Saturday, October 1, 2022

AT&T: Enterprise 5G Review

Business always needs to go faster. Faster computers, faster processing, and faster connections.

AT&T’s 5G enterprise solution promises to deliver broadband speeds over wireless and cellular networks to unlock new opportunities previously constrained by wired, bandwidth, and transmission limitations.

See below to learn all about where AT&T stands in the enterprise 5G market:

AT&T and the enterprise 5G market

Researchers estimate that the 5G enterprise market will grow from $2.1 billion in revenue in 2021 at a CAGR of 30.2% per year. By 2028, this market could be as large as $16.8 billion in products and services.

The 5G market consists of equipment manufacturers, specialty 5G service providers, and cellular network providers. In addition to AT&T, other major competitors in the marketplace include Affirmed Networks, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei Technologies, Juniper Networks, NEC Corporation, Nokia Corporation, Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, Verizon Communications, and ZTE Corporation.

AT&T is acknowledged as a leader in the cellular network portion of the North American market, but it is difficult to determine their market share. AT&T does not break out their 5G enterprise revenue from their overall $30.21 billion in business communications revenue. Additionally, AT&T currently only offers true 5G service in a portion of its coverage area and does not disclose the adoption rate in the markets that are available.

AT&T enterprise 5G features

AT&T provides the connectivity between 5G devices and the rest of the network through 5G cellular communication networks, 5G-capable broadband wireless connectivity, and private 5G networks. The primary features delivered by AT&T 5G enterprise solutions include:

5G mobile networking

AT&T offers sub-6 cellular spectrum communication suitable for large area communication requirements, such as low density suburban or rural communication or vehicle fleets. This spectrum has a range of two miles and delivers standard 5G speeds.

Using the mmWave spectrum, AT&T can deliver much faster communication over a limited range of 1,000 feet branded as 5G+. This solution is best matched for high-density requirements, such as stadiums, shopping centers, and universities.

Failover and out-of-band support

When wired broadband connections might fail or be highly congested, 5G wireless broadband provides backup service to handle user traffic at high speeds. Wireless failover or traffic routing can engage automatically through router and gateway settings and provide insurance against cut wires and other risks.

Wireless broadband

Nokia research finds that 73% of enterprises find 5G fixed wireless access an appealing backup or alternative for wired broadband. Wireless networks used to be too slow and insecure for many organizations to consider for their primary networks, but 5G speeds and security enhancements make 5G wireless networks competitive.

Vehicle connectivity

5G routers designed for vehicles resist vibration, shock, dust, liquid splash, and humidity to extend 5G connectivity to user devices either inside or outside of the vehicle as well as the vehicles themselves. These solutions help to provide additional support for self-driving cars or geographically widespread and mobile workforces for industries, such as mining, oil drilling, or electrical power line maintenance.

AT&T enterprise 5G benefits

5G technology remains new and its limited availability means many enterprise customers are still exploring and learning about the possible benefits. However, the key benefits sought by most enterprise customers include:

Fast connectivity

Cellular 5G delivers speeds as much as 10 times faster than 4G LTE delivering peak rates of up to 20 Gbps and is designed to support as much as 100 times the traffic capacity of 4G connections.

The high speeds of wireless connections now enable connecting a variety of industrial and manufacturing equipment that previously would be impossible to connect safely with wires. Future applications include cloud robotics that take advantage of the bandwidth to deliver an increasing amount of data and more sophisticated control commands.

Improved control

Wireless networks can be difficult to control, because they are designed to offer a connection to any device with a compatible wireless modem. Cellular networks tighten control, because devices must possess both a compatible cellular modem as well as an authorized SIM card. This requirement makes it difficult for rogue devices to be connected to the network and improves security control.

Mobility

Previously, bandwidth intensive applications such as video and large images required computers wired to a physical network. With 5G, sports broadcasting, medical imaging, and safety inspection can unleash employees to be more mobile without sacrificing transmission quality.

For example, a doctor making their rounds can view high resolution medical images sent to their iPad from the medical imaging facility using a 5G real-time connection. Likewise, a sewer pipeline inspector can remotely steer, control, and view video from a remote control device connected via 5G to the inspector’s truck.

Video monitoring

Nokia research notes that 83% of enterprises see video as the primary option unlocked by 5G speeds and resolution. Using high-speed cellular or wireless network connections, enterprises can add video monitoring and video analytics as risk sensors, detect faces in real-time, or analyze incidents in work conditions that might be hazardous for in-person inspection. 

AT&T Enterprise 5G use cases

AMB Sports + Entertainment

AMB Sports + Entertainment owns and operates Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium that hosts events for professional football, professional soccer, music concerts, and other events. They sought to create a more immersive experience to drive interest and satisfaction for the 1.5 million annual visitors to the stadium.

“We realized we had to change the game here to focus on the fan experience,” says AMB Sports + Entertainment CIO Danny Branch. “When a guest comes in, we want them to be digitally immersed.”

Adopting AT&T 5G enabled the stadium to offer high-speed connectivity even with a high volume of use from fans.

FOX Sports

FOX Sports wanted to stream the U.S. Open Golf Championship live in 4K resolution but found that most transmission partners could not handle the bandwidth and speed requirements necessary to allow viewers to obtain the personalized customization FOX envisioned.

Working with AT&T, FOX delivered the first-ever ultra-high-definition video access to the U.S. Open.

“We are excited about the potential of 5G to transform the way we capture and deliver premium content to audiences,” says Danny Kaye, EVP and managing director of the FOX innovation lab.

University of Connecticut Stamford

To drive innovation and research opportunities, the University of Connecticut (UConn) in Stamford collaborated with AT&T to implement a private cellular network architecture. The private network enables the university to experiment with new technologies, such as volumetric video, where an event will be covered with multiple cameras, and consumers can explore the event in various depths, angles, and viewpoints.

In addition to new potential technologies and high network speeds, Terrence Cheng, UConn’s Stamford campus director, says, “We felt that AT&T with MEC gave us the ability to have 5G in the most secure environment and one that allowed us to have the greatest control.”

AT&T enterprise 5G differentiators

Many providers offer different types of 5G solutions. AT&T’s differentiators include:

Edge computing

AT&T 5G Networks can be connected to edge computing power to process data for fast and efficient delivery to other parts of the network. AT&T tightly integrates solutions into wireless devices and cloud service providers for ultra-low-latency for a variety of applications.

Private cellular network

As the nation’s leading carrier for personal cellular phones, AT&T cellular towers provide coverage to a huge part of the United States. AT&T can offer private cellular networks in addition to connections to the public network, so companies can enjoy private bandwidth and improved security.

AT&T enterprise 5G pricing

AT&T wireless broadband pricing starts at $65 per month for broadband essentials for small businesses. Enterprises can obtain up to 12 Mbps speed for $75 per month and can increase speed up to 100 Mbps for $225 per month.

AT&T 5G mobile pricing starts at $35 per user per month and can be upgraded to Business Unlimited Elite priced at $85 per user per month. AT&T offers solutions for edge computing, private wireless, and cellular network solutions; however, those prices are not advertised, as they require significant design and customization for each client.

Conclusions

5G promises to deliver ultra-low latency and high-speed connections with improved security and no wires. AT&T’s enterprise 5G expands upon the promise of 5G with solutions particularly interesting for enterprises that require high mobility, edge computing, and enhanced security.

While the market is still in its early stages, early adopters can gain strong benefits for bandwidth intensive needs, such as video transmissions, high-resolution image transmission, and robotics.

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