Philips Lighting and American Tower to Develop 4G- and 5G-Extending Smart Pole

Philips Lighting and American Tower Corporation have partnered to extend 4G and 5G connectivity and accelerate U.S. smart city transformation. The companies have intend to create what they are calling a smart pole, a pole for a wirelessly connected LED street light that also serves as an antenna and radio to extend 4G and eventually 5G coverage in cities. The smart pole may also integrate sensors.

American Tower supplies wireless infrastructure including high capacity receivers and transmitters installed in towers. The companies intend for the smart pole to help meet capacity and coverage needs of multiple wireless carriers from a single pole. The smart pole will extend 4G and 5G coverage to permit a broad range of evolving IoT-based smart city applications.

Notably, the 5G wireless standard necessitates the use of more small cell receivers and transmitters in an area compared to the requirements for 4G. One way of accomplishing this with minimal impact on the urban landscape is putting 5G small cell receivers and transmitters in light poles.

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Multiple Carriers Will be Able to Put 4G and 5G Small Cell RF Equipment in One Smart Pole

The companies contend that multiple wireless carriers will be able to easily install radio equipment including 4G and 5G small cell radio equipment with the plug-n-play design. This 4G and 5G coverage extension can occur without adding urban clutter, changing the city scenery, or affecting the aesthetics of a neighborhood.

An additional design feature of the smart pole, lets cities remotely monitor and manage the lighting on each smart pole using the Philips CityTouch connected street lighting system. The Philips CityTouch system helps municipalities optimize energy savings and reduce maintenance costs.

“As the demand for wireless broadband continues to grow in urban centers, Wireless Carriers need a repeatable, scalable way to densify networks fast,” said Steven Marshall, president U.S. Tower, a division of American Tower Corporation. “Our alliance with Philips Lighting brings Wireless Carriers access to premium pre-approved sites, with a smart pole that aesthetically blends into urban locations, delivering wireless broadband hidden in plain sight.”

Technology to be Demonstrated at Mobile World Congress Americas

The combined LED lighting and wireless infrastructure technology will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress Americas, September 12-14 in San Francisco.

According to Strategies Unlimited, under 1% of the more than 44 million light poles on US streets and roadways, are connected to the internet. Philips Lighting and American Tower have created a new smart pole that can use the same land areas that are taken up by conventional light poles and collocate services from multiple wireless carriers in a single pole.

“Lighting is an essential part of the urban landscape and one of the most valuable assets to help accelerate cities’ digital transformation,” said Olivia Qiu, chief innovation officer at Philips Lighting. “Combining Philips Lighting’s energy-efficient and connected LED street lighting with American Tower’s shared infrastructure expertise will help speed up a city’s ability to deploy new technologies that improve public safety and civic services. Our alliance with the largest provider of wireless infrastructure in the U. S. will support the growth of our street lighting business in this important market.”

The companies plan to develop the smart poles to help cities deliver new and future digital applications such as air quality monitoring, enhanced emergency services, acoustic sensing, and autonomous vehicle navigation.