AT&T Likes Surface-Wave Communication for Small Cells, Backhaul

In a U.S. patent published on Tuesday, AT&T details how it could use existing power line infrastructure and a surface-wave communication system to power small cell deployments and backhaul connections.

Robert BennettRobert Bennett, AT&T principal member of the technical staff, is named as lead inventor on the patent, titled, “Surface-wave communications and methods thereof.”

Abstract: Aspects of the subject disclosure may include, for example, a system including a frequency mixer that combines a signal and a carrier wave to form a combined signal, and a transmitter that generates a transmission based on the combined signal. The system can also include a coupling device that emits the transmission as an electromagnetic wave guided by an outer surface of a transmission medium. The electromagnetic wave can propagate longitudinally along the surface of the transmission medium and at least partially around the surface of the transmission medium. Other embodiments are disclosed.

Claims:

1. A system, comprising: a memory that stores executable instructions; and a processor, coupled to the memory, to facilitate execution of the executable instructions to perform operations, comprising: receiving a signal; modulating the signal resulting in a modulated signal, wherein the modulated signal comprises a first electromagnetic wave; and generating a transmission of the modulated signal to induce, via a coupling device that is not coaxially aligned with a transmission medium, a second electromagnetic wave guided by the transmission medium, wherein the second electromagnetic wave propagates longitudinally along the transmission medium.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the second electromagnetic wave comprises one or more propagation wave modes.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein second electromagnetic wave comprises an asymmetric wave.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the first electromagnetic wave comprises a symmetric wave.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein a wavelength of the first electromagnetic wave is less than a circumference of the transmission medium.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the transmission medium comprises an uninsulated conductor.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the transmission medium comprises an insulated conductor.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the system receives power from the transmission medium.

9. A method, comprising: receiving, by a device comprising a processor, a signal; modulating, by the device, the signal to generate a modulated signal; and generating, by the device, a transmission based on the modulated signal to produce a guided electromagnetic wave bound to a transmission medium, wherein the guided electromagnetic wave propagates longitudinally along the transmission medium, and wherein an axis of the transmission medium is offset from an axis of transmission of the device.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the guided electromagnetic wave has a fundamental mode.

11. The method of claim 9, wherein the axis of transmission of the device is parallel or tangential to the axis of the transmission medium.

12. The method of claim 9, wherein the guided electromagnetic wave has a non-fundamental mode.

13. The method of claim 9, wherein the modulated signal has a wavelength that is less than a circumference of the transmission medium.

14. An apparatus, comprising: a mixer that combines a signal and a carrier wave to form a combined signal; a transmitter that generates a transmission based on the combined signal; and a coupling device that induces from the transmission a guided electromagnetic wave bound to a transmission medium, wherein the coupling device is located outside a cross-sectional area of the transmission medium.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the coupling device comprises a waveguide.

16. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the guided electromagnetic wave comprises a fundamental mode.

17. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the guided electromagnetic wave comprises a non-fundamental mode.

18. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein a wavelength of the carrier wave is less than a circumference of the transmission medium.

19. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the transmission medium comprises an insulated conductor.

20. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the transmission medium comprises an uninsulated conductor.