have discovered they suddenly have access to 5G speeds they didn’t have before.
Getting 5G to remote areas is relatively difficult. 5G coverage outside of cities is expensive, as it is reliant on densely placed tiny cells; infrastructure requirements are massive, and coverage is limited to devices within close vicinity to towers. Flying COWs might solve this problem while also assisting first responders in search and rescue efforts.
AT&T earlier used this technology to offer LTE service to customers
For years, AT&T has used this technology to offer LTE service to consumers during major events. The events like this year’s Super Bowl and natural catastrophes. While other firms may interact with drones using 5G signals, the Flying COW will operate as a cell site on a drone.
“We are currently working through several exciting technical challenges to expand the capabilities of our Flying COWs,” AT& T’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems programme director, Art Pregler, said of the project.
“We’re working on a way to fly autonomously for months without landing. To do this we’re utilising solar power to deliver secure, reliable, and fast 5G connection to big numbers of customers across broad geographic areas. This method might one day assist provide internet to rural and underprivileged populations in the United States and internationally.”