The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and AT&T dedicated the new AT&T 5G Lab Tuesday at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm. The lab’s dedication is another step forward for the two institutions’ commitment and capacity to bringing high-speed technologies with meaningful uses to Tennesseans.
“Our communities gain major benefits when our faculty and students tackle real-world issues brought by companies who also live and work in those same communities. That’s what is happening today between UT and AT&T—we are committed to making life and lives better,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman.
UT is one of only six universities in the United States to advance research initiatives in collaboration with AT&T. In 2021, UT agreed to work with AT&T on research projects using a 5G+ millimeter wave spectrum network in a lab environment.
“We have a long history of working with UT on projects that explored how to capitalize on emerging advanced technologies, and now we’re looking forward to what faculty and students here will learn about the capabilities of 5G high-speed broadband,” said Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee. “It is exciting to think that innovations and applications which will improve lives tomorrow may begin as a ‘what if’ conversation in this new lab.”
Installation of the lab’s testbed equipment has been completed, and faculty and students can begin research and development across a variety of areas of interest.
“Our faculty and students are really excited to use this state-of-the-art 5G testbed to develop innovations with such far-reaching implications, including in precision agriculture, health care, and transportation,” said UT Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford. “We create high-impact solutions when we collaborate with organizations like AT&T.”
5G wireless technology provides high-speed mobile broadband networks with ultra-low latency and better data capacity to consumers.
Research conducted in the new lab has potential application for multiple sectors:
Transportation applications may include near real-time decision-making and control of vehicles, traffic monitoring, network optimization, secure 5G communications for transportation systems and allocating appropriate resources to different transportation services.
Telemedicine applications may include predictive modeling to allow for early detection of diseases, noncontact patient monitoring, remote surgeries and unobtrusive health monitoring.
Smart agriculture applications may include low-cost and robust hardware; sensors for crops, soil, and animal monitoring; self-driving tractors; and monitoring the health of livestock.
Sports applications may include immersive and interactive sporting experiences, virtual tours of stadiums, and player and team performance data.
At the event, attendees were shown a demonstration showing how augmented reality could assist a technician performing critical work on an airplane’s landing gear while working with a subject matter expert in a remote location. Similar applications exist in fields like incident management and security, in which determining exact locations of people and assets are critical.
UT students and faculty demonstrated how 5G+ connections, coupled with multi-access edge computing, provide ultra-fast connectivity with ultra-low latency while keeping the data within the UT Knoxville network.
Tickle College of Engineering Professor Aly Fathy plans to make this a core research focus of the lab moving forward.
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