Test and Measurement: AT&T boosting network speeds with 5CA, new sites, more spectrum, RootMetrics says

AT&T is seeing ‘excellent and improved’ download speeds across many cities, RootMetrics finds

Despite new testing being on hold due to the pandemic, RootMetrics is moving ahead with carrier-specific reports on the 55 cities it has already tested in the first half of this year. It began this week with AT&T, reporting that the carrier’s LTE network had seen “particularly impressive gains” in speed since RootMetrics’ last round of testing in the second half of 2019.

“We found excellent and improved download speeds on the carrier’s 4G LTE network in the 55 markets we completed testing before we paused our scouting efforts, and AT&T’s low-band 5G is also providing generally fast speeds (though not as fast as Verizon’s mmWave 5G),” according to a RootMetrics blog post on the data.

The speed gains on AT&T’s network were due to its use of five component-carrier carrier aggregation, the benchmarking company found, as well as a number of other infrastructure investments.

“AT&T erected new cell sites in cities across the country, added more spectrum layers, and utilized 5-carrier aggregation (5CA) on a wide scale paired with 4×4 MIMO technology to maximize its vast spectrum holdings and provide faster speeds. AT&T also reallocated some of the spectrum reserved for its FirstNet Public Safety network and began using it for general customers while still satisfying its commitments to first responders,” RootMetrics reported.

In the 55 cities that had been tested to date, AT&T’s speeds were up in 51 of them. No other carrier showed such broad speed gains, RootMetrics said; Sprint was the closest, with speed improvements in 47 markets. RootMetrics also said that the acceleration in network speeds itself was impressive: median download speeds jumped by at least 15 Mbps in 22 markets, and at least 10 Mbps in 37 of the 51 markets.

“Considering that 15 Mbps is generally fast by itself, an increase of 15 Mbps from a speed that was already fast can profoundly change the end-user experience,” the company added.

In other test news:

-Service assurance company Accedian is partnering with MobiledgeX and Solace to provide an end-to-end edge solution with service assurance for various applications, combining Solace’s event handling brokers to publish events to subscribers and Accedian’s network measurements and application delivery assurance.

The three companies said in a release that the ability to scale applications “consistently and predictably across multiple clouds and various mobile telecom networks with the highest quality of performance is exceptionally challenging.”

“The emerging world of 5G will enable new experiences and business models. Delivery of data to applications in a predictable, auditable way is foundational for enterprises to realize the opportunity and to meet emerging regulatory requirements,” said Paul Fitzpatrick, chief business development officer at Solace.

Richard Piasentin, chief strategy and chief marketing officer at Accedian, said that “Application delivery is increasing in complexity with distributed cloud processing (e.g. core, edge, access) across the networks that connect these cloud environments and the rapidly emerging world of IoT. Until recently, the challenge was that there had not been a high performance, guaranteed class of service around event handling. Publishing events across a multi-carrier network that spans jurisdictions and borders had been best effort with no SLAs from end-to-end, or publisher-to-subscriber.”

UL is enabling remote testing for Bluetooth Special Interest Group audit testing and test case requirements. Through October, Bluetooth SIG is accepting remote audit testing and results for Category A test cases for the host controller interface (HCI) layer and below, according to UL, if they come from an accredited Bluetooth Qualification Test Facility with authorized scope, on behalf of customers that have access to validated test equipment in their labs to use in their facilities for conducting the actual testing. UL says its global lab network now offers the remote evaluation of such test data, including its Fremont, California, lab — which it says is the only BQTF location in North America that offers remote auditing for that scope of testing.

Keysight Technologies said that Qingdao Hisense Communications is using its test solutions to speed development of 5G devices. The Chinese consumer electronics and appliance company will be using Keysight test offerings for both Nonstandalone and Standalone 5G at sub-6 GHz frequencies.

Keysight also reported this week that Taiwan’s Accton Technology will be using Keysight’s testing and validation platforms for design verification and manufacturing testing of wireless network equipment, including customer premise equipemnt and Wi-Fi access points.

Anritsu announced a company-wide plan to increase its reliance on solar energy, as part of a previously announced plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of exceeding Japan’s 2030 renewable energy targets. Anritsu plans to increase its share of solar power generation, as part of its renewable energy mix, from about 1% of its total energy consumption in fiscal year 2018, to about 30% by 2030. The company said that it plans to introduce and increase solar energy to power its business operations at its headquarters in Kanagawa, Japan; its factory in Fukishima; and its Morgan Hill campus in California.

-Electronic components distributor Digi-Key Electronics said that it has signed a North American distribution agreement with ConductRF for that company’s custom high-frequency cable assemblies.

L-Com launched a new series of formable coaxial cables for applications including telecom and lab-based test and measurement. The flexible alternative to semi-rigid coax can be hand-formed, L-Com said, making it easier for field personnel and engineers to shape the cables to fit available space.

QA Cafe announced a new, automated platform for testing Wi-Fi 6 devices. The company said that users will be able to test 802.11ax implementations for security, IPv6, user applications, management protocols and TCP, plus testing scaling and multi-client performance with simulated Wi-Fi clients.

“Wi-Fi routers and APs are more complex than ever before,” said Matt Langlois, director of engineering at QA Cafe. “Their quality is critical in both home and enterprise environments, especially when the number of Wi-Fi connections demanded by end-users has increased exponentially. They require many different protocols and technologies to work well and work together. Ad-hoc manual testing is not sustainable and can no longer ensure all the pieces work together as a system. Industry standard automated testing is needed to make sure that happens.”

 

 

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