AT&T says that its 5G networking infrastructure has successfully completed the first milestone in development of smart warehouse applications for the U.S. Department of Defense. The successful test — which utilized AT&T 5G spectrum, its private 5G core and radio access network (RAN) –achieved data throughput greater than 4 Mbps and latency of less than 10 milliseconds.
The tests were conducted with commercially available mobile devices at a testbed in Richardson, TX. The results give AT&T the go-ahead for the next stage of testing, which will be the deployment of 5G across 120,000 square feet at the Naval Base Coronado warehouse in San Diego.
The goal for those tests will be to efficiently and securely provide high speed, low latency 5G connectivity for autonomous mobile robots, video cameras, IoT and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) systems.
The test applications will include inventory tracking and transshipment with an aim to increase “the efficiency and fidelity of naval logistic operations, including identification, recording, organization, storage, retrieval, and transportation of materiel and supplies,” according to the press release about the smart warehouse trial. A parallel goal is to create a proving ground for testing, refining and validating 5G-enabled technologies.
If the next phase is successful, AT&T 5G will be set to integrate with official Navy Systems to provide smart warehouse capabilities.
The testing regimen stems from a three-year, $600 million set of awards for testing that were announced in October 2020. In addition to the 5G smart warehousing project, AT&T was selected as the primary network provider for AR/VR testing at Fort Hood in Killeen, TX.
Private wireless is an important emerging technology.
AT&T and Ericsson announced a partnership in October 2020 to provide private cellular networks utilizing shared CBRS for localization of activities that demand low latency and high security. At the time, AT&T cited warehouses as well as factories and geographically distant mines as use cases for the platforms that would result.