AT&T and Microsoft partner on private 5G edge to replace Wi-Fi

5G Edge
AT&T and Microsoft partner on private 5G edge to replace Wi-Fi
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AT&T and Microsoft are expanding on their existing partnership to integrate the telecom operator’s 5G network with Azure’s private mobile edge computing.

As AT&T continues to bring private 4G/5G networks to the edge, the company has introduced the ability to roam beyond the boundaries of the AT&T private network and still stay connected to its public network.

Called the AT&T Private 5G Edge, the service is co-developed by Microsoft and uses the Azure private MEC and Azure Private 5G Core to assist in deployment across radio spectrums, including the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).

AT&T Private 5G Edge is designed to be an integrated platform, providing connectivity and embedded applications through a single platform with the use of CBRS and AT&T spectrum, where needed, to meet customer requirements.

The company detailed some potential use cases as such:

  • Manufacturing – Cameras and AI tools can assist in everything from robotic assembly to “event detection”, such as when a worker has been injured or a fire has started, and then alert first responders or activate fire suppression systems almost instantly
  • Car dealership – A car manufacturer can create a dedicated cellular network within a dealership to help buyers manage the setup process for vehicle diagnostics and other connected features, rather than tying up the dealership’s Wi-Fi network
  • Medical clinic – Video sensors with embedded AI could be quickly deployed at pop up locations to monitor patients for fevers just based on their appearance without requiring a staffer to test them manually

Looking at verticals, AT&T said it was talking to customers in different markets to figure out how this technology can best be applied as it works towards a launch date. The core idea behind Private 5G Edge is to facilitate a move away from Wi-Fi to dedicated and secure 5G connections with edge capabilities.

Rupesh Chokshi, VP of product strategy and innovation at AT&T Business, said: “AT&T Private 5G Edge… opens the door to entirely new applications and use cases we haven’t even imagined yet. The combination of 5G and edge compute can utterly transform how businesses are run, no matter the size, and we’re proactively engaging with those businesses to identify the right compelling opportunities.”

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