AUSTIN–In an unassuming building in Austin, Texas, AT&T engineers can recreate virtually any network condition in the high-tech Austin Spectrum Lab, which will also serve as ground-zero for the carrier’s upcoming trials of 5G.
RCR Wireless News took an exclusive tour with Shuvojit Chowdhury, principal member of the technical staff and manager of the facility.
A company spokeswoman said the lab team “uses the end-to-end ecosystems to act as crash test dummies. They try to break the production-like network, so it won’t break on customers…It’s their job to put our equipment through the gauntlet before it goes live on our wireless network.”
Different areas, including several Faraday cages, of the lab are dedicated to testing Wi-Fi, DAS, RF, small cell and other equipment, so many familiar vendors are represented. On the core side, the Austin Spectrum Lab contains 2G, 3G and LTE equipment, along with EPCs supporting NFV and SDN in the evolution toward 5G.