12 Airports to Receive mmWave 5G Thanks to Boingo Wireless, AT&T

Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Faster networks are needed as travel makes a comeback from its low during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boingo Wireless acts as a mediator of sorts, providing wireless carriers with a way to connect to airports and venues. The company is known for its distributed antenna system (DAS) and WiFi capabilities. As a neutral host to major wireless networks, Boingo works in complex spaces that feature licensed and unlicensed spectrum. These spaces require a great degree of technical know-how to accommodate various lines of communication maturely and securely. The Los Angeles-based company is even working with the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide 5G for various military bases. AT&T and Boingo are now collaborating to bring mmWave 5G to airports throughout the United States. A move that Boingo CEO Mike Finley believes is only the first of its kind and that more carriers will follow suit.

AT&T is planning to bring its mmWave 5G+ service to seven airports in 2021 and 25 by the end of 2022. This collaboration, however, will provide 12 airports with 5G networks. Including several major hubs such as Chicago O-Hare International Airport, JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Midway International Airport. The majority of AT&T’s mmWave spectrum holdings lie in the 24 GHz and 39 GHz bands.

The wide range of spectrum bands that 5G uses and the complex engineering and deployment, makes adding 5G to airports quite the challenge. Boingo loves the challenge and uses this barrier to entry as an advantage. “For us, the more complicated the better because not many people can do it,” said Finley. “It just takes a little time, a little more engineering to set up, but the end results are just phenomenal,” he continued.

Airports are the perfect place for mmWave 5G deployment because of the speeds the spectrum provides and the increase in capacity. “One of the things the pandemic has changed is I think a lot of this capability is now going to get utilized,” said Finley

More capacity means a better network experience for devices and airports, under normal circumstances, have plenty of travel. Though the COVID-19 pandemic brought numbers down heavily for traffic in 2020, things continue to improve in 2021, and better network solutions are necessary to keep up. Due to the lack of passengers, Boingo Wireless was able to take advantage and build out infrastructure in public spaces with fewer disruptions.

The features users can expect as 5G continues to deploy throughout airports are impressive. Security features are a huge focus as are features for convenience such as ticketless entry. Contact-less entry, temperature stations, cameras to assist in social distancing and organizing lines, and more are all on the table. Of course, you’ll also be able to connect to an improved network to stream your favorite videos, surf the web, text, and make video calls with ease while waiting to board or disembarking. 5G is changing the way we travel and Boingo and AT&T are helping push these innovations along.

Source: Fierce Wireless