AT&T fetes milestone in DoD demo for smart warehouse

AT&T announced that it successfully completed its first milestone toward proving the capabilities of its 5G network solution to enable smart warehouse applications for the Department of Defense’s Naval Base Coronado in San Diego.

AT&T’s 5G network solution demonstrated data throughput speeds greater than 4 gigabits per second with less than 10 milliseconds of latency using a private 5G core and Radio Access Network (RAN).

This particular achievement was done with commercially available mobile devices at a testbed facility in Richardson, Texas, according to a press release.  

Back in the fall of 2020, the DoD announced $600 million in awards for 5G experiments and tests at five U.S. military test sites, which included sites in Utah, Washington, Georgia, California and Nevada. Partners included Ericsson, Federated Wireless, GE Research and Nokia, among others.

RELATED: AT&T, Ericsson, Nokia picked for DoD 5G testbeds

AT&T was selected by the DoD as the primary 5G networking service provider for two out of the four U.S. military test sites where it’s testing 5G capabilities as part of Tranche 1 experiments.

One of those sites was the Naval Base Coronado in San Diego and the other was for Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington. The Tacoma site was later relocated by the DoD to U.S. Army base Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas.

The objective for the San Diego project is to develop a 5G-enabled smart warehouse focused on trans-shipment between shore facilities and naval units, with the goal of increasing efficiency of naval logistic operations such as storage, retrieval and transportation of material and supplies. In addition, the project will create a proving ground for testing, refining and validating emerging 5G-enabled technologies.

At Fort Hood in Texas, the objective is to enable modular, deployable and secure 5G connectivity on currently available training devices, specifically the Instrumentable Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (I-MILES) and the U.S. Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). The DoD is testing 5G support for tactical edge use cases that integrate I-MILES and IVAS with augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) capabilities to conduct mission planning, distributed training and operations.

“AT&T 5G demonstrated data throughput speeds of more than 4 gigabits per second on commodity mobile user equipment, far surpassing the data throughput speeds DOD has seen in other tests. More importantly, we look forward to moving to the next stage of implementation with DoD at Naval Base Coronado and helping it create its Smart Warehouse there with a scalable solution,” said Lance Spencer of AT&T’s Public Sector and FirstNet in a statement.

AT&T is leveraging a range from its spectrum portfolio, including millimeter wave (39 GHz), 800 MHz, sub-6 GHz and 4G/LTE, according to Spencer.

“Our spectrum is delivering the resiliency, geographic reach and availability the DoD requires,” he told Fierce. AT&T is also providing CBRS radios to provide an additional frequency option to the U.S. Navy, which only seems fitting since the Navy factors so heavily into the FCC’s plan for making the 3.5 GHz available for other entities.

Story updated with additional information about the spectrum being used.