AT&T is planning to show a 5G demonstration at this year's RTX 2018 Animation Festival in Austin, according to a new Special Temporary Authority (STA) request filed by the carrier with the FCC. The event takes place at the Austin Convention Center from August 3 through August 5, with the filing asking permission for a full month from July 30 July 30 to August 30. Over that timeframe, AT&T says it plans to showcase the functionality, features, and capabilities of 5G, specifically through the use of "experimental equipment" on the 28GHz spectrum. Aside from putting the possibilities of next-generation networking on display, the service provider says the demo could garner valuable feedback. That would be used, in turn, to improve optimization of the system and enable further development of the platform leading up to its expected 2019 launch.
There's no guarantee that the FCC will ultimately grant permission for the test to be conducted. If it does, the tests would be performed across three fixed base stations and as many as six "user equipment units." The base stations and antennas would be placed inside of the convention center and set at a height of under four meters. The user equipment would be placed within 100 meters of the antennas on the base stations and a 5G air link would be used to demonstrate the connectivity itself. AT&T would be showing off 4K and volumetric video streaming, eSports, and mobile gaming as applications for the technology which will likely benefit the most from its enhancements. Primarily, that centers around high-speed and low-latency requirements. With that said, the company would be utilizing an internal server for that content. So it wouldn't necessarily be the best real-world test of a 5G implementation.
However, 5G is expected to deliver a wealth of improvements over 4G LTE which would serve those purpose and others very well for precisely the reasons AT&T lists. Namely, under the current industry standards, 5G will utilize both beamforming and MIMO technology to bolster signal strength and bandwidth. That will result in latency expected in the range of one to five milliseconds and speeds upwards of 1Gbps for mobile and fixed services. That will open up mobile connectivity for use in smart and autonomous vehicles, IoT infrastructure, and more when it does launch.