Project AirGig is AT&T's plan to use power lines to connect wireless antennas

AT&T is in an interesting position. As the oldest telecommunications company in the U.S., it has the largest installed base of legacy infrastructure — which is another way of saying that a great deal of its physical plant is made up of old copper wiring.

While they work fine for providing landline voice services, a good deal of those copper lines aren’t capable of providing high-speed internet connectivity. AT&T is therefore on the lookout for other technologies to provide high-speed internet to augment its investments in fiber, and its Project AirGig is one that will be getting some attention going forward.

Project AirGig, which the company announced in September 2016, uses power lines to send signals that are then transmitted to customers via antennas mounted on utility poles. According to the company, the technology can offer multi-gigabit connectivity for both internet and smartphone data.

The broadband-over-power lines (BPL) technology at the heart of Project AirGig was developed by AT&T Labs, along with other innovations including the Radio Distributed Antenna System (RDAS). Now, AT&T is close to being ready to begin trials.

The need for improved internet speeds is growing exponentially, with video streaming leading the way as the principle consumer of internet bandwidth. According to AT&T’s research, data use has increased by 250,000 percent since 2007, and 4K mobile video streaming, augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, and smart homes will do nothing but increase the demand for data.

Andre Fuetsch, AT&T Labs president and CTO, has provided this related statement:

We are looking forward to begin testing the possibilities of AT&T Labs’ invention for customers and utility companies. AT&T is focused on delivering a gigabit-per-second speed everywhere we can with our wired and wireless technologies. Project AirGig represents a key invention in our 5G Evolution approach. AT&T Labs is ‘writing the textbook’ for a new technology approach that has the potential to deliver benefits to utility companies and bring this multi-gigabit, low-cost internet connectivity anywhere there are power lines — big urban market, small rural town, globally.

Next up are field trials to demonstrate how well Project AirGig works with power company smart-grid technologies, as well as to test against inclement weather and other issues that could impact the technology’s performance. AT&T isn’t giving up on fiber and its G.fast advanced DSL, either, and so Project AirGig is just one of a number of methods AT&T plans to use to roll out faster internet to its customers.

If you’re an AT&T customer and you’re unhappy with your internet connection, take heart. While it might not happen tomorrow, the company is working on some technologies that should help to improve your situation in time.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Computing

These are the worst passwords of 2018. Is yours on this list?

Do you use a bad password that makes your online accounts easy to break into? SplashData has compiled a list of the top 100 worst passwords for 2018 and there are quite a few listings that were carryovers from prior lists.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Computing

Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.
Computing

Windows Update not working after October 2018 patch? Here’s how to fix it

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Mining cryptocurrency for Razer Silver isn’t worth your computing power

Gaming peripheral maker Razer launched a cryptocurrency mining scheme called SoftMiner. You use its software to mine and in return, you get Razer Silver which you can use to buy Razer gear.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Computing

Nvidia’s Jetson AGX Xavier module is designed to give robots better brains

Nvidia's pricey Jetson AGX Xavier might help drive the next generation of smart robots. Nvidia hopes that developers will use its new Xavier module to power AI-driven machines like delivery drones and robots used in manufacturing.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Computing

Leaked AMD Ryzen 3000 mobile benchmarks look fit for thin, low-power laptops

AMD is poised to give Intel a run for its money in the ultra-low-power processor space for laptops. Leaked benchmarks for the Ryzen 3000 APU series show the AMD processor besting Intel's Core i7 Y series in multicore performance.