Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: From Labs to Live

AT&T Blog | Igal Elbaz | June 5, 2020

A few short years ago, an idea was shaped in AT&T Labs: the concept now known as Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). And today, it is live in portions of our network with 5G devices already upgraded in the field. AT&T was among the first to present and champion this technology, eventually driving it into 5G standards. DSS will now play an essential role in widespread 5G adoption.

Simply put, DSS allows carriers to share the same channel between both 4G and 5G users simultaneously. It turns up 5G without turning off LTE – creating a seamless experience for users, and a graceful spectrum transition for carriers.

The term “dynamic” in DSS refers to the ability to allocate resources to each technology based on demand.  This requires that DSS is traffic-aware, and able to respond to changes. The performance of DSS will depend in large part on how frequently traffic demand changes and the granularity of the resource allocations. 

DSS is an important steppingstone on our path to nationwide 5G. The software-based technology allows us to bypass the process of re-farming spectrum in the near term, which ultimately means a smoother transition and expedited 5G adoption.

Since its inception in our labs, DSS has graduated to become an integral part of our intelligent network and we’re encouraged by the progress. We will continue expanding our 5G coverage throughout the year, bringing the power of 5G to more customers from coast to coast.  

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